SSA mixes Baan apps, two other ERP lines

Acquisitions will boost SSA offerings

After a delay of nearly a year, SSA Global Technologies last week released a web-based upgrade of its Baan ERP applications and said it also plans to offer the software as a migration platform for users that run two of its other manufacturing application suites.

SSA said the new SSA ERP LN 6.1 software was designed to cater to all of its discrete manufacturing customers, including Baan's installed base and users of the company's ManMan/HP and MK product lines.

The LN suite is the first of two new offerings SSA is developing to converge the various ERP applications it has acquired over the past three years. Early next year, the vendor plans to add SSA ERP LX, which will be aimed at users of its BPCS, PRMS, Prism and Infinium MM/PR applications for process manufacturers.

SSA ERP LN 6.1 includes a web-based user interface and incorporates web services technologies that were developed by Baan, which became a subsidiary of SSA in July 2003.

As of last September, Baan had spent about $US100 million developing the next generation of its software, code-named Gemini, which was due for release that month. But SSA put shipments on hold because of shortcomings that included a lack of integration with Baan's CRM and logistics applications.

In addition, SSA officials wanted to consolidate similar applications into unified offerings. They eventually decided to combine Gemini and the converged discrete manufacturing software into a single release, said Cory Eaves, vice president of solutions management and research at SSA.

Eaves added that SSA is also readying migration tool kits to help Baan, ManMan/HP and MK users automate tasks during upgrades to SSA ERP LN.

SSA's convergence moves are welcome news for Marsha Williams, vice president of IT at Sorin Group, a Milan, Italy-based medical products conglomerate. "As users of BPCS, we are eagerly awaiting the convergence of the LN and LX platforms, which will truly create a best-in-class offering," Williams said via email.

The new release shows that SSA wants to be more than a graveyard for its ERP acquisitions, said John Moore, an analyst at ARC Advisory Group. Moore said the migration paths SSA is offering should breathe "new life into what were a series of increasingly moribund solutions."

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