Baan Unveils Platform for the Real-Time Enterprise

OpenWorldX to provide critical support for Baan's next-generation ERP system.

At its Baan World Users Fall Workshop this week, Baan unveiled a new platform, dubbed OpenWorldX, that it says can enable the speedy creation and deployment of business process solutions at all levels of the enterprise.

OpenWorldX is complemented by several new applications, collectively called the iBaan Value Apps, that are designed to enhance business process execution by eliminating information delivery latencies between companies in a supply chain. iBaan Value Apps will eventually include Supplier Collaboration, Configuration and Commitment, and Engineering Design Collaboration.

Once an ERP high-flyer, Baan was acquired in 2000 by UK-based automation equipment manufacturer Invensys PLC. Not surprisingly, the OpenWorldX platform and iBaan Value Apps products that Baan announced on Tuesday leverage technologies from other Invensys subsidiaries.

For example, Baan says that OpenWorldX will actually function as the top tier in a three-tiered collaborative framework that it calls the Real Time Enterprise Framework (RTEF). Baan sister company Invensys Manufacturing Solutions will spearhead the development effort for RTEF's middle tier, called Production Engine, which is expected to provide real-time capabilities for cross-enterprise and workflow requirements. Another Invensys business unit, Wonderware, will develop the third tier, which Baan says will be called ArchestrA. Baan describes ArchestrA as an automation and information architecture that makes it possible for systems to interoperate in industrial environments.

In addition, Baan confirmed that OpenWorldX will provide critical support for its planned next-generation ERP product, which is expected to incorporate extensive support for Web services.

OpenWorldX is said to enhance Baan's existing OpenWorld integration framework. At the same time, it consolidates the company's other collaborative environments—including DEM, B2B Server, Business Intelligence Server and Enterprise Server—into a single offering.

OpenWorldX is expected to be available in early 2003.

New SRM Product Announcements, Updates
Also at its Baan Users Fall Workshop show, Baan announced a new supplier relationship management (SRM) product, iBaan Sourcing. A Web-enabled product that offers workflow for drafting and approving requests and contracts, iBaan Sourcing is designed to help customers make more informed purchasing decisions.

The company also introduced enhancements to its existing SRM portfolio, including a new version 2.2 release of iBaan E-Procurement, a Web-based solution that coordinates the requisition-to-payment processor for indirect materials. iBaan E-Procurement 2.2 introduces new support for warehouse requisitions, allocation of a requisition to multiple budgets, enhanced receiving and invoicing options, and integration with iBaan Sourcing.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.