Baan Founder Launches New Web Services Company

Jan Baan's latest venture, Cordys, takes aim at SAP with a Web services-based platform for creating composite applications.

Jan Baan, a name synonymous with one of the great ERP success stories of the 1990s, is back. And hes looking to compete with the likes of SAP AG, his former business nemesis, with a new company.

Cordys Inc. develops collaboration and integration software that enables companies to create composite application frameworks. The company launched its namesake platform earlier this week.

The founder of former high-flying ERP (enterprise resource planning) software business Baan Co., Baan himself financed this latest venture through his charitable holding company, Oikonomos Foundation, and through the sale of technology to none other than Walldorf, Germany-based SAP.

A big competitor to both SAP and Oracle Corp. in the 90s, Baan with his new company is bent on nudging SAP once again, this time with a Web services-based platform for creating composite applications.

The idea of composite applications, or xApps as defined by SAP more than two years ago, is to take existing functionality from applications based on a specific business process and integrate that into a separate, stand-alone application.

Cordys, based in Putten, the Netherlands, utilizes collaboration technology as the core of its platform to enable users to create composite application frameworks. The idea is that by using XML, the Cordys technology creates a single model, or framework, that new applications and process capabilities can be developed on and then integrated into existing systems, officials said.

The company also offers a Component Gallery, a set of basic, reusable components that can be used in the development of component applications.

Since the wrenching downfall of Baan in 1998 brought on in part by the shifting of $43 million in license revenues to a Baan distribution company—the fees were booked as sales to independent companies, according to a BusinessWeek article—Jan Baan has been quietly investing in Internet-based companies. One company, TopTier Software Inc., was acquired by SAP for $400 million three years ago. TopTiers founder and CEO, Shai Agassi, now heads SAPs huge NetWeaver development undertaking. NetWeaver is SAPs integration platform—and the framework for xApps.

At the time of the sale to SAP, Jan Baan held a 50 percent stake in the company. His share of the sale was reinvested in Cordys, according to a company spokesperson.


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