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Baan Re-Invensysed

The Baan Company has re-emerged from the shadow of Invensys, promising software coverage from PLC to supply-chain. Their target market: manufacturers that want to make to order-typically the manufacturers of complex products. The company is much smaller, has rid itself of the conflict that beset it internally, and was profitable in Q4.

Are they a serious contender? There is no reason why they can't move into a manufacturing space that is poorly served right now by most of the major contenders. The 5-day car is still a dream, and outside of Cisco and parts of Dell, the virtual company is still more fantasy than reality. Baan can make a case for themselves for companies that are still looking to transform.

To be taken seriously, though, they will have to make development more reliable, and they will have to learn how to lean on their partners-most notably Invensys (their parent), IBM Global Services (a still loyal implementation partner), and customers like Flextronics. They will also have to learn how to sell.

Next step for Baan. Pretty simple. They have to solidify their standing by continuing to sell into their installed base.

Ultimately: They have to become a thought leader in make-to-order-a tough thing to do.

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