Multinational enterprise software company IFS has launched a range of products to support the defence industry at its World Conference 2018, held 1-3 May in Atlanta, Georgia, US.

IFS CEO Darren Roos, who joined the company from SAP in March, announced a major upgrade to its enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite, Applications 10, which includes more than 500 new capabilities.

IFS has incorporated an artificial intelligence (AI) enabled chatbot interface called IFS Aurena that enables engineers, technicians and managers to interact with the software using natural language. It can be accessed on mobile devices using popular tools such as Skype, Facebook Messenger and voice assistants.

Other enhancements include service-centric capabilities, demand-driven manufacturing resource planning (DDMRP), enhanced manufacturing functionality and service-centric capabilities.

“We are thrilled to launch IFS Applications 10, which has been built to help customers capitalise on major trends such as automation, connected devices, and servitisation,” Roos said.

“The new core version has been developed in close collaboration with our customers and brings to market a vast amount of innovation that will ensure maximum business value from day one.”

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IFS CTO Dan Matthews added: “The new version contains more than 500 new capabilities, including a completely reimagined user experience and powerful features for service-centric organisations, all designed to help users engage with the business and connect people and processes to a modern digital backbone.

“By combining the new features of IFS Applications 10 with recent innovations like IoT [Internet of Things] and layered application architecture, we are able to offer a truly unique business solution.”

One early adopter is Portsmouth Aviation, which provides weapons integration, engineering services and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) attack protection for naval vessels. In addition, global defence and security company Saab has entered a sales agreement for Applications 10.

IFS chief technology officer Dan Matthews said: “It is a significant, milestone release, especially for customers with a growing services business, such as Saab.”

South Africa-based defence manufacturer Saab Grintek Defence rolled out a complete solution using IFS Applications to cover everything from R&D through to export control and MRO, replacing nine separate legacy systems.

Vice president and head of supply chain management Lefti Katsaitis said: “We began a study into consolidating our systems in 2014. Our system consisted of totally fragmented in-house and small vendor systems we used to create an ERP system and the data was in the hands of consultants. We were spoon-feeding our users.

“Since implementing IFS Applications our technology is now self-service through a web-based user interface, and we’re seeing annual productivity gains worth ZAR 14m.”