The Ultimate Buyers Guide: What is IFS ERP and why you should consider IFS Cloud for your next ERP initiative

If you are in the market for new ERP software I'm sure you are aware there are dozens of ERP software vendors and multiple products to consider.  

In fact, last we checked there are well over 80 commonly used ERP products available today in North America alone!

Now I’m sure you’ve heard of household names such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft since these vendors tend to spend huge sums of money marketing their brands on billboards, airports, radios, podcasts, golf tournaments, conferences, and more.

If you’ve never lead the charge of exploring a new ERP solution, how do you know which one is ultimately the best fit for your organization?

This particular blog will feature a lesser-known ERP player in North America, but has a large global presence and is making substantial investments specifically into North America.

The company and ERP product is simply known as IFS and the latest version of their product is called IFS Cloud.

This Ultimate Buyers Guide will tell you everything you need to know about IFS Cloud and if it's a good fit for your industry, deployment preferences, and budget. 

Don't want to take the time to read? Check out the interactive quiz below to see if you're a fit for IFS Cloud.

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A Brief History of IFS

IFS is a privately held, European company based in Linköping, Sweden, and boasts over 4,000 employees serving 10,000 customers worldwide.  

IFS got its start in 1983 with its first product launch called IFS Maintenance in 1985, and shortly after launched a full application suite and listed on the Swedish stock exchange back in 1996.

Since being taken private (2015), the company has invested heavily in its technology and ecosystem of partners and retooled its ERP solution for the cloud.

 

IFS Cloud ERP Applications Overview

imgStatsLet’s dive into the components of what’s included with IFS Cloud ERP.  

As one might expect the IFS suite of applications is broad and can accommodate a wide range of companies looking for new ERP software.  

Some distinctives about IFS have more to do with who they cater to and the types of industries they intend to focus on.

For example, IFS has a really strong value proposition for complex manufacturing businesses, especially ones that also provide field services. We'll get to industry specifics a bit later.  

When you license IFS Cloud ERP, you are granted access to the following modules/features:

IFS Financial Management Module

Includes the following features:

IFS Engineering Module

Includes the following features:

  • Design collaboration
  • Plant design and commissioning
  • Engineering change management
  • And more

IFS Manufacturing Module

Includes the following features:

IFS Project Management Module

Includes the following features:

IFS Supply Chain Management Module

Includes the following features:

IFS Maintenance Module

Includes the following features:

IFS Human Capital Management Module

Includes the following features:

IFS Sales and Service Module

Includes the following features:

We get it,  this seems like a ton of functionality and it is.  

Keep in mind that not every company and every user will need access to each and every IFS module and associated functionality.

As we begin to understand you and your business requirements we'll ensure that your users have proper access to all the features and functions necessary to run your business successfully on IFS.  

 

What Industries Does IFS Support?

Who’s a good fit for IFS ERP?

One of the major differentiators from other leading ERP solutions is IFS' industry-specific solutions.

Sure, you can customize most ERP solutions to accommodate your specific business needs and processes.

However, when you implement an ERP solution with deep domain capabilities built right into the core offering, like IFS, it allows businesses to go live more quickly (both decreasing time to value and reducing cost) and provides the rich capabilities necessary to run a complex business (more productivity).  

In essence, you get more value, spend less money and create less complexity within your infrastructure!

Many ERP systems in the market today tend to be generalist-type solutions.  They are designed for the masses and offer the ability to either customize or offer a robust ecosystem of 3rd party products you can “plugin” natively to support various business processes.

While a “best of breed” approach on paper sounds nice, it really falls short of the promises it makes.

IFS ERP on the other hand offers deep, native capabilities to support the following industries essentially “right out of the box” without the need for a host of 3rd party products or complex customizations.  Furthermore, IFS also provides Enterprise Asset Management (EAM and Field Service Management (FSM) in a single unified product with a single database providing seamless integration between the applications.

AEROSPACE & DEFENSE

  • Defense In-Service Support
  • Military Market
  • A&D Manufacturing
  • Airlines & Fleet Operators
  • Independent MRO

CONSTRUCTION, INFRASTRUCTURE & INDUSTRIAL SERVICES

  • Construction, Infrastructure & Industrial Services
  • Engineering Contractors
  • Shipbuilding & Maritime 

MANUFACTURING

  • Automotive Manufacturing
  • Discrete Manufacturing
  • Process Manufacturing

TELECOMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY, UTILITY & RESOURCES

  • Mills & Metals
  • Mining & Mining Services
  • Oil & Gas
  • Power Distribution
  • Power Generation
  • Power Transmission
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation, Infrastructure & Operations
  • Water Supply & Treatment

Field Services

In terms of where IFS is heading next, they’ve made substantial investments in their Field Service Management (FSM) portfolio and have the goods to prove they are the go-to vendor for companies looking for FSM solutions. 

