Highlights from IFS UNLEASHED | Future of Field Service
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Highlights from IFS UNLEASHED

Sarah shares her personal reflections and highlights from last week’s IFS Unleashed customer event in Miami. 

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service Podcast. I’m your host, Sarah Nicastro. I am recording this episode here at the Miami Beach Convention Center in South Beach, Miami, Florida, where we are in the midst of wrapping up IFS Unleashed. It has been a very exciting, very energetic, very fulfilling, very informative, and very exhausting week here in Miami at the IFS Event. IFS traditionally has done what it has formerly called its World Conference Events every 18 months, but, obviously, with the pandemic, those didn’t happen for a bit. So this is the first IFS Customer Event since the fall of 2019, and it’s been rebranded to IFS Unleashed, focused around how IFS is helping customers unleash their potential, and it was just a wonderful, wonderful event. So I wanted to record a podcast and just talk about some of what I’ve experienced here this week. I myself have done a horrible job of being on social media, taking pictures.

I’ve been running from one thing to the next and really just focused on spending quality time with a lot of folks that I have not had the opportunity to see face to face in quite a while. So I have some notes that I’m going to glance at and they’re in no particular order. I just wanted to go through some of the things that stood out to me personally this week. So when Darren Roos, the CEO, kicked off the event on Tuesday morning, he started with an image behind him on a huge stage of a tent. And if you’ve never heard the story of the tent at IFS, it’s about how the company’s owners early on in the days the company was created, actually put a tent outside of a customer location and camped there to deliver a project they had committed to. I’ve always loved that story. I think it really speaks to the customer centricity being at the heart of IFS all the way from its beginning. So I loved that, that image was up there from the beginning of the event and really reinforcing that story and what it stands for.

I also really enjoyed Marne Martin, who is the President of Service Management, Enterprise Asset Management, and Global Industries at IFS, did an all woman panel with two IFS customers, Susan Stevenson from NUCO2 and Martina Schoultz from Gilbarco, and it was a great conversation. I just also really admire the fact that anytime she can, Marne looks for ways to lift up and draw attention to the women in still a male dominated industry that are doing amazing, amazing things. So it was great to see Marne, Susan, and Martina chat about not only business transformation and digital transformation, but just what the landscape is like today for women who are in leadership roles. 

Michael Ouissi, the COO of IFS, had a session yesterday morning, Wednesday morning, where he brought up a number of IFS customers to share a bit about their journeys, and one of those was Sasha Ilyukhin, who is the Senior Vice President for Customer Service Operations at Tetra Pak.

I myself have had the opportunity to interview Sasha before on this podcast a couple of times, But one of the things that Sasha said during their chat really stood out to me, which is in a business as complex as Tetra Pak’s is they have to relentlessly drive towards simplicity. I really like that point because I think it’s important and true in more than one way. Certainly, from a technological perspective, companies need to be looking for ways to reduce complexity, but also within the organization, within how you’re communicating, within how you’re managing and what those relationships look like. Are things clear? Is there ways to eliminate confusion, eliminate complexity? So I thought that was a very, very good point. We had the opportunity to be joined here yesterday by Michael Phelps. It was really, really cool to see him speak. I greatly admired his authenticity and his vulnerability.

He shared about his ADHD and his anxiety things I also have, and I just really appreciated him being vulnerable, being open talking about what has gone into him winning and succeeding as much as he had, but also what has gone into some of the challenges and some of the really hard parts of it. He was just very, very open and honest, and it was a really neat experience to have him here with us and sharing his story. 

I led a number of sessions myself this week. I had a panel discussion with Sasha from Tetra Pak, that I mentioned earlier, Roel Rentmeesters, who is the Vice President of Digital Transformation at Munters, and Marc Ringwelski, who is the Head of Rema Tip Top’s Smart Services Division, and we had a conversation about transforming service from the inside out and talking about some of the things that tend to happen when we don’t focus on some of those internal components.

So not only setting a strong foundation with our technology and making sure that it’s solid before we look for those ways to leverage it and really provide that external value, we also talked a lot about change management and how important it is to get that right. It was a really great conversation. I also had a session on the influencer track with Jorge Mejia, also from Tetra Pak. Jorge is leading Tetra Pak’s next generation service management project, and the influencer track session at IFS Unleashed is a track of press and analysts. I personally always find it fun to present on that track because I used to sit in that audience before I was a part of Future of Field Service and IFS, and it just gives the press and analysts an opportunity to have some dedicated time with the speakers and be able to hear a bit more, ask them questions. Jorge gave them really an inside look at some of the details of Tetra Pak’s service transformation or NextGen Service Initiative, and that was a lot of fun as well.

We had Tuesday night some beach parties. I may or may not have had too many tequila seltzers that evening. It was a lot of fun. And Wednesday night there was a big customer appreciation event at the Frost Center here in Miami. It was a beautiful place with a planetarium, a multi-level aquarium, a ton of entertainment. It was really fun, and most importantly for me I had an opportunity both in planned sessions and meetings and scheduled time, but also just at random in the hall at the parties and events to run into people that really mean a lot to me. A lot of friendly faces that I had an opportunity to reconnect with, some for 30 seconds and some for far longer, but really appreciated being able to see those faces and reconnect. I think that was really what the energy this week was a lot about. I think people just seemed so excited to be here, to be together, to be learning from one another, sharing stories of success and trials and tribulations, and hearing what IFS and IFS’s customers are up to.

It was a wonderful week. I’ll certainly plan to do some additional follow-up content stemming from the event and getting into a bit more detail on some of the topics. But while I’m here, I wanted to record this and report in with a bit of I guess a video diary of how the week has gone, because I haven’t had my phone out much to be capturing a lot of the moments. I’ve been busy living them. I am actually taking some much needed time off next week to spend with my kiddos when I get home, so while you’re watching this or listening to this, I will actually be in Disney World for my very first time and my kids very first time. Appreciate you tuning in and we’ll look forward to presenting more soon. In the meantime, you can visit us always at futureoffieldservice.com. You can find us on LinkedIn as well as Twitter at The Future Of FS. The Future of Field Service Podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more at ifs.com. As always, thank you for listening.