IFS has announced the appointment of Alan Laing as the Managing Director of UK and Ireland. The appointment sees Laing return to the mid-market after a brief stint as EVP and MD of Sage in Northern Europe. Prior to that he was Executive Vice President Global Strategic Partnerships & Alliances. It brings a very influential executive to IFS and should help boost the IFS presence in the UK&I.
Right man, right time for Alan Laing and IFS
With Sage in apparent disarray at the moment with no CEO and a strategy that seems to be floundering, IFS have the perfect man to increase their revenues.
I asked Laing what his ambition for the IFS channel is. He answered: “I joined because I believe IFS has a huge opportunity to grow significantly. This opportunity means expanding IFS’s reach in the verticals IFS currently is strong in, but also expanding into the Enterprise space and delighting customers with the breadth of technology IFS has at its disposal, including Customer Engagement through to a rapidly expanding FSM capability.
“We also plan to extend our channel capabilities both through alliances and partnerships. The partner ecosystem is ripe for expansion. Whilst in all areas retaining and building on IFS’s leadership position and outstanding customer satisfaction.”
Laing has his finger on the pulse of the Sage ecosystem. In addition he knows the senior executives at all of its channel partners. It would not be a surprise to see some Sage Enterprise Management (X3) or other partners switch to IFS over the next few months.
It is another significant appointment by Darren Roos, CEO as he strengthens the leadership team across IFS as he looks to grow the Swedish company. Roos commented: “IFS is in growth mode and the UK is a crucial to IFS – we expect significant growth from the region. Alan’s past experience with some of the world’s biggest software brands combined with his understanding of our market make him an excellent choice to take on this new role and lead our business. He has a fantastic track record and is very well known for championing customers and partners business needs.”
Swipe at Sage?
I asked Laing about what impressed him about IFS while he was at Sage. He answered: “IFS as a vendor has a strong industry focus and excellent customer satisfaction across its installed base. In terms of ERP, it is precisely that industry focus that sets IFS apart; both in terms of breadth of product and functionality as well as the expertise of the people and partners who implement it.
“This is how customers get fast time to value—a significant differentiator that speaks volumes. Although core to the business, IFS has other products beyond IFS Applications that impressed me. I’m primarily talking about IFS Customer Engagement, Field Service Management and the IFS Maintenix solution for aerospace and defence.”
One could draw an inference from Laing that Sage has little focus for many of its products any longer. If anything Sage has lost its focus and has too many products. However, IFS does not rely on a single solution. While the ERP solution is its flagship offering it is a market leader in MRO for aerospace and defence and has a growing reputation in the FSM market.
What does this mean
In Laing, IFS has a seasoned executive that is well liked and respected across the industry. He has a very wide network of contacts across the channel landscape both in the UK and abroad. Laing will focus on growing the UK arm and expect to hear more about IFS in the next year. To date it hasn’t quite punched its weight.
In Laing’s words: “IFS has a remarkable story to tell. I want to make sure the broader market knows that story. The changes that have been made to expand the company’s reach globally and locally will continue at pace.”