Many of you are probably making your plans to join Lawson at their annual CUE user conference. Unfortunately, I won’t be there. Seems I’m not invited.
As your self-appointed Lawson ombudsman, I think it’s important for you–Lawson’s clients–to understand why I–and presumably other independents–won’t be attending CUE this year.
In past years, I’ve simply registered using my own name, and when asked for my affiliation with Lawson, I’ve given one of my client’s names, and that has been sufficient. This year it’s a different story.
I had already registered (Early Bird, no less!) and made my reservations. I recently received a cancellation message from the folks who handle the registration canceling my registration. When I contacted them, I was told "this is a bit awkward–and we’re my stuck in the middle–but we were given a list of names…". Hmmm, that certainly got my attention. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding and Lawson planned to send me press credentials instead? Or, perhaps they wanted me to be the keynote speaker? Any conspiracy theorists out there?
I tried the official Lawson channels, and received the expected response. Even my escalated messages to Jay Coughlan and Dean Hager didn’t help. The message was clear: "Lawson’s policy is to limit attendance to certified business alliances and customers."
Sure, I could probably register using a pseudonym, or find some other way to sneak in, or just lurk around the hotels. But that’s not right.
Before you misinterpret this as whining, let me again reiterate that I’m one of Lawson’s biggest supporters. As I’ve explained to numerous people from Lawson, I am independent consultant; my practice is primarily focused on Lawson. Most of my work is done independently, although I also work for or alongside of Lawson and their partners.
While I’m certainly disappointed, I think this is an utter failure on Lawson’s part to realize the value of the independent consulting community. Sure we compete in some ways, but we certainly not out to steal business from Lawson. Believe me, there’s plenty of work for all of us. The independents are Lawson’s "grass roots" sales force, out there spreading the word about their latest-and-greatest products.
Ideally, I’d like to see an ISV-type program from Lawson (much like the partner/consultant arrangements I have with Microsoft, Oracle and IBM), where we can buy and install limited-use software, purchase training, etc. Our goal as independents is to stay on top of the latest releases from Lawson, and try to stay at least one step ahead of out clients.
But, at least allowing us to go to CUE (we do pay, you know!) would be a decent start.