Andy Bell, Director of Vanilla, explains why upgrading your legacy IFS Applications™ could save you more money in the long term...

Just upgrade – it’s for the best…

If your company runs an ERP application then, one way or another, you’ll be paying some sort of recurring cost for the software.  This might be a simple subscription to use the software or it might be the dreaded ‘annual maintenance’, where you pay a percentage of the initial purchase price each year in order to receive patches and, usually, the right to receive new versions.  Annual maintenance percentages vary but are usually in the range of 17% – 25% of your initial license fee.  This represents a significant cost to any business as you’re essentially paying again for your ERP software roughly every 4 or 5 years.

It’s no secret that my ERP heart belongs to IFS Applications™ and I’ve built my entire career and our company around helping customers to benefit from its uniquely adaptable nature and its huge and ever-growing feature set.  I’ve therefore had mixed feelings when looking at the recent changes that IFS have made relating to support for customers on non-current versions.  On one hand, I completely support their push towards an evergreen application and a future which frees customers from painful upgrades while delivering ever better functionality and usability.  On the other hand, I fully sympathise with customers who upgraded to the previous major version only last year and are already facing restricted support or increased maintenance costs.

In my mind, IFS has always been a product aimed at ambitious and dynamic businesses.  Whoever thought up #forthechallengers was a genius as this beautifully encapsulates what IFS has really always stood for.  Complex-yet-agile businesses who have the power to disrupt need software to match and frankly, if you are running a 15 year old ERP application on obsolete infrastructure, then you’re not properly equipped to be such a business.

The simple truth is that remaining on a legacy IFS version is increasingly going to offer you less for more cost and/or risk going forward.  There’s no way to sugar-coat that and anyway, I’m not really a sugar-coating sort of fellow.  My frank advice to anyone right now is therefore to swallow the potentially bitter pill and do the upgrade.

Maybe, instead of a technical upgrade, you might take the opportunity to reimagine your business, clear out bad data and disused solution elements and actually reimplement from scratch.  If you do this, you can make a roadmap of where you’d like to take your business and align this with a considered and stepwise plan to adopt the latest version of IFS and to remain evergreen.

As Vanilla are a sizeable provider of IFS services in the UK and, now, the US I thought we should do something to help address the challenge of people who need, reluctantly or otherwise, to take the final step onto an evergreen IFS platform.  In later posts we will therefore be announcing some new options for customers who want to work with us on what may well be their final critical major upgrade.  Watch this space!

Finally, I appreciate that you might read this and think ‘of course Vanilla are recommending an upgrade – it’s in their interests’.  That’s true of course but, as a company, we are now walking in your shoes.  We purchased IFS Applications™ for our internal use last year, have recently upgraded to IFS Applications 10 Update 8 and we are now on the evergreen path and planning for IFS 2020.  We love IFS and we’re here #forthechallengers.

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