CUE in Review
I enjoyed meeting with many of you (including some, ahem, who didn’t yet know about the LawsonGuru Letter, or those of you who were perhaps afraid to admit it!). I’m hoping that by next year’s CUE, perhaps Lawson will give me a press pass, and I can get a seat in the front row!
Whether you attended or not, here are my observations-some good, some not so good–on what I took back from CUE:
- Jay Coughlan’s remarks were noticeably conservative, which is appropriate in this economy. Companies that are positioned for the rebound will thrive when it arrives; that Lawson is still around is itself an achievement. Some people think I’m out to bash Lawson; this couldn’t be further from the truth. We all want them to thrive.
- I had the opportunity to spend some time in the Technology Lab with John Barton and some of his colleagues, who are working on some really exciting stuff. So significant in fact, that I predict it will change the ways you use Lawson dramatically in the coming years. More details in an upcoming issue.
- Many repeat sessions from last year. Some of the presenters even prefaced their remarks by saying "if you were in this session last year, I really don’t have anything new to say?"
- No significant new product announcements this year. Last year, you couldn’t escape hearing about Lawson’s Portal and related enhancements, etc. This year, you may have thought you saw new products, but the majority were just a re-positioning of some of the things you saw last year.
- Smart Notification was no doubt the most-touted product this year. As a savvy LawsonGuru Letter reader, you already know that it’s a strategic product, having read about it in the October 2002 issue.
- Some of Lawson’s product offerings are still disjointed. In particular, Process Flow, Smart Notification, and Business Component Integrator (BCI) have many overlapping features; I’m often asked to explain the differences between them, and which ones to deploy. Lawson needs to take a hard look at combining these—it would make a killer product.
- By the way, Lawson needs to rename BCI. Every time I talk to someone about BCI, they think I’m talking about BSI. The client is wondering how in the world they are going to tackle their integration problems with payroll tax software!
- I still get the feeling that Lawson develops in a vacuum, and they do a poor job of painting the "the big picture" (if there really is one). In a conversation with one of their business analysts, who admitted never having visited a client I asked, "How on earth can you design solutions?"
- I’m not at all surprised at the lack of new products. Lawson has a huge task ahead of it-as you know if you read the last issue. Upgrading 1300 clients over the next year may be insurmountable, and scaring clients into even more upgrades would drive them off altogether.
- Speaking of scared clients, I talked to many unhappy ones. The general mood was lukewarm; numerous stories about botched installations, unfixed bugs, data integrity problems, spotty support, etc. The trend I inferred was that bigger clients get all the attention (money talks, of course; the smaller ones get the short shrift. I consider this a corporate deficiency; the employees of Lawson are a great bunch of people, and a pleasure to work with. They are hard-working and honest, and are always trying to solve our problems. I’m proud to know and work with them.
All things considered, I think it was a beneficial CUE. Despite the depressed economy, war gloom, layoffs, etc., Lawson still knows how to throw a party, and they’re still a fun group of people. I hope you had a good time–I did; and I’ve already signed up for next year!
Let me know if you agree or disagree, and/or if you have anything to add.