When it comes to ERP products, the label “Tier 1” is most frequently associated with Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft. But while these vendors certainly boast some of the most robust and configurable software packages available, there are many compelling arguments against limiting an ERP evaluation to these three.
Consider IFS Applications. Why leave out one of the fastest growing ERP companies that happens to have displaced many Tier 1 solutions in the Gartner Magic Quadrant?
Tiers 1 and 2
It is true that not all enterprise software is created equally, and so we refer to products as Tier 1 or Tier 2 based on various points of comparison. But there is no single authority on how these labels are applied to products. As points of view or biases vary, the Tier 1 lists fluctuate. In fact, Microsoft sometimes doesn’t make the cut.
Some of the common distinctions between Tier 1 and 2 ERP products extend well beyond the complexity or configurability of the actual software. Many definitions refer to market share, revenue, and customer size, as if to suggest that only Oracle and SAP can support large businesses.
But we know this is not true. Hundreds of large, global enterprises trust IFS Applications every day to reduce costs and promote growth.
For many reasons which are outlined in an article by Tech Evaluation, changes in the scalability and complexity of ERP products have “made it difficult to distinguish between tier 1 and 2 vendors.”
In short, IFS Applications should not be dismissed just because it isn’t a household name. In fact one of the confounding things about IFS is that it has grown to having over 1 million users worldwide without the name recognition to do it justice.
Functionality & Capability
When Technology Evaluation compared IFS to SAP ERP, they found that the two products demonstrated comparable functionality in Financials, Human Resources, Manufacturing Management, Inventory Management, Purchasing Management, and Quality Management.
IFS Applications has powerful, industry-specific solutions for the following:
- Construction & Contracting
- Food & Beverage
- Aerospace & Defense
- Asset Intensive Industries, such as Oil & Gas
- Chemical Manufacturing
- High Tech Manufacturing
- Life Sciences
- Process Manufacturing
While SAP ERP and IFS Applications may have similar functionality, SAP’s reputation for lengthy implementation time frames and absorbent costs are pretty well known. IFS software pricing and implementation costs are much more in line with JD Edwards.
One reason Corning Data runs with the IFS Applications banner is that IFS has a genuine focus on its ERP product. Consider the following:
- Oracle offers and supports six different major ERP packages: Oracle Applications, E-Business Suite, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, JD Edwards World, PeopleSoft, and NetSuite
- Microsoft’s family of Dynamics products represent a fraction of the software giant’s total revenue, which features Office, Windows, Surface, and even Xbox.
Corning Data fully embraces JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and as one of the largest service providers in North America recognizes the merits of the product. Yet in Oracle’s interest to secure higher long-term revenues, it has its focus locked on Cloud Services.
Microsoft is even far less focused on ERP solutions than Oracle. According to Motley Fool, “Office contributes the lion share of sales in productivity and business processes… by far, the greatest amount of the company’s profitability.” Unlike Oracle’s customer model, in which 60% of its revenue comes from .05% of its customers, Microsoft seems to be zeroed in on its competition with Apple and Google in the areas of personal computing and productivity.
By contrast, the enterprise software for ERP, EAM, and FSM that comprise IFS Applications are the very heart and soul of IFS.
The fact is that ERP software is not in the DNA of, nor is it the main focus of, either Oracle or Microsoft. Of the nine combined mature ERP packages offered by the two companies, eight were acquired and not created internally. Over time this can translate into some unsettling situations for their ERP customers. Consider the many JD Edwards customers who were told shortly after Oracle purchased PeopleSoft that Oracle Fusion Applications might be replacing EnterpriseOne and World. It would have been a costly transition, if it had come to pass.
Another reason Corning Data is proud to partner with IFS is that they developed their own solution. IFS was founded by a group of students in the early 1980s, beginning with IFS Maintenance, and eventually rolling out the complete suite of IFS Applications.