In today’s business environment, macroeconomic forces, such as trade disputes, political tensions and regulatory changes can cause both disruption and uncertainty. To navigate this often unpredictable climate, companies need ready access to and accurate visibility of their operations so they can quickly adapt. A lack of clear insight into these operations can cost businesses millions of dollars, especially if decisions are driven from incomplete or outdated information.
Since joining IFS as CEO in 2018, Darren Roos has oriented the entire company around a set of priorities focused on offering customers solutions that deliver value and that ultimately empower them to navigate the inevitable changes in the marketplace. IFS is focused on enterprise software solutions for customers in five industries, including aerospace & defense, engineering, construction & infrastructure, energy, utilities & resources, manufacturing and service organizations.
Focusing on where the business can deliver the most value and the most impact, this mid-sized IT company competes and wins against multibillion-dollar industry heavyweights. Since his appointment in 2018, Roos has implemented an ambitious growth strategy that has led to successive quarters of double-digit growth. The analyst community and his global team are confident he is on track to organically grow the business to $1 billion in revenue in 2021.
Building a Solid Career
While Roos was less career-oriented when he initially entered the enterprise software industry, that quickly changed, and he shares that his career prospects opened up when he saw the promise of what role he could play. This can be seen in his performance at a Fortune 500 firm prior to joining IFS, where grit and determination took him from being an individual contributor to joining the most senior executive ranks within 9 years. Not rushing his career progression has been key, he said.
Global Market Leader
Roos has taken a similarly steady and strategic approach in his mission to profitably grow IFS over the past 18 months. Early on, he recruited top talent from the fiercest competitors in the market to add to an already strong executive roster. He also focused on transitioning the fragmented global business into an integrated organization with a common operating model. Now the company has an even greater capacity to service midmarket and large enterprises who need a vendor that can scale globally alongside them.
As IFS is consistently outpacing wider industry growth by a factor of three, the strategy has been validated many times over.
Customers are also feeling the tangible gains. Market intelligence firm IDC recently produced a white paper, sponsored by IFS, to calculate the business value derived from its enterprise software. The study found IFS users benefitted from an 18% productivity gain through IFS’s software solutions, as they enabled them to work faster, as well as more seamlessly and efficiently. This independent evaluation was based on an in-depth qualitative analysis with customers from across geographies and all of IFS’s focus industries.
Roos believes that his primary role is to ensure that the entire organization has a clear view of where it is headed, how it will get there, and most importantly, why it exists in the first place. As he shares, a CEO needs to be decisive, a strong communicator and ensure all employees understand the company’s purpose. He adds that, ultimately, the success of any organization comes down to the efficacy of the strategy and the quality of execution. Darren has also created an environment where everyone can contribute according to their capacity. He believes that his ability to build a diverse team–whether that is based on age, gender or ethnicity–and then getting the most out of them, is a key attribute. He values employees who have a positive attitude, strong work ethic and are authentic. One such effort to empower employees to contribute according to their capacity is the IFS Incubator program, which is a Shark Tank-like internal program intended to nurture innovations from all ranks of the IFS employee community. The focus of Incubator ideas must be to help customers uncover the potential of their businesses more rapidly. The employee-driven ideas are expected to complement and augment the solutions in IFS’s current offering. The submissions the company has been receiving have been impressive and speak to Roos’s focus on shaking up what it means to be an employee of a thriving tech company.
Here are some key pieces of advice from Roos on building a career:
- Remain passionate: “If you can’t find a way to love what you do, then try something else. Motivating yourself to work hard when you hate your job is impossible. Find a leader and a company that inspires you.”
- Master One’s Craft: “Instead of thinking about the next promotion, focus on mastering your craft, proving yourself in your current role and then overperforming. By doing so, you can build a career instead of constantly looking for the next shiny new thing.”
- Remain Focused: “Obstacles and challenges are inevitable, but you should choose to be resilient in tough times and remain focused. Also, do not be afraid to ask for help from more experienced colleagues throughout your network.”