Baan's shopping spree continues

The enterprise resource planning vendor buys yet another firm, the latest in a string of acquisitions meant to bolster Baan's product offering.

2 min read
Somebody call shoppers anonymous. Baan is at it again.

The enterprise resource planning vendor this morning bought yet another company, the latest in a string of acquisitions the past year meant to bolster Baan's product offering. This time, Baan adds logistic planning and scheduling optimization software maker Caps Logistics to its portfolio.

Financial details were not released other than the acquisition is a stock swap and being accounted for as a pooling of interest. Atlanta-based Caps is to operate as a subsidiary of Reston, Virginia-based Baan.

Caps makes software for supply chain network design, transportation planning, and route planning and scheduling. It is a key element in corporate drives to get products to market quickly to beat out competitors.

"Our market is consolidating very quickly and in the near future the market winners will be those large single-suite vendors who have a critical mass in all four categories: research and development, sales and marketing infrastructure, support, and consulting alliances," said Don Ratliff, president and chief executive of Caps. "By leveraging the Baan Company's capabilities in all those areas, we will be able to accelerate our new product introductions."

Baan has adopted a buy-instead-of-build policy to supplement its software. In July, it bought British automotive supply chain consulting firm Compact 3000. Earlier this year, Baan purchased British financial software maker the Coda Group and last year it added sales force automation software company Aurum to its lineup. Other companies Bann brought into its fold the past few years include planning software maker Berclain and pricing configuration software vendor Antalys.

While the buying binge may help Baan leapfrog its competitors in offering customers functionality beyond traditional enterprise resource planning offerings, it could also cause Baan to stumble over its own feet. The vendor has had a long-running problem in integrating the various applications it has acquired in recent years. For the time being, it is relying on application programming interfaces for much of the integration, a relatively weak bind between the applications.

What also isn't clear yet is if Caps will maintain its strong ties to Baan's competitors. PeopleSoft formed an alliance with Caps in April for Caps to provide logistics planning functionality for PeopleSoft's supply chain management system. Caps products have also been certified as complimentary offerings for SAP's R/3 systems.

While the R/3 relationship will likely stay intact since it is merely a certification, the PeopleSoft alliance will probably end. The enterprise resource planning vendors have a history of severing ties with smaller companies that suddenly find themselves subsidiaries of other enterprise resource planning vendors. When PeopleSoft bought Red Pepper Software several years ago, the other vendors quietly ended their reliance on Red Pepper's planning and optimization engine.

And most of Baan's competitors turned to other alternatives for front office products when Baan bought No. 3 player Aurum software last year.