LWSN and Dogfood ?!?
May 30, 2007
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I was copied on this email from a Lawson client, who was addressing their concerns to Lawson: We are getting conflicting information from Lawson on this subject.
1. Is Concur a Lawson Partner?
2. Is Lawson using Concur internally for Expense Reimbursement?
3. Does Lawson plan to use Concur internally for Expense Reimbursement in the future?
If the answer to any of these is “yes”, can you please explain why and what the plans are for the Lawson Time & Expense module?
If LWSN is indeed implementing Concur, what message does that send to LWSN’s clients? On behalf of my client, I asked Lawson CEO Harry Debes about the selection of Concur for Lawson’s expense reimbursement system. Here is his reply:
Lawson has a global LSF and Apps 9 project undeway right now. We should be fully deployed within 6-9 months time. We have a temporary Concur license to deal with our Intentia business (in EMEA and Asia).
Once S3 is globalized, we will be dumping Concur and installing our own expense management solution.
We plan to continue to develop and sell PSA and expense management for some time.
This whole episode got me thinking about Lawson and the whole idea of “dogfooding”. If you’re not familiar with the term, it essentially means that a company “eats its own dog food” uses the products that it makes. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eat_one’s_own_dog_food). The term was popularized in conjunction with Microsoft, and the use of their own products. I myself became aware of it while reading Show Stopper! (see http://www.amazon.com/Show-Stopper-Breakneck-Generation-Microsoft/dp/0029356717/ref=sr_11_1/102-7407063-4836154?ie=UTF8&qid=1180545249&sr=11-1), which chronicled David Cutler and the Microsoft team who built (and yes, dogfooded) Windows NT 3.1.
Making the commitment to use your own products is a matter of scale and features. For some businesses and some products, it may be the right decision; for others, that may not be the case. Prior to consulting to the Lawson market, I used to write custom financial software (AP, AR, Payroll, GL, etc. etc.). And, I used to use my own products to run my business. I could tweak the software to my own needs, and I could fix some of the pain points that drove me (and my clients!) nuts. But, trying to use a product built for a large business (my clients) for a small business (mine) was not the smartest idea. Just like with Lawson, a lot of setup work was required so that I could process my smattering of transactions. With the debut of QuickBooks, I moved to a product that had more features and was scaled (smaller) to meet my business size.
Look at Microsoft—they are a huge company. Do they use Microsoft Dynamics (see http://www.microsoft.com/dynamics/default.mspx) internally? Nope—they use SAP!
Which brings us back to Lawson. At CUE a few years ago, I remember either Dean Hager or Jay Coughlan promising that Lawson would always be its own first beta customer. Then, recently someone asked Dean at a user group meeting if LWSN was using LSF9 and his response was, “um, no….”.
So, what do you think? Should Lawson be Dogfooding?