They’ve made several FSM acquisitions in recent years and continue to view this as a sweet spot for them, especially in the mid-market enterprise space.  

This brings us to our final point on who might be a good fit for IFS Cloud ERP.

IFS really doesn’t compete in the SMB space or within the Fortune 500 either.  

Their price point and product offering make them very attractive to the types of business/industries listed above and that fall within the $100M-1B revenue range.

 

IFS mac

Curious if IFS is right for you? Take the quiz to find out now!

 

IFS ERP Software Reviews

What do the Industry analyst say: Gartner

Gartner-Highlighted2

IFS was named a Visionary in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Cloud ERP for Product-Centric Enterprises and a leader in the Magic Quadrant for Field Service Management with IFS positioned highest in ability to execute.

If you are not aware of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant analysis, Gartner has become the gold standard in the industry for non-biased reporting and analysis on the various software applications in the marketplace and ranks them based upon their capabilities and real-life customer feedback.  

This recognition by Gartner is proof that IFS has a very compelling ERP product offering that is complete and has the ability to execute consistently at a very high level.  

 

 

What do the Industry analyst say: IDC

IDC IFS

 

Again most everyone is familiar with Oracle and SAP and they have the customer counts to prove their dominance in the ERP space, yet the IDC MarketScape report on Cloud-Enabled ERP placed IFS within the "Major Players" category, and ranked them higher on the "capabilities" axis with the ability to execute.  

The report went on to highlight why IFS is such a great ERP for complex manufacturing companies, citing one example around IFS's Dynamic Scheduling Engine.  Here's a quick look at what they mentioned:  "Artificial Intelligence (AI) was applied to the IFS Dynamic Scheduling Engine for a transportation company, which increased the availability of working machines by 20%—allowing more contracts to be completed without the addition of staff."
*IDC MarketScape: Worldwide SaaS and Cloud-Enabled Operational ERP Applications 2019 Vendor Assessment, IDC #US43702818, March 2019

 

What do the customers say:

It’s one thing to win the praises from industry analysts like Gartner and IDC, it's another when customers share real-life reviews about IFS ERP software, it speaks volumes about the product and how it’s solving real problems for real business leaders.  

For example, Peer Insights by Gartner contains 120 reviews with more than 85% showing a 4 or 5-star rating.   

 

Gartner Peer Insights 1

 

And within another popular ERP software review site, G2Crowd, 70 of the 86 online reviews rate IFS Cloud with either 4 or 5 stars. 

 

Between the ERP analyst rankings/reviews and the end-user ratings on sites like PeerInsights and G2Crowd, you can begin to get the sense that IFS is ready for prime time, especially for complex manufacturing and service industries.  

IFS ERP Pricing & Licensing Approach

IFS ERP software is licensed and priced based upon a named user license approach, not concurrent like some software applications.

When you license the IFS Cloud ERP application suite you essentially get access to all the modules (features & functions) necessary for your business to run IFS ERP (this is determined during the scoping phase of your software evaluation).

Unlike other software applications where there is a separate price for the suite, the modules, transaction volumes, and the users, IFS is much more transparent and takes a more simplified licensing approach.

Furthermore, the IFS software license price also includes application hosting (provided by IFS). Therefore there's no need to build out the internal infrastructure to support the ERP application like you would with traditional on-premise ERP software. However, this is totally feasible with IFS if you wish to deploy on-premise. 

As part of the hosting and support services, IFS clients will receive twice a year annual updates to take advantage of new feature releases, enhancements, and bug fixes.  

Curious how much you might spend on IFS ERP Software? Check out on IFS Pricing Calculator to see how much you could save by licensing IFS with Astra Canyon Group. 

IFS mac

Curious how much IFS cost? Calculate your price now.

 

IFS ERP Services (Deployment Options & Implementation)

IFS Cloud ERP offers lots of flexibility when it comes to deployment options.  It's designed to run in a public cloud but can also be deployed on-premise, within a private data center, or in a private cloud.  Regardless of your preferred deployment method, all clients will have access to the same great functionality.  

Regardless of your preferred deployment approach, an IFS ERP implementation will begin with Business Value Engineering assessment where we'll document your future state on IFS Cloud ERP, leveraging best-in-class business processes (where applicable) and identifying potential gaps/recommendations.  The requirements gathering and documentation phase can take between one and three months depending upon project scope and complexity.

Once the Business Requirements Document (BRD) is agreed upon, configuration sessions begin. It’s during this phase where Astra Canyon Group will custom tailor IFS settings based upon the customer's requirements identified in the BRD.  There's generally a handful of configuration sessions per week and you can expect this phase of the project to last between one and three months.

