Baan launches comeback with internet collaboration products

Enterprise software giant Baan hopes the launch of its new generation of internet-enabled collaboration products will strike a chord with manufacturers.

Enterprise software giant Baan hopes the launch of its new generation of internet-enabled collaboration products will strike a chord with manufacturers moving towards ‘build-to-order’ production.

The launch of the iBaan portfolio marks a bid by the Dutch firm to draw a line under the problems that almost saw it go bust, before being bought by the UK’s Invensys.The launch combines the company’s existing products with new developments aimed at meeting the increasing demand for web-based collaboration.

These include iBaan portal, which gives employees access to all relevant corporate information from a standard web browser, and iBaan Solutions, a range of e-business applications.

Laurens Van der Tang, Baan’s president, said the company’s developers had plugged away at the new products for two years, even during the financial crisis that last summer left it just days from extinction.

He admitted the circumstances were testing for employees and customers of the firm.

‘With all the noise surrounding Baan it got to the point where it was very difficult to do business,’ said Van der Tang. He blamed poor management and an over complex structure for the company’s former woes.

But he claimed that since becoming part of Invensys, Baan had become ‘a lot more lean and mean’. He pointed to its earlier than expected return to profitability as evidence that things are changing for the better.

Baan recently received a boost when Boeing simultaneously upgraded 31,000 users to the software house’s latest release, in what it claims was one of the aerospace industry’s biggest ever systems migration projects.

Van der Tang said the new iBaan products reflect the move by many manufacturers towards a build-to-order rather than a build-to-stock production model.

‘There are dramatic changes to the way you organise yourself as a manufacturing business, with more outsourcing and the need to respond quickly to customer demand,’ he said.

With manufacturers needing faster and more accurate information, and having to co-ordinate disparate outsourced functions, he believes they will look to the internet for new ways to extract value from their processes.

Van der Tang said the company’s relationship with other divisions of Invensys also makes it well placed to bring together manufacturing and e-business.www.baan.com

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