Tuesday, June 1, 2010

BAAN Announces "Open World": Business-To-Business Collaboration Over The Internet

Today, manufacturing organizations spend more than 35% of their IT budgets integrating disparate systems such as CRM, ERP, and Supply Chain applications. Yet, the level of integration most organizations achieve is a simple point-to-point data exchange which may allow the sharing of customer information between front and back office applications, or batch transfer of supply chain planning information with an ERP System.

Baan is painting a vision of true business to business collaboration over the Internet. In this vision business partners are able to seamlessly share information and collaborate on business processes to achieve new levels of responsiveness to customers and business partners.

"For companies to compete effectively in the emerging business to business Internet economy, integration across the various business domains is an absolute requirement," said Mary Coleman, Chairman and CEO, Baan Company. "As consumer expectations of service and support have changed dramatically with the advent of Internet sales - today customers expect 7 x 24 service, next day delivery and more competitive pricing - Baan believes that the changes brought about by the Internet on B-2-B commerce will be even more dramatic. To compete, manufacturing businesses will need to learn to partner with suppliers and customers to deliver custom configured solutions, while maintaining minimal inventory in reduced timeframes."

Baan OpenWorld is an integration framework built on four tiered levels of exchange:

Data Level: At this first level, applications share or exchange common elements such as customer information, part numbers, and inventory levels. This level of integration includes data migration, replication, and data connectivity.

Application Level: At this second level, applications exchange data in the form of objects at the sub-process level. This includes connectivity between applications and certified integration interfaces for 3rd party applications.

Business Process Level: At this third level, organizations are able to integrate business processes between applications using standards like XML and based on IBM MQ Series or MSMQ messaging queues. At this level, businesses are able to use common process modeling and workflow tools, common user interfaces and business intelligence systems to seamlessly solve multi-functional business problems like Available to Promise, order fulfillment, demand management, etc.

Business Community Level: This top-level of exchange enables true business process collaboration within an enterprise, and across the heterogeneous enterprises of business partners and customers. Adaptable business logic, real-time alerts, and a publish and subscribe communications model will allow organizations to work together, using XML standards-based Internet messaging to react quickly to customer demands.

The first three tiers of the Baan OpenWorld Integration Framework are included in the Baan Enterprise Solutions suite. Beta customers for new products supporting the Business Community level are planned for the first half of 2000.

Accelerating (and Fast-Starting) the SME Business at Oracle (and SAP) – Part 3

Oracle Accelerate is not only a partner program but also Oracle’s go-to-market approach to provide business software solutions to midsize organizations. Part 1 described the main constituent parts of the approach, while Part 2 talked about the program’s current state of affairs. Part 3 of this blog series will analyze the program’s latest partner-enablement developments as well as the inevitable room for improvements.

Oracle Accelerate Partners-Enabling Portal

To further enable its Accelerate partners, Oracle launched a new portal in late September 2009, called Midsize.Oracle.com. This is a resource focused on midsize customers and partners to search for geographic- and industry-specific solutions, as well as a platform for collaboration.

The new online storefront is where prospective midsize customers can quickly find solutions to fit their needs based on location, industry, and business requirements. The new Web presence, which features all available Oracle Accelerate solutions in the Oracle Accelerate Marketplace section, houses in-depth information on partners and their products, including user demonstrations, customer testimonials, and pricing.

The marketplace also allows prospective customers to contact Oracle Accelerate solutions providers directly. The abovementioned partner marketplace section is an online marketing portal for Oracle partners to highlight their Oracle Accelerate solutions. The section is tied to the Midsize.Oracle.com main page and to the new Oracle Business Accelerators (OBA) pages to aid in awareness and demand generation activities. Partners are able to promote their company, expertise, and related Oracle Accelerate solutions.

Oracle envisions the portal as the go to place for anyone looking for Oracle applications for midsize companies, and thus the lead generation tool. Partners can have any of their own branded marketing assets (i.e., they do not necessarily need to be Oracle branded) on their dedicated partner and solutions pages.

The Midsize.Oracle.com portal currently supports the following languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Simplified Chinese. Available Oracle Accelerate solutions and partners can be filtered by country, and then further either by industry or product functionality (process flows). Accompanying featured marketing articles, white papers, and customer success stories are updated monthly.

To prevent (or at least mitigate) redundancy and competition between Oracle Consulting and Accelerate partners, Oracle has imposed a so-called “no fly zone” for its direct sales teams for United States (US) companies that have less than US$100 million in revenues. That limit is US$250 million in Europe, and these demarcation lines vary by region elsewhere.

In summary, the Midsize.Oracle.com portal simplifies and intensifies Oracle’s message to midsize organizations about available regional applications, OBA’s, and solutions. The idea is to deliver more leads to the right partners faster. Future improvements will aim to include more industry- and geography-specific content, more solutions’ granularity, a Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) capabilities, and even more contextualized customer references.