Opinion: Why Marne Martin being appointed at IFS is excellent news for the whole industry

Sep 12 • Features, Future of FIeld Service • 918 Views • No Comments on Opinion: Why Marne Martin being appointed at IFS is excellent news for the whole industry

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Swedish enterprise mobility and ERP provider IFS recently announced the hiring of former ServicePower CEO, Marne Martin, as President of their Service Management Business Unit, part of a dual role she has taken on alongside being CEO of IFS subsidiary, WorkWave. Kris Oldland, Editor-in-Chief, Field Service News reflects on this appointment and why it is a good thing not just for IFS, but for the wider industry as a whole…

I have known Marne Martin for some time now, speaking to her once or twice a year either for interviews, or just catching up at various industry events we’ve both been speaking at.

When she was included in a previous edition of the #FSN20, our annual list of key industry leaders, it was me that put her forward to the committee. That was in part because I had always found her to be engaging and intelligent when speaking to her, as well as being passionate for the industry we operate within – but then again, these things for me at least should be a given for any CEO within the sector.

Marne, of course, had all of these traits in abundance, but what always made her stand apart from the many other excellent leaders we have in our sector, what made her seem just that little bit more dynamic and exciting to speak with and why I put her forward for the #FSN20 (something we take very seriously here at fieldservicenews.com) was her ability to see the trends that were just beyond most people’s range of vision, those that were over the horizon.

What Marne has demonstrated time and again is that she is able to go that one step further and identify what will be the challenges and opportunities around how any given technology will ultimately be utilised

Sure, we can all get a feel for what technologies are set to emerge – a quick look at Gartner’s current year hype cycle will allow us to see what we can expect to come along in the next few years. It might not always work out as we anticipate (think about the early clamour around wearables and in particular Glass as an example of this), but most of us who pay attention to these things are fairly able to put together a reasonably accurate picture of the future.

What Marne has demonstrated time and again is that she is able to go that one step further and identify what will be the challenges and opportunities around how any given technology will ultimately be utilised – and such foresight, is a much rarer attribute.

For example, I remember Marne outlining to me the importance that Quantum Annealing would play within field service management systems – in particularly within dynamic scheduling, long before the topic was even close to being something that was discussed outside of high-tech computing circles.

Indeed, the last time we spoke at any great length we had a long and detailed conversation about how and why field service management systems would need to ultimately evolve from being an additional feature sold alongside an ERP or CRM system and become acknowledged as something of equal status and importance within the world of enterprise computing.

Essentially we agreed, FSM needed to be, and eventually would be recognised as a category within its own right. This is something that we are now absolutely beginning to see happen in certain pockets of the industry, including IFS – who have across the last couple of year’s publically stated that FSM is a core priority within their wider portfolio – something that was reiterated at their World Conference in Atlanta earlier this year by new CEO Darren Roos.

As far as benefitting our industry as a wider whole, there are few places I feel Marne could have such a big impact, as at IFS

So as you can imagine, when we heard Marne was stepping down from her role as CEO of ServicePower, I had an inkling that it would be more au revoir than goodbye, I just had a feeling in my gut that we would see her again soon enough somewhere familiar.

However, as far as benefitting our industry as a wider whole, there are few places I feel Marne could have such a big impact, as at IFS. They have shown that they have the ambition, vision and capability to push the industry forwards (indeed the newly launched FSM6 is an excellent solution utilising best of breed technology), but perhaps also they have shown that they have a strong commitment to FSM that will surely raise the bar further for the quality of solutions available to field service organisations.

After all, as John F Kennedy famously quoted a rising tide lifts all boats.

Also, we must consider that Marne is bringing in exceptional leadership experience, industry knowledge and vision into a team that is already full of excellent leaders and thinkers.

For example, the always impressive Mark Brewer, Global Industry Director Service Management who has established an excellent reputation both within the company and the industry since having joined from PTC almost two years ago. Another would be Stephen Jeff-Watts, who is responsible for IFS’ product strategy for Enterprise Service Management and is another with a canny knack for understanding where the future lies within the sector. Then, of course, there is Paul White, former CEO of mplsystems who IFS acquired last year who brings a huge level of detail around the latest developments around omni-channel communications to the table, or Tom DeVroy, personally, someone I hold as one of the best author’s contributing to publications including ourselves around.

Indeed, the list is long and Marne’s appointment at the head of this group, is set to make IFS an even more formidable force within our industry on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond.

Finally, it is also interesting to note her dual role.

Once such a precedent has been set by such a significant industry player as IFS, it is likely that we will see other companies follow suit

When IFS acquired WorkWave late last year, I wrote about how the acquisition essentially gave IFS full market penetration.

Traditionally, they have always served the mid-enterprise tier well, in recent year’s we have seen them begin to open some more doors in the larger enterprise sector as well. However, the SME market has always been an area that has been somewhat underserved, yet could be potentially lucrative, as WorkWave has proven.

With Marne taking on dual responsibilities for Enterprise Service Management and WorkWave it seems that IFS may potentially be seeking to firmly organise a significant section of their business around their FSM  capabilities – exactly the type of shift in thinking that Marne and I had discussed a year ago and also something Darren Roos alluded to when I spoke to him recently as well.

Once such a precedent has been set by such a significant industry player as IFS, it is likely that we will see other companies follow suit – which will ultimately lead to further emphasis on the importance of field service within industry.

So from where I’m sitting, Marne’s arrival at IFS is therefore potentially great news long-term for all in our industry – it certainly promises to be an exciting move and I for one wish her every success.

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