Baan is pushing forward in its efforts to remake itself as a product lifecycle management software developer with the introduction of new software and services designed to build bridges between production and sales.
Today at its inForum 2002 user conference in Rome, Baan rolled out the iBaan for PLM (product lifecycle management) suite, the next version of its iBaan OpenWorld integration platform and a new OpenWorld Platform Connector to enterprise applications from SAP AG.
In addition, the Dutch company, a subsidiary of Invensys plc, launched a new SCM (supply chain management) business unit and a new Global Solution Services operation.
Version 3.0 of the iBaan OpenWorld integration framework offers support of asynchronous communication, allowing companies to configure global implementations of OpenWorld 3.0 from one location. It also adds support for peer-to-peer functionality, local transformation and publish-and-subscribe functionalities.
The platform supports the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration framework and the RosettaNet Implementation Framework for e-business integration. iBaan OpenWorld is built around the XML framework, according to officials.
The new business unit combines Baans SCM and logistics software with services for customers implementing SCM modules.
iBaan for PLM, due in June, includes analytics and role-based reporting that lets users view and interact with product designs. It also provides a collaborative, scenario-driven environment that allows users to view, comment on and change product metadata.
Meanwhile, enterprise seeking to look beyond Baan for help in managing product lifecycles can turn to Formation Systems Inc. The Southborough, Mass., company next week will announce its Optiva 4.0 PLM platform. The upgrade, due next quarter, aligns the research and design functions with the rest of the enterprise to work with the existing supply chain, according to officials.
Users across sales, engineering, product management, procurement and other departments are able to access Optiva 4.0, which serves as a repository for formulas and related product information.
The Optiva Idea Lab provides a centralized database, along with applications to capture, evaluate, approve and convert theories into working projects. Optiva Samples lest sales reps match customer requests with existing products, while query tools enable the sales team to submit requests and receive product specifications that match customer requests.
At the other end of the product lifecycle, Optiva Stage Gate and Testing are two apps that continually evaluate project potential and ensure the accuracy of the testing process.
Separately, at its CUE (Conference and User Exchange) 2002 event in San Antonio, Texas, next week, Lawson Software Inc., of St. Paul, Minn., will introduce its new Services Automation Suite that boasts 10 modules to help customers source, negotiate, track, bill for and analyze professional services.
In beta now and available in May, Lawson Portal 3.0 will also be unveiled at the conference. New features to the portal include active notification and the ability to imbed knowledge data basis. All Lawsons software runs inside of 3.0.
Currently, about 1,900 of Lawsons 2,100 customers run on its 7X ERP package. A new Upgrade While Active program to be unveiled at CUE is expected to entice the bulk of Lawsons customers to upgrade to 8x, officials said.