Baan Revamps ERP for E-Business

The time of monolithic enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems is over, and enterprise application vendors are now scrambling to open up their proprietary systems and equip them for the age of e-business. Darrell Sprewell, director of strategic alliances with Baan, says that his company has shifted its focus to address e-business requirements in the Internet age.

"We are an enterprise company versus an ERP company. And when you tie that to the Web with Baan Enterprise Solutions Suite, we are talking more business-to-business today, with even the potential for providing Web-hosted products like supply chain management and front office applications," Sprewell explains.

The Baan Enterprise Solutions suite is composed of several components, including version 5.0c of the company’s flagship BaanERP, which Sprewell says has been redesigned to help streamline back office business processes. Other components in the Baan Enterprise Solutions suite include Baan E-Enterprise, a solution for electronic procurement, collaboration and selling; BaanSCS Planner 2.0 and Order Promising 2.0, a solution that assists organizations with operational planning and supply chain management; and BaanSCS Scheduler 6.3 and Demand Planner 2.5.9, a supply chain optimization solution. According to Baan’s Sprewell, the Baan Enterprise Solutions suite comprises a collection of applications that are closely integrated on several levels. This integration is provided by virtue of a new Extensible Markup Language (XML) framework — dubbed the Baan OpenWorld Integration Framework — that serves as a schematic "glue" among disparate business processes.

Because its XML schema lets it interface with XML schemas from any number of other systems, platforms and applications, the Baan OpenWorld Integration Framework facilitates interoperability between heterogeneous transaction processing, order-entry and other back-end mission-critical systems.

"You’ve got a number of applications and functions that are going to bog the system down, and where HP systems come into play and the reason that we’ve done so well with them is because of their high performance and high optimization," Sprewell explains. "Our developers can see it and most importantly our customers can see it."

Dr. Katherine Jones, a senior market analyst with consultancy Aberdeen Group ( ), says that its new Enterprise Solutions suite gives Baan a highly competitive entry in the burgeoning e-business space. "With Baan Enterprise Solutions, Baan has delivered on its promise of integrated solutions for the extended enterprise," Jones observes.

"With the breadth and maturity of the applications, and the comprehensive integration framework provided by Baan OpenWorld, Baan leads the way in delivering complete e-enabled solutions for front and back office fulfillment."

The Baan Enterprise Solutions suite is supported on versions 11.x and higher of HP-UX.

— Stephen Swoyer, Contributing Author