Baan wins £5m DARA deal

Mike Simons

The Government's Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA) has lifted some of the gloom for Baan users by placing a £5m order...

Mike Simons

The Government's Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA) has lifted some of the gloom for Baan users by placing a £5m order for a complete Baan enterprise solution.

The deal is Baan's first major new contract since the ailing Dutch software house was acquired by UK-based automation and control systems company Invensys.

The company will supply its ERP, Supply Chain Solutions, Frontoffice, E-enterprise and Dynamic Enterprise Management products, in a system that will cater for 3,000 users.

This is intended to provide a complete enterprise management and e-fulfilment solution, which will let DARA streamline business processes and improve supply chain management, giving it a company-wide view of production, sales and supply chains across the organisation's many divisions and sites.

DARA was formed in April 1999 following the merger of the Naval Aircraft Repair Organisation and the RAF's Maintenance Group Defence Agency. It is the largest government-owned facility of its kind in Europe.

"We chose the Baan package after a 15-month evaluation," said Andy Hamilton, corporate development director at DARA.

However, 15 months ago Dutch airline KLM scrapped a multi-million pound deal with the software supplier after it failed to deliver the first phase of a new system for its maintenance division on time.

The KLM decision helped precipitate Baan's spectacular collapse, which culminated in its takeover by Invensys, last month.

Industry analysts questioned whether the cash-strapped software supplier would have had the staff and resources to develop its aircraft systems in the period since the KLM decision.

Invensys used the DARA contract to try and reassure other users that Baan was slowly on the mend.

"Baan won't bounce back overnight. It will take six to nine months," said Allen Yurko, chief executive of Invensys.

Gartner Group's research director Nigel Wood, however, recommended caution. "Baan has for a long time been devoid of the good news stories that potential customers need to hear."

Yurko said Invensys expected to invest £280m in the next few months in Baan.

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