ERP Firms Rack Up Big Quarter

Manufacturers continue to embrace enterprise-resource-planning systems at a brisk pace, judging from results achieved by three of the big ERP software firms during the first six months of 1997. SAP AG, Baan Co. NV, and PeopleSoft Inc. are popular choices among firms seeking to link their various business systems.

SAP: SAP reported a 51% gain in revenues for the first six months of 1997 and a 56% jump in pretax profit for the same period. The Americas remained the area of fastest growth for SAP, where revenues of $570 million increased 85% from the same six months in 1996. Rather than see a drop-off in sales, purchases of SAP software actually have accelerated, largely due to the Walldorf, Germany-based firm's introduction of a speedy installation process, called Accelerated SAP. "We see a lot of interest in our Accelerated SAP technology," says Paul Wahl, CEO of SAP America in Wayne, Pa.

In other SAP news, the firm elevated Vice Chairman and co-founder Hasso Plattner, who is based at the company's West Coast office in Foster City, Calif., to co-chairman with Dietmar Hopp. "This step will enhance our ability to guide SAP as it continues to grow internationally and further demonstrates our commitment to maintain as flat a management structure as possible," Hopp says.

Baan: Baan Co., which has joint headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., and Putten, Netherlands, reported a 65% increase in revenues and a 138% increase in net income during the second quarter. For the first half, Baan's revenues were up 62% to $270 million, while net income was $28.7 million, a jump of 156%.

A key driver of Baan's most recent growth is its strong commitment to providing software for the popular Microsoft Windows NT operating system. "We are pleased with our ability to successfully execute against our plans, including a continued investment in our core technology, a deep commitment to delivering product and services which enable us to leverage the huge Microsoft market, a continued focus on our vertical markets, and the expansion of our product offering through acquisitions and joint ventures," says Tom Tinsley, president and COO.

PeopleSoft: Not to be outdone, PeopleSoft also racked up some impressive gains in the first half. The Pleasanton, Calif.-based software firm saw revenues zoom 83% to $338 million and net income leapfrog to $40.1 million, versus $20.9 million in the same period a year ago.

During the second quarter, PeopleSoft released new global versions of its financial and human-resource-management software, adding key country functionality and multiple language support. The software now includes versions for French, Canadian French, German, Spanish, three versions of English for the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and Japanese.

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