Saudi firm drops Baan ERP for SAP

A major Saudi Arabian manufacturer has ditched its existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) provider because of what it sees as a lack of service support in the Middle East.

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By  Peter Branton Published  March 5, 2006

A major Saudi Arabian manufacturer has ditched its existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) provider because of what it sees as a lack of service support in the Middle East. Saudi Formaldehyde Chemical Company Limited (SFCCL), which has embarked on ambitious expansion plans that could see it quadruple in size, has dropped the ‘Baan’ ERP solution it was using from SSA Global — the world’s fifth biggest ERP vendor — and has now set about implementing a new Net- weaver application from SAP across its group of companies. “We had some problems with Baan in terms of support in the Middle East,” said Pankaj Pandit, project manager, SFCCL. “When we were changing [and expanding] we then had to go for the best ERP available in the market. Baan’s support was not up to the mark. We did not get the support that we require from Baan,” he added. With SAP’s Netweaver application now live at SFCCL itself, and also being rolled out over the coming months at the United Gulf Steel Mill, United Gulf Group and Modecor (all companies under the SFCCL Group umbrella), the contract represents a big win for SAP. Indian IT solutions provider Wipro is responsible for implementation of the new project, which began in August 2005. Although SFCCL’s Pandit insisted that Baan was a good product, he said that the support issues caused the firm to look elsewhere and also said it did not know the future of Baan. SSA Global acquired Baan in August 2003 and as a result launched SSA ERP, dubbed the next-generation of Baan ERP, and, according to its website, committed itself to providing Baan customers with continuous, predictable enhancements and seamless upgrade paths. But a spokesperson for SSA Global did admit to IT Weekly last week that SSA Global Middle East has not been very visible to the market in the past two years. “All software vendors lose customers from time to time,” the spokesperson said.

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