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What does it mean to be ‘Evergreen’ and how can IFS customers benefit?

What does it mean to be ‘Evergreen’ and how can IFS customers benefit?">

‘Evergreen’ is a term we are used to hearing in relation to software, particularly around apps on smartphones, business software like Office 365, and many niche SaaS applications. The phrase describes software that’s kept fresh and up-to-date, typically with little to no customer intervention or choice, but instead through automatic updates. Ultimately, users benefit from access to new features and innovations while ensuring the latest security and quality enhancements.

For consumer-focused SaaS applications, applying the principle of evergreen is clear, but the picture is more complex for enterprise software. While the goal (keeping customer products and services up-to-date) is broadly similar, many other factors have a bearing on how and what can be done when business-critical solutions are involved. The value of evergreen needs to be balanced against the impact of change, the effort involved (changes to work routines, testing, technical work etc.) to make that change, and the risk of changing an application that’s integrated with other applications and is often mission-critical.

In relation to IFS, every customer will sit somewhere on the evergreen spectrum. Those companies who embrace the latest IFS releases and optimisation services will be at the top, “Best-in-Class” if you like. Those who choose to adopt a more selective regime will sit a little lower. And those customers running software that hasn’t been updated by one or more major releases will be at the bottom end of the scale.

How is IFS helping customers become evergreen?

Integral to updating enterprise software on a continuous basis is the ability to anticipate and properly plan for updates. This includes having predictability around when updates will appear, a clear understanding of the types of impact different updates have, early insight into what is included in an update, and making sure the entire ecosystem is ready for each one.

To overcome these issues, IFS has invested strategically to help customers become more evergreen. This is closely associated with investments in cloud infrastructure, where the drive to provide a secure and cost-effective service is symbiotic with customers’ ability to adopt a more evergreen approach. That said, the investments made for IFS evergreen are intended to benefit everyone regardless of whether they use the operating model of running a managed cloud service or not.

The IFS evergreen ethos sees IFS re-engineering the way they offer customers access to all the latest IFS updates, platforms, and optimisation services. Their goal is to remove the barriers, complexity risk, and cost that may deter certain IFS customers from operating in an ‘evergreen’ state. Historically, for certain customers, the business benefits of continuously taking the most current IFS offers were offset by the impact, effort, risk, and cost adoption the move entailed. The impact of changing an application that may control business-critical processes and the training, technical work and costs entailed could sometimes be seen as too great.

To counter this, IFS has developed many product and service-related initiatives which combine to make up their evergreen approach. These include:

New features twice-yearly, and optional feature updates - releases are now be issued twice yearly, delivering new technology and innovations. Each feature update offers a preview period, allowing for impact analysis and any potential adjustments. Feature updates are optional and can be enabled when desired. Customers do not need to take every single consecutive feature update, as each update release will remain supported for a longer period.

New monthly update services - Monthly service updates that will contain security updates and important fixes. As these will have no impact on application functionality, they are essentially automated.

IFS Cloud - Moving to the cloud offers customers the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of Evergreen operations quickly and easily. By utilising cloud computing infrastructure and a dedicated IFS cloud operations team, IFS Cloud frees customers from hosting managing, maintaining, and updating their own IFS software solution with an outcome-based service backed by SLAs.

How does all this benefit IFS customers?

 1. Increased customer control

The evergreen ethos ensures that IFS customers who want to access innovative new features can do so, while providing the option choice to preview and/or defer feature certain updates where needed.

2. Increased security, safety, and quality

Each discrete monthly security and quality update can be applied automatically and instantly, without risk of impacting application functionality or business-critical performance. This significantly reduces the risk of security vulnerabilities.

3. Reduced lifetime cost

Running the latest (or a more recent) version of IFS ensures competitive support and maintenance costs. Failing to update typically requires further customisation, increasing complexity and cost.

4. Greater solution flexibility

The ability to tailor solutions to customer needs without impacting the ability to take updates offers greater flexibility. Customers can implement the solution they need without making and then maintaining complex customisations.

5. Competitive and strategic advantage

Customers can adopt, exploit, and innovate new services quickly and easily, especially on IFS Cloud. New capabilities can be rolled out rapidly and affordably.

6. More agile and scalable infrastructure

Using IFS Cloud a business can quickly respond to deal with acquisitions, divestitures, or business/market strategy changes.

Ultimately, customers can always be on the latest version of IFS without the disruption that can often be associated with a full-scale upgrade. As a result, they will enjoy greater visibility and predictability as well as control and flexibility around how they will adopt new capabilities from IFS.

For more information on how we can help you become ‘evergreen’ please get in touch.