Baan Resurrects Multi-Dimensionally Part 2: Alliances & Support

Event Summary

In its bid to return to its erstwhile short-lived glory, Baan, the resurrected global provider of collaborative enterprise business solutions and a unit of the Invensys Software Systems (ISS) division of Invensys plc, the global automation and controls group with headquarters in the UK, has lately blitzed the market with a number of announcements. The most prominent amongst these were:

  • Deliveries of vertically focused solutions for some industries
  • Deliveries of horizontal, cross-industry applications
  • Some high-profile partnerships
  • Some initiatives to shore up its large customer base

This is Part Two of a four-part Event Note concerning these announcements and their Market Impact.
Part One detailed recent product announcements.
Part Four will contain User Recommendation based on this analysis.

Alliance with IBM

The launch of iBaan for Electronics and iBaan for Automotive follows the October 5 announcement that Baan had extended its existing relationship with IBM into a global strategic alliance to deliver comprehensive e-business solutions focusing on the automotive and the electronics sectors. For the first time, IBM and Baan will integrate the entire iBaan suite of Internet-enabled solutions with IBM hardware platforms. This should enable global automotive and electronics organizations to extend their B2B value chain throughout the enterprise, collaborating online and in real-time with their customers and suppliers.

The key features of the IBM/Invensys-Baan alliance are:

  • Joint sales and marketing focused on the automotive and high-tech/electronics industry
  • Baan and IBM to provide bundled solutions to enable mid-market users to run iBaan solutions in single iSeries-based environment to offer lower TCO
  • IBM to expand its service practice around iBaan which includes solutions for ERP, CRM, SCM, supplier relationship management (SRM), PLM and MES
  • IBM to host iBaan solutions in outsourcing engagements
  • Baan to adopt IBM technologies - iBaan solutions run on existing IBM hardware platforms and will continue to be developed to integrate with new IBM technologies such as WebSphere

Currently, approximately 1,000 IBM consultants and support personnel are working with Baan products worldwide to provide integration service offerings for Baan's application suite for customers such as Mercedes-Benz U.S. Inc., Boeing, and Solectron. Baan is a premier business partner of IBM with solutions fully deployed on all IBM eServer platforms. In addition, IBM has established a global Baan service practice with Global Service Implementation Centres located in the US and Denmark, and an International Competency Center in the Netherlands.

Under the overarching IBM and Invensys agreement, the two companies will jointly market and sell a group of Invensys Internet-enabled B2B, enterprise and shop-floor products - the iBaan Suite, Wonderware Factory Suite, CAPS Logistics, and CRM product lines - all of which will be bundled with IBM's iSeries platform. These products run on a range of IBM eServers and IBM middleware such as WebSphere, DB2 UBD and MQ Series. Both companies will also work together on joint developments focused on the adoption of key IBM technologies such as WebSphere. Additional solutions and services from IBM and Invensys under the new alliance include the expansion of the IBM Global Services and IBM Global Financing offerings. Invensys Software Systems' customers can work with IBM Global Financing to finance their software and services acquisition costs.

IONA Certified for OpenWorld Network Program

Still on partnerships front, on November 28, IONA (NASDAQ: IONA), an e-Business Platform provider for Web Services Integration, announced that it has entered into an OpenWorld Network Program Alliance agreement with Baan. The OpenWorld Network Program certifies IONA Orbix E2ATM with the iBaan OpenWorld integration technology framework. The alliance agreement will enable IONA to build new, certified Baan adapters, allow IONA to license these new adapters and interfaces to its customers, and enable users of IONA's Orbix E2A Web Services Integration Platform to quickly and easily integrate with iBaan enterprise solutions.

As an OpenWorld Network Program Alliance member, IONA will be able to provide Orbix E2A customers with 'out-of-the-box' integration with current versions of iBaan ERP, supply chain management, customer relationship management and e-business solutions. IONA's provision of certified Baan adapters as part of Orbix E2A supports IONA's End 2 Anywhere Web Services Integration strategy, effectively removing substantial barriers to integration and allowing cross-enterprise business process collaboration for maximum efficiency and increased return on investment (ROI).

The iBaan OpenWorld Network Program certifies alliances against the iBaan OpenWorld technology framework. This enterprise applications integration (EAI) technology framework provides a flexible solution that transforms disparate applications into an environment for e-business and customer fulfillment, with business process controls, strategic modeling, business process re-engineering (BPR) and automatic application configuration capabilities. The iBaan OpenWorld technology framework is a key part of Baan's integrated, but open development strategy.

The announcement came on the heels of the November 8 announcement, when Baan launched iBaan OpenWorld 2.2, the new version of its universal integration framework. In iBaan OpenWorld 2.2, the main runtime tools iBaan OpenWorld Adapter, iBaan OpenWorld Broker, and iBaan OpenWorld Gateway are now all XML-compliant and an enhanced version of the iBaan OpenWorld Studio product enables users to create their own Business Object Interfaces (BOIs), and customize content and integrations. This new version will further extend support for customers wanting to integrate their Baan applications with third party solutions and legacy systems, help them reduce time-to-market for new business processes, and further speed the deployment of open, integrated B2B applications.

iBaan OpenWorld Adapter is the basis for providing connectivity between two applications and Version 2.2 allows users to extract more detailed knowledge. iBaan OpenWorld Broker can help customers view and use their multicomponent information system as a smoother, integrated whole and provides improved integration with other OpenWorld tools. iBaan OpenWorld Gateway provides easier access to loosely coupled applications and in this new version, error handling is now fully separated from the other documents produced, further speeding its deployment. With the launch of iBaan OpenWorld 2.2, Baan is also rolling-out its above-mentioned OpenWorld Network Program, which will make the cross selling of integration architectures available to a virtual community of alliances.

Migration Support

On October 19, Baan announced a new migration program that will support existing Baan users as they upgrade to the next generation iBaan suite of Internet-enabled solutions. The Concerto! program includes the availability of a new range of conversion software, the introduction of user incentive schemes, strategic product roadmaps and comprehensive consultancy services. This strategy is aimed at enabling existing customers to protect their investment in Baan technology and at helping provide a smooth migration path to help Baan users take advantage of the full functionality of iBaan solutions.

The new Concerto! program will allow Baan's installed customer base to migrate their existing systems in single step upgrades to the latest iBaan environments. The company has already set up a dedicated Migration Competency Centre to provide a data conversion service tailored to the customer's specific needs. Boeing Commercial Airplane Group the world's largest producer of commercial jetliners has reportedly successfully upgraded to the latest iBaan release across 21 parts plants in the US in a major upgrade project that included the migration of about 500 gigabytes of airplane production data.

This concludes Part Two of a four-part note on Baan's recent announcements.
Part One detailed recent product announcements.
Parts Three and Four will discuss the market impact and make user recommendations.

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