IFS Launches New Smartphone Apps

Mobile computing (mobility) has been the major theme of the ongoing IFS World Conference 2012 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Given that the sales of smartphones and tablets have recently exceeded the sales of PCs, this path of discussion is logical. IFS has embarked on the following three-step path to workforce mobilization:

  • Reach—when people are out of office, reach them via notifications, reminders, etc.

  • Act—enable transactional users to use full ERP suite remotely via IFS Touch Apps for smartphones and tablets, in the same manner as when they are in the office. The look-and-feel will be the same as using IFS Enterprise Explorer on the desktop, with the addition of “touch” capabilities for tablets.

  • Transform—with the input of professional ERP users and roles (e.g., road warriors), IFS hopes to transform some industries’ best practices via mobile devices (e.g., field service tasks)

At the conference, IFS launched seven new smartphone apps in the IFS Touch Apps series. The new applications—which are available from Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and Windows Marketplace—offer intuitive mobile functionality in areas such as human resources (HR), customer relationship management (CRM), ad-hoc reporting, enterprise application search, vehicle management, and IFS support services.

Following on from the release of IFS Notify Me in April 2012, a cloud-based smartphone business app for the routine task of approving purchases, expense, and invoice approvals, IFS is now extending its offering for the mobile workforce with seven new apps. In addition, IFS is also releasing IFS Notify Me as the very first mobile app for Windows Phone and Windows 8. The new IFS Touch Apps are as follows (somewhat similar in nature and scope as Infor Motion mobile apps):

  1. IFS Time Tracker, for project time and attendance (T&A) reporting, confirmation, etc.

  2. IFS Trip Tracker, for real-time, as-you-travel expense reporting for the mobile individual (including the ability to scan receipts as attachments)

  3. IFS Sales Companion, for sales people to manage their accounts, tasks, and opportunities

  4. IFS Quick Reports, for running and viewing ad-hoc reports on a mobile device

  5. IFS Quick Facts, for fast keyword search of any object in IFS Applications

  6. IFS Flight Log, for management of platform operational data in the aerospace and defense (A&D) industry

  7. IFS Support Companion, for interaction with IFS support centers

The functionality of the new Touch Apps has largely been determined by IFS’ customers to exactly match their needs. In this way, IFS is able to produce functionally rich, elegant apps that are easy to try, buy, and use. The IFS Touch Apps are designed to offer hassle-free user experience to the mobile workforce. The apps are focused on quick-to-complete tasks and present the user with only the relevant, rather than all, information. The apps are designed to minimize typing and allow the user to exit the app at any point and continue later.

IFS bridges the gap between the fast-moving world of smartphones and apps and the slower-moving world of ERP software via the use of cloud technology. Rather than having the apps “talk” directly to the ERP back-end, the apps talk to services running inside IFS Cloud (powered by Windows Azure). It will be interesting to watch how the future IFS Touch mobile solutions will address the three typical user personas: casual, professional, and transactional.

TEC article (Apr 2012): Secure Mobile ERP—Is It Possible?
TEC blog post (Oct 2011): IFS: Of Vertical Focus, and Customers’ Agility and Choice?
TEC overview: IFS Applications
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