Analysts fear Baan sell-off could jeopardise future software support

Analysts have warned that Baan's sell-off by Invensys to US equity group General Atlantic Partners will cast doubt over future...

Analysts have warned that Baan's sell-off by Invensys to US equity group General Atlantic Partners will cast doubt over future support for the well-regarded ERP software.

At the time of going to press, news reports indicated that the $85m (£52m) sale of Baan to General Atlantic was in its final stages. With General Atlantic a major investor in ERP company SSA Global Technologies, industry watchers have been speculating that the sale of Baan will see it come under the control of the software supplier.

Simon Bragg, an analyst with manufacturing IT research group ARC Consulting, said if Baan were to come under SSA Global Technologies' control, prospects for future development could be limited and the forthcoming launch of Baan's web services-based ERP product could be in doubt.

Bragg said, "The big worry is development spend and whether Gemini [a Baan product] is going to come out as planned in September. SSA's track record of development spend is not good. The company has been contract mining - contacting users and squeezing more licences out of existing implementations - rather than developing.

"If you have Baan as core software you will probably ringfence your investment. If you are a large corporate with a mixed environment including, for example, SAP and Oracle, you will almost certainly not stay with Baan."

Baan has a significant presence in the UK manufacturing sector, with customers including BAE Systems, Del Monte and Ellis & Everard. It had been hoped that the sale of Baan would go some way to answering users' uncertainty over whether their core software systems would be developed further.

After a collapse in sales around the time Invensys bought the company in 2000 for $708m (£431m), in recent months the management team have stabilised Baan and announced a number of new customer wins.

SSD Global Technologies failed to respond by the time of going to press.

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