IFS ramps up single-platform cloud delivery as it bids ERP adieu

Business applications supplier shifts fundamentally to cloud infrastructure while sloughing off enterprise resource planning as it rebrands

IFS is increasing the cloud delivery of its products while rebranding itself as beyond enterprise resource planning (ERP).

Darren Roos, CEO at IFS, told Computer Weekly ahead of the official launch of IFS Cloud that because half of the supplier’s revenue now comes from field service management, it is no longer primarily an ERP and EAM (enterprise asset management) provider.

IFS Cloud, according to a company statement, is a “single platform that innately connects all [the company’s] products to deliver the end-to-end capabilities a company needs to orchestrate its customers, people and assets”.

IFS said it will offer a “single technology platform with one common user experience, one data model and one consistent support offering, and by implementing IFS Cloud, companies can easily scale and simply switch on new functionality”.

It added: “This marks the start of twice-yearly feature releases, giving customers the choice to move to the latest version as and when their business is ready.”

IFS Cloud can also be deployed on-premise, and the public cloud provider is Microsoft, with Azure, said Roos.

“Customers have told me that their main goals are to drive efficiency, control costs and to develop better products and services,” he said. “We know that to achieve this, cloud is a prerequisite. Digital innovations need to be easily consumable and embedded into daily business operations.”

Roos said modern business applications need to encompass next-generation technologies, such as machine learning, augmented and mixed reality, artificial intelligence and the internet of things. And they need to offer user interfaces that do not smack of older ERP systems, he added.

“We don’t want to leave behind the thousands of ERP customers that we have,” he said. “But we do want to position IFS in relation to where we are going, rather than where we have been [as an ERP and EAM provider born in Sweden]. Hence our ‘moment of service’ positioning. And to that, the historical silos of ERP, EAM and FSM [field service management] are largely irrelevant today.

“We see the analysts talking about the ‘composable enterprise’, and what we allow customers to do is to mix and match pieces of the ERP, the asset management, the field service scheduling and optimisation, customer engagement, and so on, into a composable application. And then that runs into IFS Cloud because that brings together all of those capabilities on a single platform.”

Roos said it is difficult to get away from the term ERP, if only because it can be synonymous for all business applications used to run a business. “But the irony is that big components of that picture, like FSM, have not been a natural part of ERP,” he said.

“What customers need to do is to think about what is core to their business and what is the software they need to move that business forward. They want as much capability as possible with as few applications as possible, which means best of breed for what is strategic and ‘suite’ for the rest.”

An early adopter of IFS Cloud is Cimcorp Group, a manufacturer of robotics and automation systems. Jyrki Anttonen, its technology director, said: “The manufacturing and manufacturing service industries are very dynamic and highly competitive, which means we are constantly looking for technologies that will allow us to work smarter and faster than our competitors.

“Company growth is certainly a goal, but we are a global business and therefore we need to have visibility into our operations globally so that we can target efficiencies, control costs and devise news ways to create value for our customers. IFS Cloud is a platform with next-generation technology built for our industry and this gives us the confidence we need to achieve this.”

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