The third phase of the implementation consists of data migration from your former system, user acceptance testing, and end-user training.  In essence, preparing for go-live on IFS.  Astra Canyon Group will providence guidance related to data migration and will provide end-users with training programs designed to equip and empower end-users so that once Astra Canyon consultants roll off the project, sufficient IFS knowledge is retained inside the organization.  

While it’s entirely dependent upon scope, a typical IFS implementation takes roughly nine months from start to finish.  The majority of IFS ERP implementations will cost between $150k-1.5M and this range is entirely dependent on project scope and complexity.

 

IFS Cloud ERP Pros & Cons

Pros

  • IFS offers a very compelling comprehensive suite of applications (ERP, EAM, and ESM) purpose-built for a variety of product and asset-centric industries including Aerospace & Defense, Asset Intensive, Automotive, Energy and Utilities, Engineering, Construction and Infrastructure, High Tech Manufacturing, Industrial Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Process Manufacturing, Retail and Wholesale and Service Providers.
  • IFS is backed by private equality firm (EQT) and investing heavily in R&D and its singular focus is on its suite of ERP, EAM, and Service Management products.  No competing agendas or ERP overlap as you see with other vendors (e.g. Microsoft, Oracle, SAP) in this space. 
  • IFS is a proven ERP with thousands of global deployments and a team of over 4000 employees across more than 30 countries
  • IFS offers a variety of deployment options, such as public cloud, private cloud, or on-premise.
  • IFS Cloud comes natively with responsive design and is optimized to work regardless of device or location preference.  

Cons

  • Not a household name like SAP or Oracle and this can sometimes cause companies not to give IFS a proper consideration unless recommended by a colleague and/or ERP selection firm. We recently featured an entire blog comparing IFS vs Oracle, check it out.
  • IFS ecosystem is small compared to larger vendors. It can be more challenging to find consultants with deep IFS experience. Astra Canyon Group is by far the largest IFS consulting organization in North America.  
  • IFS offers a robust ERP solution designed for complex organizations.  This depth of functionality comes at a price point that many SMB sized companies cannot absorb and frankly would be overkill. 


IFS Cloud ERP FAQ:

Q: Is IFS ERP deployed in the cloud or on-premise?

A: Both, historically IFS has been an on-premise solution but in recent years has retooled it’s ERP to be deployed in the cloud in IFS data centers (public cloud), or in your own datacenters (private cloud) or can be deployed on-premise.

Q: What does IFS stand for?

A: IFS is short for "Industrial and Financial Systems"

Q: What is IFS ERP software used for?

A: IFS develops Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to help businesses better manage their financial resources, their inventory, their people and processes better.  IFS also offers world class Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software and Services Resource Planning (SRP).

Q: What type of companies use IFS ERP Software?

A: IFS is used by a wide variety of businesses around the world. The solution enables complex businesses to successfully handle four key processes:

  1. Service and Asset Management
  2. Manufacturing
  3. Projects
  4. Supply Chain Management.
Companies within the Aerospace & Defense, Asset Intensive, Automotive, Energy and Utilities, Engineering, Construction and Infrastructure, High Tech Manufacturing, Industrial Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Process Manufacturing, Retail and Wholesale and Service Providers. Their domain expertise in these segments sets them apart. See references http://www.ifsworld.com/corp/our-customers/

Q: How many employees does IFS have?

A: IFS boast over 4000 employees worldwide.

Q: How many customers does IFS have?

A: IFS claims to have over 10,000 customers worldwide in more than 30 countries.

Q: How much does IFS Cloud ERP software cost?

A: IFS does not publicly publish their list pricing information however a typical customer could expect to spend around $4,500 per user, which includes full ERP access, hosting and support. For more detailed pricing click below.

IFS mac

Curious how much IFS cost? Calculate your price now.

Q: Who are IFS' primary competitors:

A: IFS' primary competition consists of SAP ByD and SAP S/4, Oracle NetSuite and Oracle Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations, Epicor and Infor CloudSuite, Acumatica and Sage X3. 

Q: Can I get free trial access to IFS ERP software?

A: Astra Canyon Group can provide potential IFS customers a highly specialized demonstration but currently does not have the ability to offer prospects a IFS trial product.  

 

Is IFS Right for You?

IFS and Astra Canyon Group are laying the groundwork for tremendous growth in North America in the coming years.

We at Astra Canyon Group are IFS's go-to partner for North American-based ERP initiatives and would love to learn more about the problems you are looking to solve with new ERP software. 

We can help you determine whether IFS is a good fit for your particular challenges, industry, and growth ambitions.

Contact us today to schedule a discussion about your ERP initiative to see if IFS is right for you.

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