News in Brief

Baan ERP for sale again; document management joint offering

Baan Back on the Block

Invensys PLC announced plans to sell off its Baan ERP subsidiary. The company indicated it will narrow its focus from two core divisions to one—production management.

According to Kelly Spang Ferguson, a principal CRM analyst with consultancy Current Analysis Inc., Invensys purchased Baan three years ago—for more than $700 million—as part of a grand strategy to provide “sensor to boardroom” solutions across an organization’s automation and controls value chain.

Needless to say, Spang Ferguson reminds us, Invensys has been unable to execute on that strategy. “It became increasingly clear over time that Invensys didn’t really know what to do with Baan, evident by organizational shuffles of Baan among the Invensys business units, as well as within Baan,” she writes, specifically citing the separate creation of Invensys CRM and the integration of Invensys CRM back into the Baan application suite.

The reality, she notes, is that Baan isn’t in bad shape—and is certainly better off now than it was in 2000, when—in the midst of “dire” financial straits—Baan was staring down the barrel of bankruptcy. “From a product perspective, Baan continued to develop solutions that would be most relevant for its manufacturing target market.” As a result, Spang Ferguson points out, much of the heavy-lifting development work on Baan’s next- generation ERP product has already been completed, and the company has announced plans to launch it later this year.

Baan is far from irrelevant: It has an installed base of approximately 6,500 customers, and it signed 159 new customers last year alone.

That being said, Spang Ferguson notes that while Baan’s next-generation ERP suite—code-named “Gemini”—is an important product for the company, “many ERP competitors already have established Web Services product strategies, which may lessen the role of technology in a purchasing decision.”

The upshot, she speculates, is that even though Baan is in a different situation now than before it was acquired by Invensys, “the fact of the matter is still that Baan can’t cut it as a stand- alone application vendor.”

But Baan’s attractiveness as a potential acquisition target could be tarnished by a perception in the marketplace that “Baan is a ‘has been’ that is still trying to hang on,” she writes. As a result, it’s possible that “the baggage with the Baan brand may be more than an acquirer could overcome.”

iManage, Interwoven Partner for Collaborative Document Management

iManage Inc. and Interwoven Inc. unveiled a joint collaborative document management (CDM) offering, Interwoven CDM Powered by iManage Worksite MP.

Representatives from both companies say that the integrated offering provides a solution that addresses the overall requirements for collaborative document lifecycle management, including sharing among teams, structured document development and approval cycles and automated and secure document publishing and dissemination.

The joint offering gives end-users the ability to create, edit, share, approve and publish content among departments across an IT organization.

Interwoven CDM Powered by iManage is available now. See http://www.interwoven.com/solutions/cdm for more information.

About the Author

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