Of the several hundred enterprise resource planning (ERP) players, only a few will survive, according to Jan Baan, chairman of the Baan Company.
It will be a replay of the demise of US automobile manufacturers, he suggested, where the number dropped from thousands to just three.
At Chrysler only the chassis and some 25 per cent of components are produced by the company. Baan explained that control is assured at the pinch point: the chassis production.
He advocated a multivendor approach to supplying the components: "I do not believe that one monopolist can control the world. No one likes that," he said.
Baan believes it is possible to link, "the customer of the customer to the supplier of the supplier."
The next two big developments for Baan were to improve sales, and to deal with knowledge structures. His philosophy towards enterprise software differed from that of his major competitors.
Baan saw the era of management by spreadsheet coming to an end, coupled with a move towards management by constraints in the supply chain. It is claimed that SAP's development costs are three times those of Baan.
Another major competitor is Peoplesoft, which although it is represented in major cities in Europe, some 85 per cent of its revenue originates in the US. In Baan's case, the ratio of US to European sales is 45 per cent to 43 per cent, suggesting that Baan is a more mature company.
Baan?s software is based on components which are supplied by different players. Sheila Graham, Baan's vice president of Emea marketing, told ?VNU Newswire' that she expected this to happen in two to three years. Graham saw a romantic parallel between 16th century Dutch traders and the global nuture of Baan's marketing.
There is a move away from big-bang installations, Graham said. Updates can now be added at the user?s convenience thanks to components.
The company as working through specialist resellers, and is avoiding having a large number of less-qualified resellers.
Asked about any cultural barriers in its US marketing, Graham said she believed a change is occurring in the US towards softer values and simplification, and that this was an advantage to Baan because of the closeness of its corporate culture.
Graham said she expected to see a plateau in the highend ERP market within three years, and that the present opportunity was mostly in the mid-market.
She defined the bottom of that market as organisations that have fewer than 150 to 500 employees, with revenue of $75 million to $270 million.
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