Baan Relaunches CRM Effort, Plans Linux Push

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Baan this week will unveil a refurbished CRM effort geared to capitalize on the company's existing ERP strengths in enterprise accounts.

iBaan for CRM will feature "cross-enterprise" analytics to help customers really evaluate their business, said Don Brower, vice president of product marketing and strategic alliances for Baan.

"Our view is you can't improve what you can't measure, and you can't measure what you can't see. Our analytics access information stored in a number of databases across the enterprise," he said.

In Baan's view, CRM is just a piece of the entire ERP, supply chain continuum of enterprise applications. "You need one solution set for that strategy," Brower said.

In addition, the company plans to announce Linux versions of its applications within the next few weeks. Baan currently supports Unix, OS/400 and Windows NT on the server. "We will have a very, very big initiative for Linux and Linux support by the end of this quarter," Brower said.

Baan was purchased last year after widely reported financial travails by Invensys Software Systems. Brower said Baan, with Invensys' backing, is fully prepared to compete in the bruising CRM market. "Since Invensys bought Baan, Baan has been restructured, consolidated departments and reached a point where for the last five quarters we've been profitable and beat an internal timetable for profitability by two quarters," he noted.

Some analysts said Baan may now be in a position to compete with such powers as Peoplesoft and Siebel in CRM. "They have a full lineup, actually more than Siebel," said Kelly Spang, analyst with Current Analysis. "Baan had some pieces and Invensys had sales and marketing pieces. They're bringing it all together," she noted.

Because successful CRM depends on a complete view of customer and vendor activity, as well as inventory and pipelines, companies with backgrounds in ERP and supply chain could have an advantage, observers said.

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