ERP vendors turn to BackWeb

The equivalent of an office full of assistants is what BackWeb Technologies hopes to put into sales and customer service suites from SAP AG and Baan. Both enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendors recently announced that they are reselling integrated versions of BackWeb's Internet information-gathering modules.

SAP will bundle BackWeb's communication infrastructure and its Automated Marketing Encyclopedia and Market Intelligence Manager with its SAP Sales and SAP Service applications, which are due out this (northern) summer, company officials announced last week.

The BackWeb marketing modules automatically gather and send information about competitors, customers, or products, they said. For example, they can check suppliers' or competitors' prices over the Web, or deliver multipage brochures to the sales force via intranet.

Baan officials announced earlier this week that they will also integrate the marketing encyclopedia and intelligence manager, plus BackWeb's Strategic Publishing Manager, into its Knowledge Manager, part of the Baan FrontOffice suite. Strategic Publishing can push messages that don't require opening onto the desktops of sales reps, partners, and so forth, BackWeb officials said.

Prices were not available for either package.