IFS releases Applications 8; updated ERP suite for big industry

IFS' new enterprise resource management app suite aims to please manufacturers, IT departments and any big business that has assets to track or a supply chain to check.

The eagle has landed.

Global enterprise applications firm IFS announced this morning the latest version of its component-based Applications enterprise resource management suite this morning, code-named "Project Eagle."

The Illinois-based company says it's been working on the project since September 2009 -- its "most significant product investment," it says. The new version -- still built on service-oriented architecture with concern for agile development methodology, they'll have you know -- combines the user interface of its Enterprise Explorer platform with functionality divvied-up along four verticals: manufacturing, services & assets, projects, and supply chain.

  • For manufacturers, that means end-to-end lifecycle management. (Here's a video showing how Miller St Nazianz, which makes self-propelled sprayers for agricultural use, uses it.)
  • For those concerned with services and assets, that means managing customer-facing elements like call handling and field service and the workforce and project management that support them.
  • For project-based businesses, that means ensuring that things are delivered on time.
  • For the supply chain, that means finding the balance between efficiency and speed during strategy, planning and execution.

What's new, you ask? Aside from the IFS EE interface, which can be customized for roles and includes tools to filter, search and browse data, the suite adds a new business intelligence "concept" and more robust tech under the hood.

Take manufacturing as an example: the new version includes support for aftermarket service and repair, prototype manufacturing, an enhanced sales configuration tool and shop floor reporting capabilities.

It's all about the user this time around, IFS says.

"The inspiration for Project Eagle has mainly come from our customers, without whom this undertaking would have been impossible," chief executive Alastair Sorbie said, citing Brightpoint, Portsmouth Aviation, Remmele Engineering, Teracom and VBG GROUP. "The new version also gives us an advanced platform for future solutions."

That "future" bit is important. The company's in-house experimental labs are at work on touchscreen-based ERP for tablets and smartphones; don't be surprised if they pop up sooner rather than later, thanks to the technical foundation offered by the new suite and that recent purchase of Wisconsin-based mobility management firm Metrix.

Screenshot: IFS