SAP vs. IFS: ERP Comparison

William Elcock

Updated · Feb 05, 2021

The benefits gained from ERP software include the ability to manage activities like procurement, risk management, and supply chain operations more efficiently and effectively. Without the assistance of an ERP system, it’s difficult to keep track of products and resources, especially in today’s fast-paced business world.

ERP Benefits

ERP merges all of the data relevant to business activities. This allows for data to be managed from a centralized database, which makes for better planning and visibility. Some common ERP features are:

  • Organization-wide integration of data
  • Real-time view of operational data
  • Centralized database
  • Consistent user experience

These benefits can help many companies, but ERP software generally isn’t well-suited for the smaller companies out there. Here we’ll be examining two major ERP software players, SAP and IFS, to see what they have to offer and how they stack up against each other.

SAP vs. IFS: Key Features

SAP ERP Software

SAP gives users a breadth of options for managing their business operations, including advanced features such as machine learning to automate and streamline business processes. It also gives its users access to real-time insights and features for supply chain management and project management. SAP’s main ERP offering, SAP S/4HANA, is geared towards large businesses, but some larger medium-sized businesses may find it useful as well. SAP’s ERP software is suitable for a number of industries, such as:

  • Complex manufacturing
  • Financial services
  • Distribution

Key Features

  • SAP has solutions for both medium-sized (SAP Business One) and larger (SAP/4HANA) businesses
  • Financial planning and analysis: Real-time data is displayed that helps to assess customer credit risk, streamline billing, and resolve disputes. Collections is prioritized to reduce days sales outstanding as well.
  • Automate processes: This includes processes such as those for real estate (maintenance, inspecting) and contracting processes
  • Integrated risk and compliance management: You can manage enterprise risk and compliance.

IFS ERP Software

Customers outside of Europe may not be familiar with IFS. However, they are slowly extending their reach to markets outside of Europe, including North America. The IFS ERP solution is well-suited for medium-sized businesses. It offers functionality such as supply chain management, expense management, and maintenance planning. It is suitable for industries such as:

  • Construction
  • Utility companies
  • Manufacturing

Key Features

  • Document management: Documents can be accessed using a preferred platform. This may mean Microsoft Word or even a web browser.
  • Manufacturing management: Provides visibility of your entire production process.
  • Strong project management tools: Allows for the management of all stages of a project’s life.
  • Includes tools that ensure businesses comply with industry/governmental regulations.

SAP vs IFS ERP: End User Experience

While SAP offers several fancy-looking dashboards with attractive visuals, this isn’t found in IFS. This isn’t to say that IFS won’t present you with the business analytics that you need. They just aren’t presented as well in IFS, even though the underlying infrastructure that generates this type of data in IFS is quite good.

SAP vs IFS ERP: Organization Size

SAP is well suited for larger organizations, including multinational ones in industries such as complex manufacturing, financial services, and procurement. The sheer number of features offered is better suited for businesses with a large number of different departments that need this.

IFS on the other hand is better for medium-sized businesses. It doesn’t offer as much functionality as SAP and is better suited for companies involved in industrial manufacturing, construction, and utilities. In general, IFS offers functionality that is well-suited to companies with field service agents.

SAP vs IFS: Industry Suitability

One of the biggest things that sets these two providers apart is their industry suitability, so we will spend some time below discussing this. This often tends to be the deciding factor for many businesses. If IFS works for you, it will be a big hit with your organization. However, if it isn’t suitable for your business, the trend is that a business will pass and opt for a higher-end solution such as SAP.


IFS offers functionality that is well-suited for all types of construction companies. These include companies involved in infrastructural, commercial, and residential construction. The reason that it is so good in this area is that it has strong project management features. These project management features allow for the management of all stages of a project’s lifecycle, from the tendering stage to the installation and commissioning stage.

IFS is also well known for its use by utility companies. It offers features such as contract management, engineering, and document management that work well for this industry. IFS is generally great for businesses that employ a partially mobile workforce. This includes field service technicians, as is common in the utility industry. Features such as rostering capabilities, automatic resource planning, and shift scheduling help make it good for this application.


SAP on the other hand is better suited for large, complex manufacturing, and financial services applications. For complex manufacturing applications, this is done through features that allow for optimizing production scheduling, even in a global production environment. This ensures that even the most complex processes are done efficiently. In general, SAP allows such complex processes to be managed with comprehensive planning tools. Users are able to account for finite resources and consider useful financial information that may highlight possible limitations, such as bills of materials.

When it comes to financial services, SAP shines since it allows for organizations to run on-the-fly financial analyses and create simulations that see how organizational changes may affect a business. Cash flow analyses and business planning are also integrated and comprehensive central bank account management is offered.

Final Thoughts

IFS shines when it comes to mid-sized businesses. It’s better suited for organizations involved in industrial manufacturing, utilities, and in general businesses that employ field service technicians or have a partially mobile workforce.

SAP on the other hand is better suited for larger organizations, including multinational ones. These may include businesses involved in complex manufacturing, or financial services companies. While SAP may work for a medium-sized business, you have to consider that due to the complexity involved, it will take longer and cost more to deploy.

In the final analysis, whether you go with SAP or IFS largely will come down to the size of your business and the industry it operates in.

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