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Thought-Provoking Commentary for the Lawson Software Community
A recent news item caught my eye: DataBasics has signed a developer agreement with Microsoft. (See http://www.data-basics.com/news.htm ).
If, like me, you’ve been following the saga of lawson.insight 8.0 and the professional services vertical, you’ll find this very intriguing. DataBasics develops the TimeSite and ExpenseSite products, for timekeeping and expense reporting in professional services firms. A couple of years ago, Lawson signed an agreement with DataBasics, and sold a few copies of the DataBasic’s software along with Lawson’s then-forthcoming 8.0 (at the time it was v7.3) release of the Activity Management (AC)/Billing & Revenue (BR) software.
The integration of the two products was very weak (like all Lawson “integrations”, it consisted of a bunch of CSV imports/exports). The “functionality” of using this “integrated” system was laughable, and both vendors took some heat from disgruntled clients. After the requisite finger-pointing and hand-wringing, it appeared that Lawson had jettisoned any future with DataBasics.
So, about a year ago, Lawson goes out and acquires Account4, which has its own time and expense entry/reporting. Lawson promptly re-brands it as “Professional Services Automation (PSA)”, and has been touting it since as the Holy Grail. I have yet to see a firm that is successfully using PSA in a fully integrated manner with the AC/BR modules, have you?
So why is DataBasics’ agreement with Microsoft so intriguing? If you’re not aware, Microsoft, with the purchase of Great Plains, has been making great in-roads into the small/medium enterprise (SME) ERP space. Now, with a viable time/expense solution, they look to be a formidable competitor in the PSA market.