IFS Apps 9: upgrade to Cloud or go to Apps 10 first?

Lots of IFS customers are considering the move to Cloud. For customers of Apps 9 there’s been a question over whether to move to Apps 10 first, to get used to the new look and feel of Aurena before the bigger move to Cloud.  

This was a live issue 12 months ago, when IFS Cloud was still fairly new. Now, in most cases customers of IFS Apps 9 should look to go straight to cloud. 

This blog explains the drivers to move to Cloud, the exceptions for going to Apps 10 first, and offers three tips for customers of IFS Apps 9. 

Why is this important now? 

IFS customers have been closely following the development of Cloud and considering when and how to make their move.  

For customers of Apps 9 this question came into sharp relief when Apps 9 went into Restricted Support in March 2023. 

The full suite of IFS services is no longer available for customers of Apps 9. IFS will accept cases for suspected security vulnerabilities or demonstrated bugs and diagnose accepted cases. For a fixed price IFS will merge and deliver known fixes and improvements according to the bug correction policy. Fixing new security vulnerabilities, new bugs and responding to legal changes are no longer included. However, they can be done as a time and material request as a custom object or CRIM.  

In March 2023 Apps 10 went into Extended Support. In year one of extended support costs increase by 25 per cent, in year two it’s 50 per cent, rising to 100 per cent by 2026. 

The IFS Cloud product is always in Standard Support. There are new releases every six months and it’s ‘single tenant’, meaning customers are in control of when and how they adopt the new releases. (NB. Change8 recommends customers keep up to date.) 

Many IFS customers are planning to go to Cloud in 2025 

The thinking is they’ll get there before Apps 10 goes into Restricted Support in Q1 of 2026. 

It’s a risky strategy as potentially hundreds of businesses will be competing for resource at the same time. In the UK alone IFS has 500+ customers, and there is limited pool of IFS talent with experience in Cloud. 

When IFS Cloud was released there was no upgrade path from Apps 9 to Cloud 

Two years on, the picture has changed. There are now technical upgrade paths from Apps 8 onwards to Cloud.  

Even so, it’s worth considering evaluating your options on which route to take to Cloud. The move is likely to be the last big business change. The re-implementation route is an opportunity to cleanse your data, improve processes and prepare to adopt new functionality and discard redundant CRIMs . It’ll take longer to get to Cloud, but you’ll reap the business benefits quicker when you get there.   

The technical upgrade is faster to Cloud however you’ll bring all your bad data and habits with you. You’ll still need to re-engineer processes, make technical changes, and introduce new functionality – you’ll do this post go-live instead.  

When and why it’s a good idea to upgrade from Apps 9 to Cloud 

In most cases it makes sense for IFS customers on Apps 9 to go straight to Cloud. A project to move from Apps to 10 and then to Cloud is nearly double the work with two rounds of consulting, two rounds of projects, testing, CRIM review, user training and roll out.  

IFS Cloud is a step change from IFS Apps 10. It already includes 450+ new features from Apps 10 and more are added all the time. The product is built on the latest technology stack and is 100 per cent cloud based. This means customers can access new functionality through twice yearly releases, without the need for costly upgrades.  

Early adopters of IFS Cloud are already reaping benefits in improved performance, enhanced decision-making and business agility. 

Customers of IFS Cloud describe it as a game changer 

Highlights for manufacturers include the new lobbies integrated with industry standard KPIs (key performance indicators) and the new Manufacuring Scheduling Optimisation (MSO) which leverages the powerful Planning and Scheduling Optimisation engine to perform all the scheduling in the Aurena client.  

It’s not just manufacturing. IFS Cloud delivers industry-specific solutions for Aerospace and Defense, Energy, Utilities and Resources, Construction and Engineering, Manufacturing, Service Industries and Telecommunications.  

In 2023 IFS was recognised as the Customer’s Choice for Cloud ERP by Gartner Peer Insights.  

The exceptions prove the rule 

There are only two.  

When a project is already in flight it makes sense to continue it.  

And in the rare case that your business has a requirement to not be on unsupported software, and the functionality you need is an extension that hasn’t yet been deployed to Cloud, then you will likely need to move to Apps 10 first.  

Three Tips for moving from IFS Apps 9 to Cloud 

CRIM review 

The configuration on Cloud is different to earlier versions. If you attempt to move without knowledge of your customisations it’s likely you’ll create a lot of bugs and CRIMs will stop working. 

Do a discovery exercise to find out how up to date the documentation is on CRIMs, and governance information around release control. If you skip this you are starting from a position of not having the information you’ll need to make decisions down the line.  

Change Management and Training 

Planning the change management is just as important as CRIMs. You need to understand the impact on people by mapping current business processes and determining opportunities for efficiencies and automation. Then you can engineer the ‘to be’ processes and share them with your developers.  

Training is vital as lots of the tools in Cloud have changed, and the interface on Aurena looks different to Enterprise Explorer. 

Continuous improvement 

It’s a mistake to try to take all the new functionality on Day One. It’s far more efficient and much less disruptive to prioritise for go-live and have a plan to adopt new functionality over time.

More From The Team

What is the capability shock in IFS ERP projects?

The J curve explains the capability shock of IFS ERP implementations.  It’s a useful tool for ERP leaders to understand the process and manage both the board’s expectations and wider business communications.  

Good service delivery is critical to your IFS ERP project

An enterprise resource planning (ERP) system like IFS is wide-reaching and you need a strong service delivery function to underpin it.
That means getting the right people involved early in the programme that implements the ERP.

Proper business analysis, talent management and why I’m in love with Visio

A lot of business analysis, process engineering and change management tends to fall on people within the company.