Baan gives CRM a new spin with back-office links

Baan has announced a strategy aimed at putting a new spin on customer relationship management (CRM).

Baan has announced a strategy aimed at putting a new spin on customer relationship management (CRM).

With enterprise-wide CRM analytics, the company aims to link the traditional customer-facing focus of CRM with the ERP and supply chain systems of the back office. It also plans to announce Linux versions of its applications in the next few weeks to add to current support for Unix, OS/400 and Windows NT.

The core of Baan's CRM strategy is a set of analytics and reporting tools that link front-end CRM modules with back-office applications such as supply chain management to give an end-to-end picture of the product/customer lifecycle. To this end, Baan has developed a raft of performance indicators for its key market segments - aerospace and defence, automotive, electronics and industrial machinery.

To help implement end-to-end set-ups, Baan has launched a modelling engine, called the I-Baan E-Configuration Enterprise Solution, which is designed to collate information from the right parts of the production and sales processes to give a full vertical breakdown.

Don Brower, vice-president for product marketing and strategic alliances at Baan, said, "This is the first of a series of three announcements, with supply chain and product lifecycle management to follow.

"It is a solutions set that brings together our sector-specific key performance indicators and our Decision Manager tool. This uses meta data to interrogate databases which can then be compiled using any reporting tools, so allowing a business to figure out the cost of manufacturing a product for a particular customer, for example."

Analyst Simon Bragg of ARC said, "The announcements demonstrate that Baan's position as ERP's Norwegian Blue [dead parrot] is inaccurate. It has dramatically scaled back its ambitions and has been much quieter in recent months since its sensible focus on four key verticals, and its large customer base."

On Linux, Bragg said, "SAP has had some success on Linux and, with partner IBM's commitment, Linux is becoming credible. It might be useful for some manufacturers who just happen to have in-house Linux skills, but it is not an option to automatically recommend."

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