From Baan to Infor LN – the historic upsurge of the ERP industry!

Merino Industries

Apr 17, 2020

If you have ever got your head around Enterprise Management Systems, you probably already know the Baan corporation, which reigned the Enterprise sector for years. 

Jan Baan, the founder of the Baan Corporation, with his brother Paul, gave this world one of the finest technologies in 1978 that businesses relied upon for decades. Originated in Barneveld, Netherlands, the company that aimed to provide financial and administrative consulting services entered the software world with the development of its first software package in 1979. Later, it was known to become one of the world’s largest software firms in Dutch history.  

The rise of Baan 

The success of the Baan corporation did not come overnight. At times, things looked gloomy under relentless setbacks. The company, however, caught hype in 1981 with the introduction of Unix, a platform-independent operating system, which had the capability to run on all types of computer hardware. In fact, the system also presented the ability to control multiple computer systems from a centralized computer, which enabled the system to share resources, such as printers, etc. Although it didn’t prove to be a significant success at that very moment, the benefits became evident in the early 1990s. Consequently, the Baan corporation became the first to bring a one-of-a-kind operating system in the Netherlands. 

In 1991, the Baan corporation discovered Triton software, which was later renamed to Baan. During the time of crises and cut-through competition, Triton gave Baan an edge to survive for several years. Equipped with a truly modular concept, Triton customers were able to purchase customized software with components of their choice, designed to work in collaboration, which offered them the flexibility to determine their current and future needs before purchasing. Additionally, the Triton’s remarkable ability to expand its capabilities provided businesses the additional flexibility to extend operations as their needs changed.

Baan went Viral ‘Literally’

Baan found tremendous success during 1994-1997 with the introduction of Baan’s corporate data-processing software, primarily known as the Baan system, which attracted significant hype when picked by Boeing in 1994. Thereafter in 1995, Baan went public with an objective to improve with more essential programs over time, aiming to provide businesses with a standout long-term solution as Baan ERP suite.

Following the success of Baan, several large consulting businesses globally decided to implement Baan IV for their global operations. Subsequently, it acquired several other software companies such as Antalys, Berclain, Aurum, Coda and Caps Logistics to enhance its portfolio of products. There are many organizations that are still running their operations on Baan considering it superior to other contemporary options available.

BaaN Gets the Infor Edge

In June 2000, amidst the worsening financial situation, the company faced seven successive quarterly losses, following which, Baan was sold to Invensys, a UK automation, controls, and process solutions group. Then in 2003, degrading market performance and lag in introducing the new Baan version (code-named Gemini) triggered Invensys to sell Baan to SSA Global for a total cash amount of US$ 135 million. 

SSA Global, on acquiring Baan however, halted the promotion of Baan brand, introducing it as SSA Baan instead. In 2004, after the delayed release of Gemini aiming to improve the version, SSA Global released SSA ERP LN 6.1. 

In 2006, SSA Global had been acquired by Infor Inc, with which began a new era of business management solutions – equipped with a more intelligent and unwavering approach that followed constant improvements. 

Infor LN – Beyond the Boundaries

Under consecutive amendments in order to improve the version, several new versions, bundled with an abundance of features got released, largely aiming to organize the complex global operations of large and small manufacturing companies. 

Among many others, Infor LN has long been popular for its ability to cater to complex multi-site, single-site organizational needs. It offered fast and effective deployment options on the shop floor as well as across the supply chain with financials, quality management, order management, service management, and business partners. Businesses could capture real-time data and track metrics for enhanced communication among business partners located globally.  

Baan IV vs Infor LN

Infor LN was different from Baan IV and improvised several functionalities that Baan did not even feature. It was far more organized and equipped to cater to the outstretched needs of the businesses. In Baan IV standard items and project-specific items were stored apart in distinct tables, Infor LN, however, stored both these types in a single table. In Baan IV, all items related master data such as inventory, purchase, costing, sales was kept in a single table, LN used separate tables to store that data function-wise. The warehouse module in Infor LN helped inter-company material transfer become easier. In Baan IV, the planning engine for MPS/SIC and MRP were kept apart, whereas the latter provided a more consolidated version keeping all under one umbrella EP (Enterprise Planning). A new feature called ODM (document management) was added to Infor LN through which users attached external documents, for instance, MS word files, CAD drawings, and others. Functionalities like DAL (Data Access Layer) enabled clients to customize LN features as per their requirements. Additionally, the Infor Web Based user interface of Infor LN provided clients the flexibility to access it without restrictions.

Get 10x Advantage

The latest in the series, Infor 10x, is destined to be 10 times stronger than the earlier versions. Equipped with ION (a middleware that connects Infor and other third-party applications) and Infor Ming.le (allows social collaboration, business process improvement, and contextual analytics), it is a next-generation product that has all the features a modern-day business can anticipate. Its remarkable ability to help clients design, build and deploy custom mobile applications and their integration with existing software applications, makes it a world-class product in Infor series.  

Infor 10x enables businesses to utilize the power of business intelligence embedded throughout role-based workflows. Additionally, customers can build custom mobile dashboards that allow them to access and obtain all information, even business intelligence insights through highly visual, intuitive ways, in real-time on their mobile devices. With an easy-to-understand user dashboard, even non-technical users can find access to analysis and obtain critical insights.   

And the journey goes on… 

Jan Baan probably didn’t imagine at that point in time that he had put forth one of the biggest innovations of the era in the form of Baan. While it all started gradually, the impact that it created on the businesses was everlasting. They found themselves more productive and independent. Later, when the operations were sold to Infor, the system captured the interest of millions of multi-national corporations, which used the products augmented by Infor, and achieved significant profits in response. 

And guess what! It’s still a beginning. Certainly, no one knows what the years succeeding will bring to the table.  

Disclaimer – The article contains information gathered from the trusted resources available on the web. Merino Consulting Services is in no way responsible for any information, or fact illustrated vaguely, or which differs from the actual situation.