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Baan readies new software suite to boost sales

The business management software maker is set to announce an integrated suite of supply chain management software that the company hopes will help boost its sales numbers.

Business management software maker Baan is set to announce an integrated suite of supply chain management software that the company hopes will help get its sales back on track.

With the new offering, the struggling Dutch company has cobbled together a suite of applications that feature technology Baan acquired when it bought Caps Logistics and the Berclain Group. The suite, which will be available in October, can be used with Baan's e-commerce, manufacturing, and sales software, the company said.

Baan's roots are in making enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that automates a company's business needs, including human resources and accounting. But like rivals SAP, J.D. Edwards, and Oracle, Baan has moved to offset a downturn in ERP software sales with a focus on the supply chain market. That market, which offers software to connect buyers and suppliers, has been historically cornered by companies such as i2 Technologies and Manugistics.

Analysts have bright expectations for the supply chain management market. AMR Research expects the supply chain management market to grow 50 percent to $4.5 billion in 1999, and expand to $13.6 billion by 2002.

Baan is ready to take on these specialized rivals, the company's supply chain management general manager Katrina Roche recently told CNET News.com. The new software offering will help customers analyze and track orders, ease comparison shopping among suppliers, as well as monitor building and shipping schedules, for example.

In 1998, Baan reported losses of $315 million as license revenues dropped and costs increased. Baan chief executive Mary Coleman said at the time that Baan had achieved its goal of cutting expenses, and stressed that it would take about a year for the company to see the benefits of the cutbacks.

Pricing for Baan's new supply chain management applications range from $50,000 to $800,000 per component, the company said.