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Thought-Provoking Commentary for the Lawson Software Community
To paraphrase Dean Hager:
“This has been a ten-year dream for me; to deliver on the promise of a comprehensive all-encompassing Lawson user experience.”
In short, Lawson Smart Office integrates and delivers all facets of Lawson applications in a seamless fashion, providing a comprehensive user experience for all things Lawson. Smart Office is built on 3 pillars: intelligence, productivity, and personalization. As Dean says, Smart Office facilitates what Lawson is calling “The Process of Me”.
I agree that it’s slick. In fact, it’s gorgeous. It utilizes all the latest Microsoft technologies. But you know me—I’m the skeptic. So, let’s examine a few questions:
But let me tell you the truth. I love the potential for Lawson Smart Office. Seriously. And here’s why:
Because Lawson is the center of your universe. If you’re a Lawson “power user”, your world really does revolve around the processes you perform in Lawson—day in and day out. You shuffle amongst a dozen or so Lawson forms all day long. You download Lawson data into a spreadsheet; you slice it and you dice it. You pass it around your department. Now realize that you can do that within the context of a unified desktop. Smart Office should be a huge boost for your productivity. No more shuffling applications, e-mailing spreadsheets back and forth, etc.
Because you can operate Lawson in “List Mode”. Break out of the cycle of inquire/change, inquire/change, etc. by operating on master file tables in “list mode”, and push all of the updates back to the server with the click of one button.
Because you can update Lawson data directly from Excel, probably without even realizing you’re using Lawson. Remember how excited you were when you first discovered Lawson’s Excel Add-Ins Upload Wizard? It was still a little disconnected though. Smart Office is better. Way better.
Because it’s gorgeous. That’s also one of the knocks against Microsoft Vista, but I think it’s an important aspect of any user experience. You don’t want to work all day in an bland office, so why would you want look at an ugly screen all day? And, yes, you can even swirl your windows around in that (resource-consuming!) Vista-like carousel.
Because it provides a unified inbox. Smart Office is a central repository for all Lawson-generated communications: LBI dashboards, Smart Notifications, Smart Office alerts, ProcessFlow inbasket, etc.
Because it incorporates the next generation of Design Studio customization for personalization. You can use the Smart Office personalization features to customize a form, add validations, remove fields, mark required fields, etc. Then publish it for sharing with other users. It’s all about empowering your use of Lawson.
Because you can create monitor/alert conditions based on your own criteria (think of it as your own personal Smart Notifications).
Because it’s collaborative. By integrating with Microsoft Groove, Smart Office users can collaborate on projects using up-to-date Lawson application data and other documents. No more e-mailing spreadsheets back and forth; in other words, put an end to “multiple versions of the truth”.
Because it’s easy to deploy. It’s a Windows “thick client”, but it deploys from a web browser. Updates are automatically published to your desktop. All the benefits of a web-deployed application, with all the benefits of a Windows application.
Because it’s optional. You can roll it out as an incremental deployment. Users can continue to use LID, and then slowly migrate to the Smart Office.
So are you ready for Smart Office?
So we’ve spent all this time and $$ installing and configuring Portal – which Lawson 9 now requires, LID is no longer supported & bugs are not being fixed. Why would we want to abandon Portal when we’ve already gotten it set up — and, it’s server-based, therefore portable between machines. If Lawson SmartOffice is workstation-based, then what happens when a user goes to a new laptop?
Did you end up using Smart Office. We at BBRG are still using the Portal so was curious if you migrated by now and if so, was it worth it?
I can see both sides of this argument. As a super user, not having to go to five different places would be a relief, although I have become pretty adept at my ALT+TAB. Still, when Lawson constantly trumpets the aforementioned technologies as the next big thing, I can understand Milo’s skepticism. I would be willing to bet that, in five years, SmartOffice is no longer the new new thing, to borrow a phrase from Michael Lewis.
The application “fat client” can be made portable to run on anything including a MAC or smart phone using Citrix. Just more layers of complexity and cost. In addition the issues dealing with items like “office” plugins for Microsoft, typically software works differently on a server OS than on a destkop OS where these fat client apps were written to. It can all be done, just at a cost.
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