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World turmoil and new industrial revolution fuels blue collar ERP market, says IFS

Antony Savvas | Oct. 30, 2013
The role of manufacturing, supply chain and military ERP business software is ensured as a result of socio-political turmoil and a new industrial revolution, according to one CEO in that market space.

He said: "In the recent past we've acquired smaller companies to address specific functions, but we don't want to get in the Oracle territory of buying large operations and then not quickly integrating them [like when Oracle acquired Peoplesoft and JD Edwards for instance] into our product suite."

IFS CTO Dan Matthews added: "We're not looking to develop the best social media engine or the leading in-memory data analytics system, but we can offer smaller systems with what we've got and what we're developing."

On the mobile front IFS announced it was one of the first ERP providers to offer its applications on the Samsung Knox secure smartphone system. The Knox mobile device management system (MDM) allows companies to prevent business data leaking from the devices carried by staff under bring your own device (BYOD) policies.

The Android-based Knox competes against the likes of BlackBerry's new MDM which does the same thing.

On the big data front, Matthews said: "Systems have been available for years to control and secure the massive amounts of data generated by fighter aircraft, for instance, but now the challenge is to scale things down to a forklift truck at the right price, this is the challenge for our industry now."

Social media for many of IFS' clients is a thorny issue. Military customers and oil companies don't want their staff posting about problems on Twitter and Facebook, but they are considering internal social communications platforms.

Corporate social media company Yammer, which is owned by Microsoft, spoke at the conference, but IFS is now trying to promote its own scaled down social platform in the form of IFS Talk. This is an internal messaging system that allows companies to save and manage posts and link them to future problem solving in the production and supply chain processes.

So while IFS isn't a giant in the ERP space, it is doing its level best to protect its niche position.


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