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Thought-Provoking Commentary for the Lawson Software Community
For several years now, I’ve been telling Lawson (and anyone else who’s been listening…) that Microsoft–not SAP and not Oracle–is the competitor that Lawson needs to watch out for:
In articles and discussions over the past several years (for example, see Lawson’s Road Ahead: Smooth Ride or Rocky Terrain? and The LawsonGuru Letter Interview: Dean Hager), I’ve been saying that Lawson portrays itself as a top-tier ERP vendor, ignoring the smaller/mid-market clients. Many of whom feel there just not big enough to get, and keep, Lawson’s attention, and leave for “smaller” packages from Microsoft and Sage.
In fact, looking at the ERP market share graph from CIO Magazine that I posted in Lawson: “The 6% Solution”, I see an awfully alarming situation:
Seems, now, that I’m not the only one:
“Given the consolidation in the industry, we worry that as Lawson’s major competitors are increasing in size they are becoming more formidable. Moreover, Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT – News) has entered the low end of the ERP market, and may move up-market by targeting Lawson’s core segments.”
Source: Lawson May See MSFT Competition Financial News – Yahoo! Finance
Reading this article reminds me of a similar situation in the Auto industry.
GM and FORD has ignored the “reality” of the auto markets for years. Choosing to make its SUV and large pickup trucks. They are now behind on Hybrids and small cars. One can argue GM and FORD are also on their way to becoming also-runs.
Today, Lawson enjoys a relatively healthy market share; however, if it doesn’t come to grips with reality, it will be squeezed out by SAP/Oracle from the top, Microsoft from the bottom.
Perhaps its self awareness. Lawson’s Software is not SIMPLER, its more complex then ever. Complex software required more people to maintain it. mid-market company simply can’t afford it.
Does any of the Lawson top executives care?? Well, probably not. Like most corporate America, the CXX folks are “well protected” even if they fail at their job (the golden exit, I call it). . Ok, thats another topic all together.
Lawson has improved its market share in the retail and healthcare verticles which, in 2005, is where Harry and Barry told us they were aiming. So the question to ask is was that the right strategy compared to the others who continue to grow their market share thru acquisition. It works as long as Microsoft, Oracle and SAP stay out of healthcare.
Lawson is not even focusing on the large companies anymore. Check out job postings at a certain major retailer that is a current lawson customer and you’ll find that they won’t be Lawson for long.
Lawson has tried to be everything to everyone and ended up being nothing to no one. Microsoft is gobbling up small clients. SAP is adding a small-client line. Lawson cannot compete with Oracle and SAP for big clients.
You cannot claim to be a player against Oracle and SAP if you focus entirely on Healthcare or HC and Retail. Those 2 got as big as they are by adapting their products for a wide array of industries.
Lawson has improved its market share in the key verticals that Harry and Barry said they were aiming for back in ’05. Meanwhile SAP, Oracle and Micrsoft are adding market share though acquisition. So far, healthcare hasn’t been on their radar, but what if that changes?