IFS, the Linkoping, Sweden, enterprise applications company with North American headquarters in Schaumburg, Ill., has announced the delivery of integrated enterprise application search (EAS). The company says that it is the first top-tier enterprise application vendor to embed this critical functionality within an enterprise resource planning (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 onto the outside of applications. According to IFS Chief Technology Officer 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 (the company’s component-based ERP software system), 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 for an enterprise application, 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, Matthews says. 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.
Some examples of search functionality might include searches for customer and supplier data, parts information, document databases, fault reports and other quality documents, and key business transaction records.