January 13, 1998 12:35 PM PST

Compaq, Baan in enterprise suite

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Server powerhouse Compaq Computer (CPQ) and enterprise software maker Baan (BAAN) today debuted the North American version of their joint business applications suite.

Available at five different prices ranging from $150,000 to $650,000, the prepackaged Compaq and Baan enterprise suite targets small- and medium-sized business, offering either a Microsoft SQL Server, or an Oracle database, a Compaq ProLiant 6000 server, and Baan IV ERP (enterprise resource planning) software.

The integrated suite is the result of a deal nailed down by the companies in June, 1996, which enabled the two businesses to work globally on integration engineering, validation, and certification efforts. At mid-day today, Baan stocks were up two points from yesterday's close at 31-3/4 to 33-7/8, and Compaq's were also up two points from yesterday's close at 56 to 58 today.

The joint effort is part of larger strategy by Baan, which has formed relationships with more than two dozen systems integrators and value-added resellers throughout the United States and Europe. The channel partners, which include consultants Ernst & Young Technologies and KPMG Team, will focus on specific vertical niches and geographic market regions.

"We're moving off an architecture built in the 1980's," Baan's vice president of strategic alliances Doug Sallen said. "This Compaq move is a good first step for us."

Baan, along with most of its competitors, is moving from its previous 4GL (fourth general language) architecture to a component framework strategy that will not only ease the integration of Baan's software with other products, but also increase its performance, the company claims.

Along with Compaq Computer, Baan has also teamed with distributors of popular hardware such as Hewlett-Packard and Digital Equipment to provide another layer of service and support to potential clients in this space. The distributors have pledged to work with value-added resellers in their local areas to further streamline sales and deployment, the company said.

Baan competes against SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and JD Edwards in the global ERP systems market, providing packages used to automate and integrate corporate functions such as sales forecasting, inventory, control, procurement, manufacturing planning, distribution, finance, and project management.

Analysts see the Baan and Compaq move as good for the customer in the middle market because the cost of ownership issue is addressed by bundling and shipping the suite all in one.

But Barry Wilderman, an analyst with the Meta Group, wonders if the new suite will do the job in companies with a diversified business processes. "I think it might not work for companies with a complex distribution process, or one that uses different sites in the process. I don?t see it working as well for multinationals," he said.

He added that it then makes sense that Baan decided to kick off the bundles debut here in North America for the middle market, where there are fewer multinationals and where companies have very straight forward business needs.

But Baan officials were quick to point to expected releases of the new business suite in other global markets soon. "Look for a Western Europe version in the next quarter," Sallen said.

 

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