Baan Takes New Tack

At InForum, company announces PLM push, software; launches SCM unit.

Baan is pushing forward in its efforts to remake itself as a product life-cycle management software developer with the introduction of new software and services designed to build bridges between production and sales.

Last week at its InForum user conference, Baan rolled out the iBaan for PLM 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 company, a subsidiary of London-based Invensys plc., launched an SCM (supply chain management) business unit and a Global Solution Services operation.

Version 3.0 of the iBaan OpenWorld integration framework supports asynchronous communication, allowing companies to configure global implementations 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.

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.

Enterprises can look beyond Baan for help in managing product life cycles. Formation Systems Inc. this week will announce its Optiva 4.0 PLM platform. The upgrade aligns research and design with the rest of the enterprise to work with the existing supply chain, according to officials in Southboro, Mass.

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.

Optiva helps RPM Inc. manage purchasing of products by tracking ingredients in a central repository. "To optimize purchasing, I need to know if two ingredients are the same, and thats very complex," said Paul Hoogenboom, CIO at the Medina, Ohio, company.