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Jan Baan: Calvinistic man with attitude

Tells the world about ERP, corrals IDC

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The Baan Company is a company with attitude, and Jan Baan, the Calvinistic founder and Chairman, offered his view of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to the IDC European IT Forum in Paris. Of the several hundred ERP players, Baan saw only a few surviving. Baan's philosophy towards enterprise software differed from that of his major competitors -- most particularly in avoiding big updates. Baan believed in making it possible to link "the customer of the customer to the supplier of the supplier". Baan said that the next big developments for Baan were to improve sales, and to deal with knowledge structures. He advocated a multi-vendor approach to supplying the components, but when he said: "I do not believe that one monopolist can control the world -- no-one likes that" there seemed to be a contradiction with Baan's declared policy of having a such a close relationship with Microsoft. Perhaps fortunately for Baan, Bill Gates had said the previous day that Microsoft did not intend to enter the enterprise resource planning market. The componentised approach for business processes used by Baan allows users to update a component at a convenient moment. Baan envisaged components being supplied by different players, in two to three years' time. ®

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