Baan looks to make a fresh start

Business software vendor Baan has announcing a rebranded and upgraded release of its customer relationship management (CRM)...

Business software vendor Baan has announcing a rebranded and upgraded release of its customer relationship management (CRM) software, to be marketed as part of an integrated suite of Web-enabled enterprise applications

Netherlands-based Baan said iBaan for CRM would let departments within a company share customer data. The roll-out adds new data analysis and product configuration tools, and formally reverses a 13-month-old plan under which parent company Invensys shifted the CRM line from Baan to a new unit in the US.

Analysts said the reorganisation and the addition of Web support to iBaan for CRM could help the company compensate for sales opportunities that it lost because of muddled marketing and its CRM software's inability to integrate with its company's other products.

The product line stalled after it was split off from Baan, said Kelly Spang, an analyst at Current Analysis. Moreover, she said, London-based Invensys initially did not give the CRM operation enough resources or manpower.

"It might have cost Baan a year in the CRM market," Spang said.

Sharon Ward, an analyst at Hurwitz Group, said Baan has had trouble linking its CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications ever since it bought CRM vendor Aurum Software in 1997. But with the addition of iBaan for CRM, she said, Baan is now promising a fully integrated set of Web-enabled software.

"I don't expect [iBaan for CRM] to be competitive as a standalone product, at least at first," said Ward. "It will keep some customers who want an integrated solution from defecting [to rival vendors]."

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