Users face uncertainty future with Baan

Following Baan's sell-off of its Coda financial application family, users were warned last week that more products are likely to...

Following Baan's sell-off of its Coda financial application family, users were warned last week that more products are likely to go, writes Cliff Saran.

Baan has been forced to sell some of its product portfolio just to stay in business. Duncan Chapple from analyst group Ovum predicts that the next package to go is likely to be Baan's Aurum customer relationship and salesforce automation packaged application.

The risk for users, Ovum warns, is that as Baan sells more and more of its applications users will have to deal with several suppliers rather than just one. "Users used to be able to cut a good deal with Baan by agreeing to purchase a number of applications and getting one of the packaged applications for free," says Chapple. Working with several suppliers would make software purchases more expensive.

Through the $50m (£31.25m) sale of the Coda financial application, which is due to be completed this month, Baan looks set to remain listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange. Its future as a publicly listed company could be set following a meeting with the Amsterdam stock exchange on 14 March.

At CeBIT, the company's interim chief executive officer Pierre Everaert accepted the possibility of the company being taken over. But Everaert says he is confident he can turn the company around in two to three months.

Sheila Gibson, vice-president for marketing at Baan says, "Our plan is to turn the company around and remain independent."

Gibson says the company's strategy is not to sell any more products, and Coda, which was sold last month, was always positioned as a best-of-breed product. The core Baan products are end-to-end enterprise software.

However, the trouble at Baan does not appear to have swayed one of the company's biggest customers - the aerospace giant Boeing. A spokeswoman for Boeing says, "We are continuing to use the Baan ERP system in 19 parts fabrication plants."

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