CEBIT: Baan pushes business intelligence wares

Baan Co. NV will push its business intelligence products to customers worldwide under a new initiative called “Measure Up” that the software maker plans to announce Wednesday at the CeBIT trade show in Hanover, Germany.

The products promoted under the Measure Up banner include iBaan Decision Manager, iBaan Decision Manager Templates and iBaan Diagnostic Analyzer. These allow a user to extract business data from Baan systems and then analyze that data to pinpoint operational problems, Peter Barnes, a product marketing director at Baan said.

Previously, Baan of Barneveld, Netherlands, did not focus on selling its business intelligence products. Only about 60, or one per cent, of Baan’s 6,000 or so customers currently use iBaan Decision Manager, according to Barnes.

With the new push, Baan hopes to capitalize on the increased need for efficiency at customers as a result of the economic slowdown, said Dave Wangler, senior vice-president for global marketing at Baan.

“Given the current economic condition, we feel that Measure Up is in line with the needs of the market. A key aspect is being able to look at return on capital employed in a manufacturing environment,” he said. Baan users are mostly manufacturers in industrial machinery and equipment, electronics, automotive, and aerospace and defense. Baan’s biggest customer is airplane maker Boeing Co.

The Baan business intelligence products are made to run on iBaan IV and iBaan V, and with some work will run on previous versions of Baan. Assistance from Baan consultants is required for installation and use, Barnes said.

“You will need technical consultants from Baan to get it up and running. After that you need a collaborative relationship with Baan to zoom in on areas of operational pain and then assess whether other Baan applications can provide relief for that pain,” Barnes said.

Starter systems cost from US$50,000, he said.

Information collected by the Baan business intelligence products can be accessed by any SQL Server compatible reporting tool or application, according to Barnes. Baan resells Crystal Decisions Inc.’s reporting and analysis tools.

IBaan Decision Manager is an ETL (extraction, transformation and loading) modeling system, the plumbing for the business intelligence system, setting the technical processes to extract data from a transactional engine to a data warehouse based on Microsoft Corp.’s SQL Server.

IBaan Decision Manager Templates are what Baan calls “packaged consultancy.” The templates cover domains including sales, manufacturing and inventory management and select what data needs to be pulled out of the system in the form of scripts and instructions.

IBaan Diagnostic Analyzer creates diagnostic models to allow managers to understand different levels of performance within the company.