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Thought-Provoking Commentary for the Lawson Software Community
Well folks, it’s a deal: Lawson has agreed to Infor’s buyout offer.
After decades of work by countless employees, numerous makeovers and new releases, the bursting of the dot-com bubble, several CEOs, and an IPO to boot, Lawson has agreed to itself be acquired. Some may say they’re throwing in the towel and giving in to ceaseless and inevitable consolidation in the enterprise software market.
But, hey, $2 Billion? Who’da thunk that the little company (which I once labeled as “podunk”, to Dean Hager’s shock and dismay) from St. Paul could fetch such a price? And pity the fool who wouldn’t take it?
So, we enter a new chapter. What’s next? Where do we go from here?
Lawson as a product won’t go anywhere. Oracle still supports PS apps nearly a decade after its acquisition. People still work on Integral applications and that’s been defunct for much longer than that.
While I agree in the short-term, I predict there will be two tracks for clients over the longer horizon:
1) Early adopters/clients will adopt whatever Infor provides as a replacement (early indications are that it’s a hybrid of Lawson’s HR and Infor’s Financials).
2) Remaining clients will continue to run Lawson as we know it today until Infor sunsets it.
And, there will be some true laggards who run it unsupported until they replace it with a non-Infor solution.
3) Existing customers will run for the exits when their renewals come up.
Having just changed jobs returning to Lawson after a 5 year stint with Infor’s Applications Plus flavor (formerly daly & wolcott daly.commerce) I’m thinking that very little will be done except for integration with the “SOA” (Service Oriented Architecture). A+ has been around for decades and continues to be supported and enhanced, but all the really ground breaking stuff is happening above the SOA layer, and so is applicable to all the ERP suites Infor owns.
The headache will be the people – Lawson’s employees, sales, developers, etc are the best to work with – Infor doesn’t have nearly the experience base that Lawson does, and good luck getting information from your sales rep whos trying to support half a dozen different ERP’s.
Having worked with Lawson (for over 40 of their customers specifically) on the technical side since long before web versions were even a dream, I’m not surprised by the buyout offer. Mainly because as those on the technical side of things have discovered over the years, Lawson’s expertise is not in the technology, nor even in the software’s features, but rather in it’s ability to SELL things. I must commend Lawson on that, they are very proficient at SELLING things, some of which are true and some of which are hopes and dreams.
Previously these sales tactics worked on many a client, then even on many an investor, and now they seem to have worked on Infor/GoldenGate as well (sorry in advance). Interestingly enough there’s already a lawsuit underway to block this acquisition alleging Lawson did not look out for the shareholder’s best interests by accepting this offer. Ironically, accepting it might be the best thing for the shareholders since in my opinion the company is extremely overvalued currently.
In my own personal opinion, I think whoever purchases Lawson, should purchase them not for their software or even their assets, but rather for the customer base. Ideally Oracle would be my best bet, being that they’re really the only DB used en-mass (yes I know there are others, but let’s be realistic.) Conversions to any other ERP will be painful, but upgrading/converting to a world-class one will eliminate many of the heartache’s of the past, including but not limited to the VERY frequent decommissions of what was advertised a year or two earlier as the “future of Lawson”….I’d list the ones that have come and gone, but fear the list would be too long for this posting.
I no longer hold any Lawson stock positions and for the shareholders left, my recommendation would be to get out while you can before it drops like a rock when the smoke and mirrors give way to reality. My best guess is that the TRUE value of the company is much closer to 1B than 2B, but creative accounting often wins.
I do own stock positions in Oracle.
In the short to medium term there will be no significant impact to current Lawson customers. It’s the next sale that concerns me. Goldengate will sell to one of the few really-big players after this purchase (and perhaps a few others) settles down. The impact of that ultimate sale will far outweigh any short term Infor consolidation.
As a former Lawson consultant for 10+ years, it will be interesting to see how things play out. Some observations:
Interesting that there was not another company other than Infor to bid for Lawson. It was only a few short years ago, Oracle thought about buying them.
Was only a matter of time Lawson would be bought out with Icahn buying into the company. The shareholders should be thanking him for the pop in the share price.
Let’s face it, M3 has done nothing for Lawson. Will Infor dump M3 or try and salvage it?
An aquisition that made no sense.
Before the merger, the competition has been stealing market share from Lawson’s core verticals – healthcare and public sector. Not a good sign.
Lawson was never good at marketing their company, even during their heyday, which makes sales execution that much harder.
Good luck to all Lawson employees and customers…may the transition be a smooth one.
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