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:
- Do we really need yet another operating environment? C’mon, is Lawson really going to be able to “own the desktop”? How many of you truly have Lawson at the center of your universe? To paraphrase an IT director who told me, “It’s just another app” we have to support.
- Sure, Smart Office looks great when you watch the demo. But how does it work once security gets applied? How well does it operate in the locked-down “real world” in which we live? How “portable” is it—are you locked into using it only on your own desktop? It’s not a web application per se, so if you move to another machine, do you get all your saved settings? What happens to your “user experience” when you don’t have connectivity?
- With its built-in “operational BI” features, where does Smart Office leave Lawson’s customers in their selection or implementation process of Lawson Business Intelligence (LBI)? How much of Smart Office eclipses LBI? What should LBI customers do?
- What’s the expected lifespan? Sure Lawson will say that Smart Office is the be-all, end-all. The end; the culmination of it all. But this is what–about generation 10 (remember LID, Ned, Jed, OCS, ActiveX, XMLUI, Portal, etc.??) in Lawson’s UI evolution?
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?