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This is one of a series of live blog posts directly from the site of the 2013 IFS World Conference in Barcelona. Business journalist Adam Tinworth is a veteran of Reed Business Information and a lecturer on digital journalism at City University in London. His first-hand impressions are accompanied by illustrations of Matthew Buck, cartoonist for Drawnalism.

Dan Matthews, CTO, IFS

Three promises from IFS on mobile:

  1. We’re doing mobile for everyone. The field team, the casual user and the office user. 
  2. We’ll make it easy – for the user and for the IT department. The IFS cloud detaches mobile from the need to continually run upgrades.
  3. We’ll be agile. It’s a changing world. Blackberry is being marginalised. Screens are changing fast. We’ll listen, watch and respond.

WoCo2013_Dan_and_the_customersLast year was a year of launch and opportunity. We launched, giving you an opportunity. This year is the year of rollouts and results. By 2015, 50% of business applications will be accessed through mobile, says Gartner.

25% of IFS 8 users have implemented at least one mobile solution. CDF have implemented mobile on the shop floor. They saved supervisors an hour per shift by putting information ion iPods in their pockets. That’s 30 hours per week saved per warehouse.

EB have to address grounding faults within 28 days. Before they implemented mobile they were at 66 days on average, but after implementing mobile work orders, they’re at 27.

What have we learnt?

The device situation is more complex than it looks.

When you look at generic figures it looks simple – just do it all on Android and iOS. Maybe just Android. But there are regional variations, there are variations per business. There are even variations between what staff are given and what they choose to use.

What does it look like on IFS mobile? 45% Android, 38% iOS. 16% Windows 8. There’s a lot of Windows Mobile still out there in professional solutions. Many people are considering Android for ruggedised devices. Some are just deploying consumer devices. Still, they’re stepping up investment on Windows. The Mobile Work Order solution will be on Windows 8 Industrial – and they’re doing this without impacting on their other platform work. Windows 8 is useful because you can transition from the mobile experience to the full desktop when needed.

Security is a big concern

People are more comfortable with Microsoft and Apple solutions because of this. Samsung are addressing this with Knox. IFS are being their touch apps to that platform.

Needs of users are converging

Both professional and casual users are interested in connecting via the cloud, rather than through dedicated solutions. Conversely, there are some situations where the casual user needs to connected though a fixed gateway. So, we;re bring this all together into a unified product architecture. The result? Lower complexity, more freedom and easier to go mobile.

Second wave of apps

Yup, second wave coming. It’s not just IFS – they now have partners starting to build apps. Some are standardised, some are customised.

The solutions are rolling out, the results rolling in, and the investments rolling on.

VSMC Case Study

VSMC been using IFS since 2012, rolling out internationally over the year. They have 250 users. It’s not just directors monitoring things on tablets, it’s right down to project managers. You can deal with invoices in airport lounges.

They wanted user-friendly access to data wherever their staff were. They started with the Notify Me app, with the business leaders on Windows 8. Phase 2 is spreading that to all employees with an authorising role. They started with 40 authorisations a week, and now they’re at 300. 60% decrease in the time to approve a purchase order, and a 34% decrease in time to authorise an invoice. They’re working closely with Dan to get more information into the app.

The biggest struggle was with IT who disliked the cloud nature of the solution.

Dagfinn Stave, Dinerp

When he was growing up in Norway, Dagfinn went hiking in the mountains – well aware that he was two hours from rescue. Now, he can send e-mails from the top of a mountain. That’s mobility in real life – it’s the ability to have your business processes available wherever you are.

IFS is  great platform for you to grow within. 99% of the time we can find the right solution for customers within what they do. Dinerp can add to that with a prepared user interface for specific needs. Their Sharepoint solution integrates with Microsoft Lync, making it easier to collaborate inside and outside the organisation. They can bring IFS everywhere – you no longer have to chose where you use it. You can use it on any platform you want.

80% of users only use 20% of functionality. There are ready made solutions for those sorts of people, which can make these functions available with close to no training.

For example, you can’t sell cars from Excel spreadsheets any more. You need real-time stock information, and they have a solution to do that.

They want to be your preferred front end for all your back end systems.

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