This past month, I attended one of the numerous Lawson "Upgrade Road Shows" being presented to the various user groups. If you’re a Unix or Windows NT/2000 client still running v7.2.x applications, you no doubt know by now that Lawson’s support for these applications will end on May 31, 2004.
So, what does this upgrade entail? On the surface, it seems pretty simple. You upgrade your 7.3.x Environment to 8.0.2 Environment and your 7.2.x applications to 8.0.3 applications, mix in some web technologies, and have your users sign on to Portal instead of LID.
No problem, you say? Well, depending on your applications, it could mean total chaos. Have you spent any time looking at version differences for the various modules? Activity Management and Invoice Matching have both undergone major overhauls; they’ll require some serious study and process analysis.
Who can help you with the upgrade of your applications? You’ll likely want some consulting help to discern the impact on your organization, redesign your processes, and train you users. Here Lawson advises you to work with your certified partner of choice.
On the technology side, it’s a different story altogether. If you thought LOGAN was a kludge, wait until you see the ‘new-and-improved’ IOS (the fancy new name for LOGAN). Want to install it yourself? Guess again. Lawson mandates that the new Environment and IOS be installed by Lawson or one of their certified partners, or risk Lawson yanking your support. How many partners? Two, with two more to be named shortly. Which means there are probably a dozen people ‘authorized’ to install this stuff, and keep you on a "supportable" status.
So, where does your organization fit in all of this? Haven’t started yet? Well, you certainly do not have my sympathy. Lawson announced the 7.2.x decommission over a year ago, and upgrading was the primary focus at last year’s CUE. If you still haven’t started, good luck getting anyone’s attention.
With over 1200 clients still to be upgraded over the next year, Lawson has its hands full. If that statement makes you woozy, it translates to more than 100 upgrades per month! They’ll be lucky to get half of them completed before the deadline. Extend the support deadline? I doubt it. Most likely they’ll choose to enlist the help of one or more of their partners to provide "sunset" support, as they did with Digiterra following the 7.0.x decommission.
Couple of interesting observations about the road shows:
- Nary a mention of "Upgrade While Active". If you attended CUE last year, you couldn’t escape the hype surrounding UWA, which allows you to keep your users toiling away while the upgrade programs churn in the background. Now, not a peep about UWA.
- Very thin on the actual upgrade content—new features as well as the process itself. Mostly just sales pitch for post-upgrade bolt-on products, like Smart Notification, Office Add-ins, Enterprise Reporting, etc. Many of the attendees were very disappointed, having taken an entire day away from the office, hoping learn more about the upgrade process, and not learning much at all.