• January 11, 2002
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Baan Is Back with CRM

Although losing first-mover advantage in the CRM market to long-time rivals in the ERP space, including Oracle, SAP, and PeopleSoft, Baan is making a comeback with its latest strategy shift.

Baan formally introduced iBaan for CRM enterprise strategy at Frost and Sullivan's Executive Summit on CRM and PRM in Scottsdale, Ariz. this week.

Baan, a unit of Invensys Software Systems, claims iBaan for CRM offers a comprehensive application environment through cross-enterprise analytics for the aerospace and defense, automotive, industrial manufacturing, and high-tech/electronic markets.

"The bar has been raised for CRM," Leonard Chermack, president of Baan's CRM Business Unit said in a prepared statement. "With superior analytics and increased integration of front-end service applications with back-end corporate data, CRM's aim has changed from efficient customer support and service to providing solutions that can help current and prospective customers improve their profitability."

"This strategy and this announcement is the most important announcement that sets the stage for years to come," says Don Brower, vice president of product marketing and strategic alliances for Baan CRM. "Now, we are focusing on an enterprisewide solution as opposed to individual CRM and ERP projects that we've traditionally been doing. Best-of-breed is on the decline and [integration across the] enterprise is on the rise. Customers don't want to be left holding the integration luggage [that goes with best-of-breed applications]."

For Baan, analytics across the enterprise is the name of the game. The analytical capabilities within iBaan for CRM, enable companies to respond specifically to customers' needs, wants, and expectations. Additionally, because the analytical applications communicate across the enterprise, it can identify the most profitable customers, which may not necessarily be the biggest revenue generator. Conversely, your biggest revenue generator also could bleed your organization with exorbitant overhead costs. That is why iBaan for CRM helps a company understand the "cost to serve" each customer or prospect to identify the most profitable customers.

Companies also can use the analytics module to gain insight into each customer's satisfaction level by accessing information from the service and support database. From that point, a company can map its most profitable customers directly to their satisfaction levels, generating a "red flag" when the two factors deviate, Baan says. 

To help its customers achieve full integration of front-office and back-office enterprise applications, Baan is looking to complement its internal consulting services by partnering with large third-party consulting organizations worldwide. While he couldn't elaborate on specifics, Brower says, "There will be an announcement that will bring a large well-known U.S. company into our consulting and support efforts."

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