Dawes leaves Coda for Kalamazoo

Phil Dawes, the brains behind Coda – the financial application specialist bought by Baan last year – left the firm last week but played down rumours that the unit is up for sale.

After spending ten years at Coda, Dawes has left to join motor industry software specialist Kalamazoo as head of research & development, a similar role to the one he took at Coda over the last few years.

Dawes said his departure was for personal reasons, but admitted the acquisition had been a turbulent one for Baan, with the Netherlands-based company deciding not to fully integrate Coda Financials with the BaanERP suite.

‘There comes a point where you have to decide to stop banging your head against a brick wall,’ Dawes said last week.

He did, however, play down rumours that Baan is keen to sell the unit off, as reported last month in Accountancy Age: ‘I’m not aware of any move to sell Coda off. (Baan president) Mary Coleman assured the UK last month that Baan has no intention of selling CODA, but that could always change.’

Most of the top managers Baan inherited with Coda have now departed, with the exception of Richard Anning, who remains as product marketing manager, and Steve Pugh, who is returning from Baan Americas to fill Coda’s top slot.

Baan European marketing manager Sheila Gibson commented: ‘We have no plans to sell Coda. We have received very good feedback on the Coda product and technology.’ She added: ‘Coda was impacted somewhat by the restructuring activities that occurred in the fourth quarter, but we have now finished training our entire sales force on the product. We are also working on better positioning for the Coda product and Baan Financials.’

When Baan acquired Coda in July 1998, executives confidently forecast that integration between Coda Financials and BaanERP would ‘take a matter of months’.

Eight months later, Baan has changed its tune. Dawes explained: ‘Baan saw a new business opportunity in the standalone market and decided to make use of Coda’s development expertise to concentrate on producing a better product.’

Baan has adjusted its position to encompass what the company calls a ‘two prong’ product strategy. Coda will be separate but equal to Baan’s own financials product and Coda managers will be given more autonomy, Dawes said.

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