• August 23, 2002
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

iBaan Continues Momentum

Not surprisingly, very few application vendors are bragging about their CRM customer engagement successes these days. However, while many are reluctant to trumpet paltry enterprise software sales figures, Baan is tooting its horn, securing 105 new business agreements in North America and 50 in Latin America for its iBaan suite of Internet-enabled solutions for the first half of 2002. "I don't think a lot of companies in CRM or any other IT area are setting any records for new accounts. But even when they were, 105 new engagements [can be] considered pretty good," says Sharon Ward, vice president of enterprise applications at Hurwitz Group, based in Framingham, Mass. Ward, who closely watches Baan, is not certain of Baan's customer win/loss ration, but says Baan has a "fairly high win ratio, because ... Baan sticks to what it knows and tries not to be all things to all people." While Baan representatives did not reveal the comparable engagements for the year before, Ward says the first half of this year closely mirrors its one-year ago performance, a time when Baan was coming off a losing streak and returning to profitability. In fact, since Invensys acquired the then-flagging ERP vendor, Baan has consistently grown the company's revenue quarter over quarter. Executives at the now more healthy enterprise software company say the growth comes as a result of getting back in touch with customers. Susan Heystee, president of Baan Americas, says after Invensys acquired Baan, the combined company zeroed-in with a new focus. "We needed to go out and talk to customers to find out where we needed to improve our support. The result of that is our customer satisfaction rating is at an all time high of 88 percent with mission-critical systems. That's up 40 percent from one year prior," says Heystee. "As a result, we didn't do a lot of public relations. We needed to get our house in order. We worked on a number of new releases and focused on building the business back." Baan's renewed focus on the customer paid off sooner than expected. "Baan returned to profitability six months ahead of schedule after its acquisition by Invensys in August 2000," said Leo Quinn, chief operating officer, Invensys Production Management Division. Among new and existing North American customers signing agreements during the period were: Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc. (A&P), Flexible Steel Lacing Company, International Truck and Engine, Roberson Transportation Inc., Werner Company, Actiontec Electronics, Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc., Advanced Fiber, Dalsa, StonCore, APL Limited, Kmart Corp, Corporate Express, and Vector. Baan says more than 25 agreements were in the supply chain management area. David Myron also writes for Line56.com
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