IFS first to market with embedded enterprise application search
IFS reports delivery of integrated enterprise application search (EAS), making it the first top-tier enterprise apps solutions vendor to embed the functionality within an ERP system.
EAS gives information workers access to business information through a “Google-style” search-based interface that is embedded within the enterprise application. In contrast, other enterprise application vendors and best-of-breed search tool companies are offering solutions bolted to the outside of applications. According to IFS CTO Dan Matthews, this approach presents a number of drawbacks in the areas of security, usability, and cost. “Since the enterprise application search functionality is embedded within IFS Applications, there is nothing else to buy and no additional licensing fees,” Matthews said. “Furthermore, there is no costly, months-long implementation project to configure the search tool to your systems. The search functionality is already fully integrated. By integrating search functionality within IFS Applications, we avoid the main problems that plague bolt-on search appliances, allowing organizations to get the benefits much sooner.”
According to Matthews, it is hard for an external system to perform effectively as a search tool as it does not fully understand the application and underlying metadata it is running within. Because it is an integrated part of IFS Applications, IFS’ EAS delivers more targeted results than a generic enterprise search. For example, a user can tell the IFS Applications’ EAS tool that the scope of the search should be invoices, spare parts or customers, and only the specified data will be returned.
“Security is another advantage the IFS Applications’ EAS tool has over external enterprise search tools,” Matthews said. “There are horror stories about enterprise searches that make files and data available to people within an organization who are just not authorized to see that data. Hypothetically, you should be able to program a bolt-on enterprise search appliance to prevent that, but it will not be as secure as an integrated search tool like IFS enterprise application search, which automatically respects existing security rules.” According to Matthews, bolt-on enterprise search tools will have a role to play when searching a broad spectrum of structured and unstructured data within a company, but they will not fill the role of an integrated search tool.
“For a number of reasons, other application vendors may be slow to market with integrated search,” Matthews said. “IFS’ research and development efforts are dedicated to adding value to IFS Applications. Some of our competitors market too many different applications to allow them to cost-effectively add EAS. Others offer a technology stack including middleware and naturally want to offer a search tool that can be used with a wide variety of their technologies.” “This market first is indicative of IFS’ approach to technology innovation,” says IFS AB President and CEO Alastair Sorbie. “Now that many of our historic rivals have been acquired by large conglomerates, IFS is one of the only independent software vendors still investing heavily in their product. We have the resources and the intent to add market-leading functionality to IFS Applications, and are agile enough to bring this functionality to market well before our larger competitors.”