Mid range manufacturers, particularly in the automotive, high tech and electronics sectors, are being offered lower cost ways to get the full integrated Invensys/iBaan extended ERP, e-business, supply chain and manufacturing execution software (MES). Following a significant expansion of the existing relationship between IBM and Invensys subsidiary Baan into a full global strategic alliance, the pair are now selling the entire suite bundled on IBM servers, as well as offering world-wide IBM service support and rthe option of hosted systems and. This is a first for Baan. The full suite of iBaan – ERP, supply chain systems and collaborative private web exchanges, the lot – as well as its CAPS Logistics, Wonderware MES and CRM, are all being bundled directly on IBM’s iSeries, including its eServers and IBM middleware, with development currently ongoing for WebSphere, DB2 UBD and MQ Series. Other keys to the deal include: joint sales and marketing; a greatly expanded IBM service practice on all the Baan and Wonderware software fronts; and IBM system hosting and total IT outsourcing. Currently some 1,000 IBM consultants are already working with Baan products world-wide, providing integration and implementation services for users like Mercedez-Benz, Boeing and Solectron, as well as the Baan implementation factories in Denmark and Atlanta. The pair insist that high tech and automotive users should find this an extremely attractive method of getting what they will increasingly have to depend upon – web-based supply chain collaboration systems at one end, and real time manufacturing visibility all the way at the other. “We are now able to link in real time the B2B value chain network into the world of automated shopfloor solutions,” says Bruce Henderson, divisional CEO of Invensys Software Systems Division. “This will enable our customers to collaborate on-line and in real time with their business network partners. Russel Johns, EMEA marketing manager adds: “As more of these organisations see the value of outsourcing their IT management, this alliance will drive the take-up of our systems. Initially, I’m sure manufacturers will look at individual parts of the offering, but they’ll soon see that it’s a fantastic opportunity, both at the Wonderware shopfloor end and at the iBaan supply chain level.”