IFS has announced a rebrand that signals an evolutionary step change for the company. The company has redefined and refined its marketing messages in recent weeks as it heads towards the launch of IFS Cloud on March 10th. It has now revealed a new brand image across the world lighting up such iconic locations as Burj Khalifa, Times Square and Shibuya City. It signals an intention to continue its recent growth and recognition by analysts to disrupt the enterprise market across multiple sectors.
IFS has also retained its name and the iconic purple colour, synonymous with the company for decades. Enterprise Times spoke to Oliver Pilgerstorfer, CMO at IFS about the launch. Pilgerstorfer was the architect of the rebranding exercise. In a canned statement, he said: “We are thrilled to unveil our new look and feel, which is an integral part of the evolutionary shift the company is currently undergoing. The new brand identity reflects the business we are today and is also indicative of our plans for the future, especially in light of the upcoming launch of IFS Cloud.
“It’s a watershed moment in our company’s history. By creating an identity that is appealing and inspirational we are giving customers, partners, and the market at large a clear signal—and it’s something our own employees are immensely proud of.”
Why go through a rebrand
Since the acquisition by EQT and subsequent appointment of Darren Roos as CEO, IFS has transformed itself from a reputable legacy ERP vendor to something much more. IFS has invested heavily in Service management, mainly through acquisition. It has also broadened its product portfolio. It now offers a complete service management solution to both its traditional, asset-intensive, and manufacturing base and a new market sector. This evolution has been seen in recent results. The majority of revenue is now coming from service management rather than EAM and ERP.
Pilgerstorfer summarised the situation, saying: “This whole area of service is growing explosively. And it’s something I believe IFS is hugely differentiated on. I don’t mean that just because of what we do with our FSM, or our service capabilities in terms of our product set.
“But even our traditional manufacturing or asset-intensive customers are coming to us and saying, we realised that we need to do better in service and how we serve our customers.”
As the messaging evolved, IFS has started talking about the “Moments of service” that matter. The evolution is seeing it compete with a new set of competitors, including ServiceNow.”
This change prompted the IFS leadership team to consider a change in branding. It considered changing the name, even using one of its acquisitions names in the same way that Infor emerged from a conglomeration of different companies including Baan. However, early in the process, two things became clear; it needed to keep the IFS name and the colour purple. The new brand logo has an additional icon in front of IFS. The new brand is more dynamic with the additional icon appearing to illustrate the focus on “Moments of service”.
What the rebrand means
Pilgerstorfer explained why they decided to make the change now.
“We haven’t refreshed it for quite a while, and we’ve become a different company. It’s important that we tell our customers and the market, who we are today, and also signal where we’re going to in the future. This is the right time for us to do it on our growth journey. The fact that we’re backing it up by launching a brand new product platform that delivers this new look. It just makes a lot of sense in terms of our evolution.”
Is this rebrand an evolution or a revolutionary change?
“We have a choice to make in terms of how much do we rebrand, and we’ve kept our name. We’re known, and we’re unique in our sector for our purple colour, our team bleed purple. There are some things here that would be sacrilege to change, and it would actually be quite stupid for someone like me to want to change. There were boundaries which we wanted to push. The look and feel, the vibrance, the electricity that’s in our branding, I believe, is revolutionary for us. I hope that it really demonstrates to the market that we are signalling a new era for IFS.”
The new brand
Enterprise Times asked Pilgerstorfer to describe what he wanted the new brand to convey and to whom? He replied:
“We want the new brand to signal to all of our stakeholders, customers, future customers, partners, the broader market, that IFS has been on a journey. Over the past couple of years, we’ve transformed so much. It is such an exciting time for our business and our growth journey that we really wanted to recognise that through the new look and feel.
“I would also give a nod to our employees. It’s an important thing for us internally to signal and have that milestone for employees to live our brand and values. The DNA of our brand hasn’t changed. The things that make us special and differentiate us, they haven’t changed. Where we’re going is around this notion of that is the moment of service. It brings together all of our existing customer base. It also signals that we’re offering our service capabilities on a lot broader scale, and how our current customers and future customers can really leverage our technology.”
Can you explain the thinking behind the new symbol?
“The moment of service is the rationale here. The companies we work with have complex businesses. Whilst we can’t remove complexity, we can help our customers navigate and managing complexity to deliver when it matters the most. The idea behind the symbol is to recognise all of the things that go into a value chain that makes our customers’ business special. To help them focus on that moment where it really matters for them where they get judged; where they either delight or they disappoint their customers, at that pinpoint moment.”
What might have been
The first step on this journey was probably taking control of the domain name IFS.com in August 2019. Enterprise Times asked Pilgerstorfer whether he might have considered a name change if they hadn’t obtained control of the domain name. Pilgerstorfer answered: “It is an important part of both our digital strategy and equally a message to the market. The fact that we didn’t have that a few years ago, it wasn’t right. It should always have been IFS’s. So, it was a very important thing to me as a marketeer. I’m very committed to our digital and our online growth, both from a brand awareness but also from a demand gen perspective. Having IFS.com was a very important element, and it could well have changed the decision.”
What is next
The timing of the rebrand is important. IFS has changed its look, but in a few weeks, it will launch IFS Cloud, probably the most important product launch in its history. It signals a shift in gear for the company in terms of product and the markets it will operate in going forward.
Pilgerstorfer explained why he wanted to rebrand in February saying: ”The reason that we’re doing that is to really ensure that we’re segregating the two but also labelling people to see the connection between the two. What I didn’t want to happen on the 10th of March is that people come to our launch event thinking that we’re launching a new company, a new company look or a new brand, That event is purely focused on people understanding the power of what IFS cloud can deliver.”
What it is doing is launching a re-architected SaaS platform for its applications. Anthony Bourne, Senior Vice President of IFS Industries, has already shared that the product will be evergreen. A term that to IFS appears to mean two updates a year for its cloud solutions. These are automatically applied, sparing clients from having to go through a major upgrade process.
The more important point is that it will see all IFS applications brought together into a single product according to Christian Pedersen, Chief Product Officer. That includes Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Human Capital Management (HCM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Service Management. This will enable it to deliver Moments of Service across all its industries. Businesses can presumably select the fully integrated modules that apply to them. Manufacturers can continue to upgrade their existing ERP or evolve to become a service-centric manufacturer if they choose.
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
IFS has drip-fed some intriguing information about the new product. It is cloud-based, it is evergreen, and it will provide a single platform for all IFS products. Therefore, it can create broader solutions for customers than ever before across service management, asset-intensive industries, manufacturers, and Aerospace and Defense. This rebranding announcement is a big story. The March announcement will be massive. Expect to hear much more from IFS in the coming weeks.