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Jan Baan Reviews: “From Legacy ERP to Smart Industry 4.0”

The four revolutions are:

Economy 1.0:Steam Engine,

Economy 2.0:Mass Production;

Economy 3.0: Digital Revolution/Internet Technology; and

Economy 4.0: Mobile Internet and Internet of Things.

When Jan Baan writes about where we have come from to how we are going to adopt to Gartner’s suggested Pace-Layered Application Strategy Model in our software approach, we are excited to read it. After all, Baan, who is Chairman and Founder of Vanenburg Software and who established Baan Company in 1978 to became a pioneer in the ERP industry, should be able to provide a terrific overview. The article appears in one of the industry’s leading websites, (Bolded italics are by the blog author.)

In the piece, Baan relates how, in the 80’s, “relational database technology and MRP algorithms helped us further expand our logistics systems to so-called Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. In addition to planning and stocks, the financial data were linked, thereby, simplifying periodic reporting to shareholders. Therefore, the ERP solution belonged to the core systems of the company, which also has, unfortunately, led many users to feel locked into their software vendor since it is the software vendor that programmed those core algorithms.”

Then, “at the beginning of this century, Microsoft acquired Axapta, Navision and Great Plains and was forced to combine these systems from the 1980s, especially for smaller companies, in a project that cost billions: Microsoft Dynamics. With the Microsoft .NET Framework for Windows with .NET Framework Class Library (FCL), the necessary “platform or platforms” was not developed .Microsoft Dynamics was no substitute for the complex ERP systems such as SAP, Baan, J.D. Edwards and Oracle.”

Soon, thereafter, it became “understood that manufacturing businessesrequire at least four types of systems to provide value to their enterprise. In addition to ERP,companies find CRM (Customer Relationship Management), PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) and SCM (Supply Chain Management) to be indispensable to their business. All of these systems originated in the last century before the Internet was active.”

Then, “early this century, a new idea was introduced – integrate these systems using a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)…These processes could not be controlled with the transactional systems, so spreadsheets were introduced as a tool for the knowledge worker. Microsoft Excel is often called the most dangerous software program due to the lack of manageability and compliance. Now, with dynamic case management, people can manage the business until close to the delivery to the customer.”

Meanwhile, over the last few years, we have seen the growing popularity of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). It is in this market that Salesforce managed to oust the previously dominant Siebel with their innovative CRM system. These experiences have turned Salesforce into a market leader in the PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) domain with its Salesforce1 PaaS platform, for which there are now thousands of PaaS solutions available.

As of today, “Smart Industry 4.0 is the Fourth Industrial Revolution. IoT is often mentioned as the fourth industrial and economic revolution. We are talking now about the Digital Enterprise.”

As a result, “TQL  (Total Quality Logistics) is to things such as SQL (Structured Query Language) is to data. It lets people create real-time context responsive applications by scaling and streaming from numbers of sensors and control devices. It goes beyond data. For instance, with a simple query – Go to all rooms with >35°C temperature and update their fan speeds to 850 RPM – users will execute real actions, not just create data, immediately.”

You can read the entire article at

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