Understanding the ILS Name Debate!

Ever been confused by the ILS name debate? Because now there is another new name. Integrated Lifecycle Support may replace Integrated Logistic Support (ILS). A different name for Supportability Engineering disciplines, but one which retains the familiar ILS acronym.  

Why now? Why ILS?

Read Quorum’s quick guide and make sure you’re understanding the ILS name debate…

Has Integrated Logistic Support outgrown its name?

Names help us understand what something is, what it does and how it does it. However, as our understanding evolves some things outgrow their name. This is possibly what’s happened with Integrated Logistic Support.

Ask yourself, ‘Does the name say enough about what ILS can do?’

With so many influential players, trying to communicate broad supportability engineering understanding and requirements across international borders the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) thinks not.

And it is not alone. The name debate has been running for some time, across the whole industry.

The name Integrated Logistic Support is under scrutiny, with alternatives already used. But we still don’t all agree on one consistent name across the industry. Its making work and life more confusing than it needs to be.

The ILS name debate limbo

The ILS name is in limbo. There is a growing number of names and acronyms being preferred by different organisations and geographies. Different names being used to describe the same thing,

This also leads to assumptions being made that despite a different name being used it is the same thing we’re talking about. But it might not be!

For example, there is already a disconnect between the UK and Europe. The latest offering from the UK MOD to replace ILS is Technical Through-Life Support (TTLS). It’s a good description of what we do and embraces the product as well as the service focus. 

But already it is different from the preferred European name, Integrated Product Support (IPS). A potentially narrower term, although it does get used for wider applications than just products.

We could even split the ILS discipline into two; using the name Integrated Design Support (IDS) when we’re designing for support. Then IPS could be used for just developing support solutions around designed systems for Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) solutions introduced for Urgent Operational Requirements (UORs). But is that just adding to the confusion?

In truth, whichever way we go, the purpose of the name is to provide clarity. If we can all agree on the same name going forward, surely we’ll be the better for it.

The IPS User Forum

So, how do we achieve consistency on a global scale?

The recent IPS User Forum in Vienna, has inadvertently put the spotlight back on the ILS name debate. Here, Quorum team members joined other IPS and ILS practitioners to explore advances in the multiple disciplines within its cradle to grave Supportability Engineering vision (SE).  

As a European conference IPS was the name in the frame. Although delegates, familiar with pivoting between ILS, SE, TTLS and IPS, communicated about common topics using different names – with the same meaning. It has become business as usual.

However, NATO did take the opportunity to share its latest thinking on the ILS name debate. A move which could potentially resolve confusion. Rather than adopting IPS though it has recommended simply swopping out the word ‘Logistic’ for ‘Lifecycle’.

The result – Integrated Lifecycle Support (still ILS), certainly works well from Quorum’s perspective. After all we’re ILS practitioners through and through. Plus, we won’t have to explain that it’s ‘logistic’ singular and not ‘logistics’ plural anymore. That will save time!

Swopping out ‘Product’ for ‘Lifecycle’ from our European and U.S. colleagues’ perspective means that rather than getting confined to products, projects and programmes the focus will be on end-to-end capability.

Plus, losing ‘logistic’ from our name will hopefully cut down on the time we spend sifting through CVs from lorry drivers hoping to make their next career move with Quorum!

“NATO used the IPS User Forum to share its thinking on the ILS name debate – rather than adopting IPS it suggests we simply swop out the word ‘Logistic’ for ‘Lifecycle’.”

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