Enterprise software is about facilitating communication. This can range from simply registering a sales order to managing an international multi-billion infrastructure project. Looking back, business complexity such as globalization, more advanced value chains, and disruptive technologies have dramatically changed the way we work, and the way we want to work. Therefore, making complex things easier has been the highest priority for IFS from past to present.
This post outlines how IFS has responded to a number of technology shifts and changed behavior patterns from past to present. The result is market leading business software with a global reputation for having a productive and intuitive user experience.
Since the very early days of IFS, we have had a clear focus on always improving the user experience in our products to make the software easier and more fun to learn and use. And we do so in an incremental way to ensure that our customers can benefit stepwise, without disruptions, from new technologies and user experience innovations.
We even go so far as to say that you should “love the application” and be proud to use the product, pretty much the same way you love to use your tablet and smartphone. Ralph Rio, ARC Advisory Group, says
“IFS has a track record of innovation with user-friendly and configurable screens that include communication and information sharing. When people see the same data, they look beyond their silos and transparently collaborate with others.”
At IFS we take our inspiration from trends in consumer software design and let the business software follow the same route. It means, for instance, simplifying the user interface, making it cleaner and more minimalistic to let the software run on different types of devices and sizes.
We are proud to present pioneer innovations such as using digital Post-It notes in the application for both text and multi-media files. The latest version, IFS Applications 9, presents a user experience, called IFS Lobby, that lets end-users themselves tailor the entrance pages to contain lots of visualization elements such as pie and bar charts, matrixes, state gauges and much more.
With IFS Streams, you can have a personal subscription to business updates in IFS Applications so that you are notified when events occur that you are interested in, for instance, when an important purchase order is received. The notification is sent to any device you prefer such as your tablet, smartphone or smartwatch.
Work wherever you are
Smartphones, tablets and internet have dramatically changed our expectations to always being online. The revolution started in the consumer world, and it wasn’t long before IFS offered a solution that deployed and ran business apps exactly the same way as you are used to using smartphone apps for social media, gaming or just browsing the internet.
The latest shift is laptops being replaced by so-called hybrid laptops, which have the size and form factor of a tablet, but come with the power of a laptop to run advanced desktop applications. These new types of devices with a touch-first experience put new demands on the business software user experience. Before, what you may have used a mouse to navigate can now be managed through touch screen. IFS was the first business software vendor on the market to offer its entire enterprise application suite with a touch-first experience.
Make it yours
Looking back, many companies have mixed experiences of ordering customizations from the software vendor to modify the software to their specific needs. Modifying a standard application might have taken too long from idea to deployment, and the expense involved would have raised the total cost of ownership of the product. IFS wanted to change this.
IFS has made investments to improve the product architecture so that our customers can configure the software by themselves, instead of requiring customizations. Today, customers can easily add new fields, change workflows and create new data sources to present business data in the format they prefer.
However, as a customer you may still want to make modifications in the system; IFS has improved the way this is managed, too. With the new layered application architecture, configurations, customizations and localizations are handled in separate layers, which makes the upgrade process much quicker and cheaper. Being on the latest release will ensure that you can benefit from the latest user experience innovations.
Being able to quickly share intelligence and experiences between colleagues and business partners can mean the difference between making and breaking a deal. Instead of making a call or just dropping an email, it’s more efficient to communicate within the application context, to easily share and access the business data you need to interact with.
To ask a colleague for advice about a few project transactions, you just mark the records, create a task and send it off. The recipient is alerted by a notification in IFS Streams, on their laptop, smartphone or smartwatch, and can quickly act on the request. The task contains both text and a direct link to the actual transactions the sender needs a response to.
If you prefer to interact with people the way you interact with social media applications, IFS offers business software with chat functionality, one of the first vendors to do so. The advantage is that discussions are stored, and can be followed and searched for so that other people in the organization can benefit from the discussion. The application is called IFS Talk.
I started this post by talking about the importance of beauty in a business software context. Do you think we have succeeded when it comes to the latest version, IFS Applications 9?