Baan aims at real-time collaboration

Baan unveiled a new platform and a new suite of applications Tuesday as part of its continuing efforts to support a real-time enterprise to manage collaboration between people and applications to allow companies to be more responsive to business change.

The new OpenWorldX platform is designed to allow enterprises to rapidly create and deploy business processes that span the enterprise, while the new iBaan Value Apps are focused business process solutions to eliminate information delivery latency between companies in a supply chain.

The new platform combines and extends Baan's existing integration and collaboration products -- OpenWorld, DEM, B2B Server, Business Intelligence Server, and Enterprise Server -- to allow companies to engage only specific software components designed to tackle a business problem, according to Bann officials. Examples of planned iBaan Value Apps include supplier collaboration, configuration and commitment, and engineering design collaboration.

Customers today are looking for solutions to specific problems that can be realized quickly and remain flexible to changes in their business process over time, said Laurens van der Tang, Baan president.

"These are lightweight business process-driven apps ... that coexist on top of any existing legacy system and support real-time business processes," van der Tang said.

OpenWorldX will be a key enabling technology for the company's next-generation ERP system code-named Gemini that will be zero-client and will support Web services, van der Tang added. "It's really turning the current ERP product that we have into a very open backbone in which you can easily plug and play ... using standards," he said.

In related news, Bann announced an enhanced focus on the SRM (supplier relationship management) market Tuesday with the release of enhancements to its sourcing and procurement solutions. With the Baan solutions for SRM, businesses can analyze their spend and supply base as well as product life cycle and production needs, according to company officials. In addition, they can measure supplier performance and contract compliance while tracking savings.

The announcements were all made at the 2002 Baan World Users Fall Workshop in Los Angeles.