Baan, with U.S. headquarters in Reston, Virginia, announced today from its European user group conference in The Hague, Netherlands, strategic partnerships with Microsoft and IBM, new products, and multilanguage versions of its software.
Baan and Microsoft are teaming up to offer mutual clients a single license at a fixed rate for Baan's software system running on the Microsoft platform.
Called the Baan Enterprise Software Agreement, users can pay for a single license that will get them Baan's suite of back office and front office applications, Microsoft's Exchange Server messaging system, SQL Server database, and Site Server Commerce Edition for Windows NT.
The licensing agreement gives both companies a huge boost in their respective strategies to gain market share in the ERP space.
Baan gains Microsoft's vast network of resellers, an important piece of Baan's strategy to bolster its place in the market by creating a huge global network of resellers. It is also a cornerstone of Baan's push to gain a large chunk of the middle market space, companies with annual revenue of less than $1 billion. The Microsoft platform is a popular software infrastructure for smaller companies because it is relatively cheap.
For Microsoft, the deal goes to the heart of its strategy to be the plumbing underneath ERP systems. Microsoft was rumored to be in the market to buy an ERP software vendor, with Baan topping the rumor list. But analysts contend Microsoft is laying a foundation to be more the provider of infrastructure than the ERP software supplier. This licensing agreement is in line with that strategy.
The software license will start at $99 per desktop per month over three years for customers buying licenses for over 5,000 users. The price includes the products, upgrades, maintenance, and support.
Knowing that Microsoft is not the only game in town, Baan is also closely aligning itself with IBM. Baan announced today that it has ported its BaanERP software system to IBM's AS/400 and IBM's S/390 server systems. IBM, later this month, is to announce Baan products have been ported to the DB2 database as well. IBM is also launching a service and support program for Baan products running on IBM platforms of the AS/400, S/390, RS6000 for Unix, and IBM's NetFinity for Microsoft's Windows NT.
IBM is creating three Baan Implementation Centers to help speed customer implementations of Baan products on IBM hardware. IBM's plan is to preconfigure Baan software to specific industries and preload it onto servers. IBM will then customize the software from that point to a customer's wishes.
"ERP is not a product but a set of processes designed to unlock potential through strategic enablement by an experienced team of technology providers based on a balance of industry, technical, and domain expertise," said Greg Corgan, general manager of IBM's Global ERP program.
The program is to begin early next year.
In other news from the conference, Baan announced a Web-based training program, nine new language versions of its front office software, and the launch of a beta version of Baan Enterprise Decision Manager software system. Baan also unveiled the Euro Scan, a software system that scans a company's existing software systems to test its readiness for the European conversion to a single currency next year.