Baan Targets B2B in Its Comeback

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2001-10-15

Invensys Plc., the company that last year purchased ailing ERP software developer Baan Co., has laid out its product road map for the comeback of Baan software.

Applications and connectivity tools from the former enterprise resource planning developer are being transformed for use in business-to-business e-commerce.

Baan fell into financial straits three years ago. Now, under Invensys, which makes automation and controls software, Baan has become profitable, officials said. Its now striving hard to impact the B2B sector with its set of Web-based e-business products, including applications for procurement, supply chain management, collaboration and business intelligence.

To that end, Invensys Baan unit next month will announce solutions from the iBaan umbrella for the automotive and electronics manufacturing verticals. The iBaan suite of products includes CRM (customer relationship management), supply chain management and other e-business applications.

Within six months, the company will announce Version 3.2 of its iBaan OpenWorld integration platform that will integrate the Baan and Invensys product suites and offer integration capabilities to software from other vendors using IBMs MQ Series.

In addition, Invensys officials are in talks with middleware vendors Tibco Software Inc., Vitria Technology Inc. and Iona Technologies plc. to build adapters from Baan to outside vendors.

Within a year, the Baan unit will introduce a suite of products from its LeanWare line that enables a real-time data connection between a companys shop floor and ERP system. Invensys is also talking about adding product life cycle management functionality.

Within four years, Invensys plans to move the current enterprise-based ERP system to a network-based system.

A key to making the transformation is a strategic alliance with IBM that Invensys, of Herndon, Va., announced this month. The alliance includes joint marketing and porting of Invensys suite of Web-enabled B2B products—including iBaan series, Wonderware Factory Suite, CAPS Logistics and CRM product lines—to IBM WebSphere application server and DB2 database platforms.

Baan user David Kosinski, IS manager at manufacturer Wacker Corp., has mixed feelings about the road map.

"As an IBM/Baan customer, I really like to see their relationship strengthening," said Kosinski, in Menomonee Falls, Wis. However, he is not as excited by Invensys efforts to push Baan software deeper into e-business.

"We have already chosen to go a different route, other than using Baans e-commerce package," Kosinski said. "None of their e-commerce [offerings] run on the original Baan version that we are on, and we dont plan on upgrading in the next year or two."

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