LawsonGuru Blog

Thought-Provoking Commentary for the Lawson Software Community

We All Knew This Day Would Come


Your Paper, Sir?

Dog Fetching Newspaper Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the newspaper industry is in a serious decline.  Maybe that’s not strong enough.

Newspapers, as we’ve known them, are on their deathbed.   And it’s a sad reversal of fortune.  Gone are the glory days of The Washington Post’s Woodward and Bernstein.

I grew up knowing and loving the newspaper.  Not just the “news”, mind you.  But the physical part—the “paper”.   Not only did I deliver The Washington Post as a child, but I’ve been an avid daily subscriber for years as well.  In my house, breakfast time is newspaper time.  How delightful it is to actually see your children reading the daily paper, and prompting the discussion of current events.  But The Washington Post, like many of its peers, is going through a serious down-sizing—not only of the organization, but of the paper as well.  Gone already is the “Book World” section; by the time you read this, the daily Business section will be gone as well.  Even my beloved Sticklers.  At least they’re not ceasing publication, like some others.

Sure, I now that the news business is evolving, and we know have a constant stream of news available on the Internet and TV.  While there are certainly some forms of news and information that are better provided “on-line”, I still think this is tragic.  Not only have we watered down and reduced our consumption of “news” into the 30-second sound-byte.  But it’s more than that.  It’s the physical aspect.  It’s portable.  And, no, a Kindle is not a substitute.  You can read the paper on the plane or train, on the bus, and yes, you can even read it in the bathroom.

What, is Lawson in the Newspaper Business?

What does this have to do with Lawson?  Well, nothing and everything.  No, Lawson isn’t in the newspaper business.  But there is another day in the life of Lawson’s clients that is coming up fast.

Yes, I’m talking about decommission dates.  I’ve shared my thoughts on this topic before, and it’s time to take another look.

As you know, Lawson is ending support of their Unix/Windows Environment 8.0.3 in May 2009 and 8.0.x S3 Application products in 2010.

Yet, a lot of clients still haven’t migrated to LSF9 or upgraded their S3 Applications yet.  That’s a shame.

However, if you aren’t yet ready to upgrade your applications, you can choose to pay Lawson a premium for “extended maintenance” in order to receive post-decommission support. I won’t go into the details—you’ll need to get those directly from Lawson.

Sure, we all wish we didn’t have to upgrade. But, a 5-year product cycle and a 2-to-3-year decommission notice is standard and perfectly acceptable for enterprise software. This upgrade deadline has been looming for a couple of years, and everyone should have been planning for it. Lawson cannot continue to support their old products forever. It just doesn’t make good business sense.

If you don’t want to upgrade, that’s certainly your right. I probably won’t agree that it’s the right choice, but it’s still your choice. I still support some clients who haven’t upgraded. But your organization is taking a calculated risk that puts itself in jeopardy, particularly if you’re using Lawson for mission-critical applications.

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2 responses to “We All Knew This Day Would Come

  1. Phil Simon March 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    I completely agree with this.

    But, a 5-year product cycle and a 2-to-3-year decommission notice is standard and perfectly acceptable for enterprise software.

    This is very much in keeping with other tier 1 and tier 2 vendors. Many Lawson clients just look at this as “unfair” in absolute terms, not realizing that other vendors essentially do the same thing. I broached this topic at MRLUG in my talk on Wednesday. Sure, clients can “go naked” (read: get by without vendor support) but it’s a highly risky strategy.

  2. MTFF April 11, 2009 at 7:12 am

    When I first read the subject line, I thought the topic was about the newspaper industry. I have my opinion on that topic as well; however, I will reserve them for a later time.

    On the topic of expiring support for enterprise software, I have mixed feelings. I understand why software vendors need to do it, on the other hand, I am unhappy with the fact some vendors’ approach to “encourage” their customers to upgrade.

    I understand why the software vendor would need to decommission, because the support for multiple versions are just too costly for the vendor. At the same time, each upgrade generates more revenue either via the software itself or through consulting. A win-win for the vendors. For the customers, its a loss-loss, and at best loss-“maybe-win” situation. Why? It’s nearly impossible to measure the ROI of a software upgrade.

    Unlike most products we buy, enterprise software are sold with license AND maintenance. The maintenance contract entitles the customers to ‘free” patches and critical updated. This is akin to buying a car and buying the rights to have it repaired. When the warranty expires \ decommission date comes up, we have to pay out pocket / extra for the rights to repair our software. I know this model exists for Lawson and I applauded them for making it available.

    What is my point? If your company uses ERP system as a competitive advantage tool, then, stay in the cycle. If you are using your software for mundane back office tasks and rarely add new functionalities, take the extended support approach.

    Software upgrades should be a personal choice based on your needs. SQL Server 2000 was decommissioned, but, if you don’t need SQL Server 2005, or 2008, why should you upgrade? I tend to follow the don’t fix what’s not broken approach.

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