Baan Introduces Value Apps

Baan rolls out templates for business processes and a platform to run them on.

At its 2002 Baan World Users Fall Workshop held in Los Angeles this week, enterprise resource planning software maker Baan announced a strategy and a means of delivering cross-functional applications that address a specific business process.

Baan, a division of Invensys plc, announced both its strategy for delivering Value Applications, as well as its OpenWorldX platform, which is used to deploy the Value Apps.

Baan plans to deliver templates for specific business processes – Supplier Collaboration, Configuration and Commitment, and Engineering Design Collaboration, for example – and provide OpenWorldX as the deployment platform. OpenWorldX provides a solutions tool kit layer to describe business processes and invoke the appropriate components from specific applications.

Baan officials said they are looking to release four or five pre-configured Value Apps next year, and will build from there based on customer demand. At the same time, using the OpenWorldX platform and Baans componetized applications, the idea is that customers will have the ability to develop their own Value Apps, officials said.

"My expectation is that there is going to be some component missing [for a customer to build out a specific Value App]," said Dave Wangler, senior vice president of global marketing at Baan. "The value that we bring is the platform, and weve componentized our applications, where customers can add in [functionality] and treat that as an end-to-end business process."

Baan has componentized its Supply Chain Management, Customer Relationship Management, Product Lifecycle Management and other applications.

OpenWorldX is the next generation of Baans integration and collaboration platform. It extends Baans current technologies, including OpenWorld, DEM, B2B Server, Business Intelligence Server and Enterprise Server.

The first Value Apps will be available in 2003 – shortly after the first shipment of OpenWorldX, which is expected in early 2003.

OpenWorldX is the top layer of Baans three-tiered architecture called the Real Time Enterprise Framework that manages collaboration. The two additional layers are a Production Engine for cross-enterprise and workflow capabilities, and ArchestrA, an open development platform for transforming factory asset information and developing applications for component providers.

Laurens van der Tang, Baans president, said in a press release that the company is taking the cross application approach to help customers unlock the value in their substantial legacy investments.

"We believe that the Value Apps strategy offers a new level of interoperability that will lead to new efficiencies in their operations and across their entire supply chain," said Van der Tang.

Separately, Baan announced upgrades to its Supplier Relationship Management suite with the release of iBaan Sourcing and enhancements to its iBaan E-Procurement software. With iBaan Sourcing managers can collaboratively create and distribute RFQs (requests for quotes), RFIs (requests for information) and RFDs (requests for disposal), as well as collect, optimize and analyze bids. They can also award business and create and monitor contracts. The new suite offers workflow for drafting and approving requests and contracts, and supports multi-site supply aggregation.

The Sourcing tool works with SCM and ERP systems for supply chain and production planning and execution, officials said.

Enhancements to iBaan E-Procurement, now in version 2.2, adds capabilities for warehouse requisitions, allocation of a requisition to multiple budgets, more robust approval processes, enhanced receiving and invoicing options and integration to iBaan Sourcing to initiate sourcing activities for off-catalog items.

The E-Procurement suite addresses the requisition-to-payment process for indirect materials.