manufacturing organizations spend more than 35% of their IT budgets integrating
disparate systems such as CRM, ERP, and Supply Chain applications. Yet, the
level of integration most organizations achieve is a simple point-to-point data
exchange which may allow the sharing of customer information between front and
back office applications, or batch transfer of supply chain planning information
with an ERP System.
is painting a vision of true business to business collaboration over the Internet.
In this vision business partners are able to seamlessly share information and
collaborate on business processes to achieve new levels of responsiveness to
customers and business partners.
companies to compete effectively in the emerging business to business Internet
economy, integration across the various business domains is an absolute requirement,"
said Mary Coleman, Chairman and CEO, Baan Company. "As consumer expectations
of service and support have changed dramatically with the advent of Internet
sales - today customers expect 7 x 24 service, next day delivery and more competitive
pricing - Baan believes that the changes brought about by the Internet on B-2-B
commerce will be even more dramatic. To compete, manufacturing businesses will
need to learn to partner with suppliers and customers to deliver custom configured
solutions, while maintaining minimal inventory in reduced timeframes."
OpenWorld is an integration framework built on four tiered levels of exchange:
Level: At this first level, applications share or exchange common elements
such as customer information, part numbers, and inventory levels. This level
of integration includes data migration, replication, and data connectivity.
Level: At this second level, applications exchange data in the form of objects
at the sub-process level. This includes connectivity between applications and
certified integration interfaces for 3rd party applications.
Process Level: At this third level, organizations are able to integrate
business processes between applications using standards like XML and based on
IBM MQ Series or MSMQ messaging queues. At this level, businesses are able to
use common process modeling and workflow tools, common user interfaces and business
intelligence systems to seamlessly solve multi-functional business problems
like Available to Promise, order fulfillment, demand management, etc.
Community Level: This top-level of exchange enables true business process
collaboration within an enterprise, and across the heterogeneous enterprises
of business partners and customers. Adaptable business logic, real-time alerts,
and a publish and subscribe communications model will allow organizations to
work together, using XML standards-based Internet messaging to react quickly
to customer demands.
first three tiers of the Baan OpenWorld Integration Framework are included in
the Baan Enterprise Solutions suite. Beta customers for new products supporting
the Business Community level are planned for the first half of 2000.
Mary Coleman observes, "Businesses that don't learn to E-Collaborate will lose
a competitive edge." Baan's move into providing E-commerce solutions, like those
of SAP and PeopleSoft, represents a growing trend for ERP providers. As the
technology evolves and the giants in this otherwise moribund industry move into
price and feature competition with each other, this segment of e-commerce will
be worth watching.
you are a manufacturing organization that already has, or is considering Baan's
solution, this announcement represents value. Business-to-business E-commerce
is in the future for most corporations, and should Baan's framework successfully
evolve it will represent an attractive alternative. However, it is important
to note that the XML business to business environment remains to be defined.
Several consortia and standards organizations are pursuing XML (at the transaction
level) in an attempt to define a common methodology (See TEC News Analysis articles:
One Meets GM: Web Now Has A Really Big Parts Department" November 10th,
1999 and "Ariba
Successes Highlights Standards Wars" August 13th, 1999).
SAP's recent announcements detail an open architecture designed to connect thousands
of their customers within SAP's Market place. Baan will need to reciprocate
with additional information in order to stay competitive. Vendors working to
establish themselves in the business marketplace arena (eg: Commerce One, Concur,
Ariba) have already endorsed open XML based standards. Baan will need to maintain
an adaptable standard, publish more data on integration plans, detail possible
partners and describe rich feature sets if they hope to compete with SAP and