ESG and Building Resilience in Today’s Enterprise - Image by Gerd Altmann from PixabayIFS has released the latest version of IFS Cloud. The release includes a series of updates to each of its modules, including ESG, ERP, EAM, MRO and Service Management. There are also improvements to the platform itself and some usability enhancements.

This release also signals the first where the recently launched AI architecture, IFS.ai, is embedded into the platform.

IFS categorised the updates within this release into three broad themes: optimize people, assets and services, connect global operations and achieve ESG goals profitably. IFS believes that these three themes enable organisations to exercise resilience to not only survive, but also to accelerate growth.

Christian Pedersen, Chief Product Officer at IFS.
Christian Pedersen, Chief Product Officer at IFS.

Christian Pedersen, Chief Product Officer, IFS, said: “Accelerating digital transformation remains a top priority for our customers as they continue to depend on technology to build predictability in performance and resilience in their business. With this latest release of IFS Cloud, we have stayed true to our product vision to enable customers to adopt our innovation out of the box.

“This includes our commitment to providing a product that stays evergreen. Delivering a composable option that provides a clear path to always being up to date with the latest digital and AI innovation is central to that.

“IFS.ai capabilities already exist in IFS Cloud, and we are continuing investment into this area. Our aim with AI is to make an organizational-wide impact for all our customers across all their users.”

The release contains a mix of new and updated functionality to improve the resiliency of firms in an ever-changing business landscape. It will continue the IFS task of helping organisations build a composable, intelligent, autonomous enterprise. Below are just a few highlights from the update.

EAM

IFS is strong in the Oil & Gas industry. It has improved its support with compliance for DNV Certification. Updates include the ability to demonstrate why you’ve had to delay work. It has also enabled improved data synchronisation for a hub and spoke model. This enables offshore sites and vessels to synchronise data effectively.

Additionally, it has introduced an integration with Adobe to enable the e-signing of a reference record. It can send and store signed documents securely on the IFS Cloud. Enterprise Times asked, would this integration would support other eSignature platforms?

Martin Harries, Director of Product Management, responded, saying, “Adobe has formalized a partnership. At the moment, we’re only looking to deliver and support the capability with Adobe, but the integration points have been developed such that if the customer requires an alternative provider, that integration point can be changed during implementation.”

Service Management

Within Service Management, IFS has improved the Dispatch Console. Despatchers now have greater visibility of work with better map, resource, and list views. Dispatchers are also able to personalise their dashboard, a feature that was requested a lot from customers.

The mobile application for field workers is also enhanced. Support for crew work and additional collaboration functionality improve coordination between dispatchers and field workers. There are also some industry-specific enhancements for conditions, measurements and tool usage. Originally available in the desk version in 2023 R1, they are now available for field workers on the mobile application.

ERP and ESG update

The release contains several updates to move ESG reporting forward.  With CSRD coming into the force in the EU, this has been of pressing concern to many. IFS has considered the entire flow of information across the ESG data flow. It has introduced the collection of consumption data at invoice entry and a new emissions tracker that is required for CSRD reporting. There is also a new ESG lobby enabling users to see all their ESG data in a single view, with drill-down capabilities.

Enterprise Times asked Caitlin Kearn, Director of Product Management at IFS, about the collection of data at the invoice input stage.  She replied, “We already have consumption data on purchase orders, and now it’s looking at invoices and having more fields for you to input consumption with a focus on utilities, getting the utility billing consumption data through like the kilowatt hours of electricity and litres of water.

It is an area that IFS could look to introduce AI, automating the capture of such data using OCR and inputting it directly into the system.

Enterprise Times also asked whether IFS is aligning its ESG efforts with any frameworks. Kearn replied, “We did start working with GRI, and over the past year and speaking to our customers, the corporate sustainability reporting directive and the European sustainability reporting standards have taken the highest priority, and we’re putting all our efforts onto those standards.

“It came out with a high degree of interoperable interoperability with GRI, which confirmed our focus on focusing on ESRs. So, at the moment, we are not looking at GRI and SASB.”

In the first instance, IFS is looking to deliver the ability to rack Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. It will be interesting to see how it brings in Scope 3, which is also required for larger enterprises.

Another new feature is a remanufacturing capability which supports cost calculations for disassembled and remanufactured products. Not only does this support the circular economy and help with reporting it also helps organisations open up new revenue streams.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

This is another major update by IFS, with timely improvements for the new ESG regulations that start coming into force in a few weeks. IFS continues to develop and roll out AI functionality and I would expect more features to become available in 2024R1 on this front.

Customers should review the full release notes to see what additional functionality is available. IFS has certainly delivered an early Christmas present, especially for those organisations concerned about their compliance with CSRD.

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