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Thought-Provoking Commentary for the Lawson Software Community
Over the past few months, my wife and I have been tooling along our local bike trails. This came to a surprise halt a few weeks ago. First indication of a problem was that my chain was slipping every now and then as I pedaled hard up a hill. This time was no different, as the chain slipped a couple of times. No problem, I figured—I’d just take my bike into the local shop and have them give it the once-over.
We only had a couple more hills to climb (thankfully, the people in the parks department have managed to put most of the trails along some old railway lines). Then, bam! The chain snapped clean in two. This meant a long walk home, and plenty of time to contemplate the meaning of this, in Lawson terms, of course. (You know that I’d come to that part eventually, didn’t you?).
Sometimes you just can’t bear the weight any longer, and need a stronger chain. Just like my own need to get a new, stronger chain, Lawson has also been addressing its own underpinnings.
For years now, I have been advocating that Lawson needs to get out of the technology business and focus on the Applications. Get away from all of this middleware nonsense—leave that to the companies whose specialty it is. Focus on the applications—which is the raison d’etre of Lawson—business applications, and processes.
In case you missed it, Lawson recently signed on Wal-Mart as a new client for the HR suite. Think for a moment about the magnitude of this. Think about your own organization, and the weight that bears down on the Lawson infrastructure on a daily basis. And, then think about putting that infrastructure under the stress of 1.3 MILLION employees. Which leads us into Dean Hager’s recent announcement (see http://support.lawson.com/extranet/news/Lawson_Release_9.pdf) that Lawson has released Lawson 9.0!
Well, stability and scalability are at the crux of 8.1 Technology—and now Lawson System Foundation 9.0—as well as future releases. It means that Lawson can—plain and simple—allow you to manage and maintain your Lawson software better. Gone is the proprietary plumbing, and limitations imposed by it. No more taking down the system to do dbreorgs, and install CTPs. No more “bigger box replacements” in order to scale higher.
By bundling Websphere and DB2 (and no longer supporting Apache/Tomcat), LSF 9.0 continues to cement Lawson’s relationship with IBM. For Lawson, I’m sure it’s scary to be putting their livelihood at the behest of IBM. They no longer have the comfort of knowing that if something doesn’t work, it’s their code so they can fix it. They now have to rely on another company—but who better than IBM? I see this as a positive, and see it as Lawson taking another page out of the Microsoft playbook: be the best product on a given platform, foregoing the other platforms in the process.
I think a lot of smaller clients will be initially taken aback by Lawson’s “one-time charge” for the LSF 9.0 upgrade, which is a essentially a surcharge for the IBM bundled products, but those clients will eventually come around since it will be cheaper than switching, and it really does make Lawson a better, more stable, more robust solution.
What about back-version support? Lawson’s historical position has been to support the two most recent major releases. Given the recent 8.1 Technology release and the new LSF 9.0 release, this may mean that Lawson will decommission of 8.0.x environments–sooner rather than later. Not something that clients will want to hear. We do know that the 8.0.2 Unix/Windows Environment will be decommissioned in 2007, but we’ll have to wait and see about 8.0.3. Since Lawson has actually scrapped the 8.1 Technology release (any clients currently running 8.1 Technology will be moved to LSF 9.0), it may be that Lawson will consider 8.0.3 Environment/IOS and LSF 9.0 as the currently supported released. This would be a welcome news.
Oh, and by the way, LID will continue to work–even with 9.0–although you can’t take advantage of the new Lawson Security enhancements. Nevertheless, it does move you closer to Landmark!