IFS Charts Channel Growth After Switch from Direct Sales

IFS' channel leader says acquiring competitive talents helped accelerate channel growth.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

October 12, 2022

3 Min Read

IFS UNLEASHED — Software vendor IFS is on track to hit 40% channel sales in 2023, four years after switching from an almost entirely direct model.

Global channel leader Merlin Knott said when he joined the firm in 2019, the contribution from partners was just 2%. Speaking at IFS Unleashed in Miami, Knott said CEO Darren Roos tasked him with ensuring channel growth.


IFS’ Merlin Knott

“He said, ‘We need to have engagements with people who are going to go to market, who are going to find business, who are going to sell, who are going to be able to demonstrate the solutions and then execute on them.’ And that’s pretty much the journey we’ve been on for the last four years,” explained Knott.

During the event, Roos noted that while the firm’s software business has tripled in the last four years, its in-house consulting business has remained the same size.


IFS’ Darren Roos

“When Darren took over, he established the principle that we would not invest in any more consultants,” said Knott. “We had 900 consultants in 2014; we have 900 consultants today. That means that space is free and open for channel partners to pursue business in.”

Acquiring Competitive Talent

Knott gave a couple of reasons for IFS’ channel growth.

“IFS this is not a startup; it’s a well-established business,” said Knott. “So, although our brand isn’t necessarily well-known outside of the industries we work in, the maturity of consulting capability was in the market. And that means that the thing partners had to bring in were sales and presales.”

The firm was also helped by a glut of talent in the market when IFS launched its recruitment drive.

“In the last 24 months, there’s been a huge competition for talent in the market, particularly around sales and presales. But that really wasn’t the case four years ago. Our competitors were shedding huge amounts of resources in the market. SAP was going through a transformation. Oracle was not going to support Oracle Financials anymore. There was a lot of talent that was coming into the market, and that all came into our ecosystem,” he explained.

“So we focused our partners on going and acquiring those competitive talents. There were a whole lot of field service management companies that started to either fold, get acquired or start downscaling. Salesforce made acquisitions and didn’t exactly make friends with either their channel or the staff that they acquired. And of course, they all shed into the market, which is a great opportunity for us. Those partners become our partners. And so we did a lot of transformations around competitive acquisition of partners, and we also acquired a lot of talent out of the market, who then became IFS consultants.”

IFS Partner Day

The efforts are paying off. IFS’ Partner Day this week hosted 420 partner representatives.

“We have a large and robust ecosystem,” said Roos. “And we’ve done that deliberately, because we want to give our customers choice.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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