IFS Applications Review

Realized benefits in reporting and overall communication after consolidating our sites

What is our primary use case?

The main reason for the ERP project was to bring together our fourteen sites, which had until then worked in separate silos.

How has it helped my organization?

Prior to implementation, there was a good deal of change management and relationship building carried out in order to bring everyone along. The result was a big improvement in financial reporting, business processes, and overall communication.

What is most valuable?

The user interface in Apps 8 was the big seller.

What needs improvement?

The CRM was shaky and although this improves greatly in Apps 10.

For how long have I used the solution?

We selected IFS in 2012 and started our project in Jan 2013.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The system is extremely stable. Crashes have been extremely rare.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the system has worked very well for us

How are customer service and technical support?

IFS Service is great. They are very responsive and have helped us out of a couple of holes.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The previous system was siloed which meant that there was no effective oversight over the whole business. It also meant that each site began to work in slightly different ways with varying processes. We switched in order to bring the entire organization together and unify as many processes as possible. We also wanted to achieve better financial reporting, which until this point had been based on aggregating SQL databases.

How was the initial setup?

The initial set up was made simpler by our philosophy of getting the basic functionality rolled out to the business. Once this was done, we began to drill down into some more complex functions. Because of the way we worked, much of this exploration could be done by colleagues who by now were very experienced with the system.

What about the implementation team?

We started with a vendor team and then continued with our in-house team once the UK was live.

What was our ROI?

We were privately held (now owned by another business) at the time of the project, so our ROI was more about bringing the business together and achieving better financial reporting. This has been achieved.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There are different ways to work with vendors depending on budget. We elected to use our UK location as the pilot site. We also decided to start small (ie with the base functionality) and grow into the system as the implementation rolled out. We paid for consultancy to workshop our main functions via video link in conjunction with all of our sites - a big task considering time zones.

The IFS functional consultants, armed with the information they needed, configured the system to meet our needs and we went live in the time allotted by the project plan. Once the UK was up and running, we rolled out to our other sites in sequence. We did not have enough resource to go big bang.

Doing things this way meant that our IT team learned the system pretty much inside out. They are able to deal with all but the most complex coding problems. It also saved us a huge amount of consultancy cost. The licensing is competitive and we have expanded the number of users over time as more people have wanted access to the system. Excluding the expanded user base, we managed to keep to about 10% above the original budget. There was some creep as the advantages of the system were realized by a wider audience and the culture of the business changed.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We sent out an RFI to the top 8 systems at our level of the market. We selected the three respondents that met our needs most effectively. They were MS Dynamics, Oracle and IFS. I put together a committee of 14 colleagues consisting of members from different sites and at least one from each main business function.

I then organised reference visits with each vendor in the UK, US, Italy, Singapore and Brazil, attended by local committee members.

After the visits, we had a meeting with all committee members at our office in Italy, where each of the 3 vendors took a day to demonstrate their system from end to end, answering questions along the way. 

On the 4th day of the meeting, the committee voted 12 to 2 in favour of IFS.

What other advice do I have?

Apart from the pressures of meeting 14 go-live dates, this has been a very positive experience and has led to a streamlined and effective business. 

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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