Innovation in business is not about profitability or market share; it’s about liberation.
Innovation in business is not about profitability or market share; it’s about liberation, according to Magnus Lindkvist, trendspotter and TED speaker, as he opened the IFS World Conference in Gothenburg Sweden. He also warned his 1,000-strong audience about straight-line extrapolation, the danger of drawing linear conclusions from what we know today. The future seldom feels obligated to follow our forecasts.
Facilitate, not frustrate
Alastair Sorbie, IFS’s CEO, picked up on this in his keynote speech, as he reviewed the five years that have passed since the previous IFS World Conference in Berlin, 2007. The world has changed since then. We’ve seen economic turmoil on a scale unmatched for many decades, and the political upheaval of recent years was hardly imaginable two years ago, never mind five. Yet, in spite of all the tumult, IFS and its customers have grown and prospered. Finding opportunity in adversity was a recurring theme in Sorbie’s speech, who believes that IT, especially, business-critical ERP, should facilitate, not frustrate. To make his point, he cited the failed take-over bid of RBS by Santander, in which IT issues and poor compatibility between the two banking giants’ systems were blamed for the collapse of the deal.
Avoiding disaster by doing business on a global level
With businesses needing to adopt an increasingly global approach, the danger of similar issues occurring is ever present. To avoid these disasters, we need to view the challenge of doing business on a global level as one of best practice rather than an IT problem, and the best way to do this is to put in place business applications that have been designed, developed and optimized for the industries that use.
Innovative & agile development
Agile development is one solution that has worked well for IFS, the global ERP supplier. By putting in place an Early Adopter Program, a number of companies, including CDF Corporation and Remmele Engineering in the USA , Portsmouth Aviation in the UK, and BrightPoint and Teracom, have trialed the latest version of its business software suite, IFS Applications 8, as it was being developed. They provided feedback, comments and ideas from live business situations on the stream of iterations that came from IFS R&D to ensure that the final product was what they want and need. One of the major innovations is the growing number of Touch Apps launched by IFS to help companies in a range of industries to run their operations efficiently and profitably, whether they are on the move, like service providers, or onsite, like businesses in the asset-intensive sector.
The same sort of customer-facing, innovative development philosophies underpin the latest news from the IFS World Conference main sponsors. Diamond sponsor, Microsoft, talked Windows 8 and how IFS Applications 8 would run on it. Platinum sponsor, Oracle, announced that IFS Applications is Exastack optimized, news that was enthusiastically received by conference attendees, and IBM, explained its Smarter Planet concept.