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Thought-Provoking Commentary for the Lawson Software Community
Six months ago, I told you to stay tuned. I admit it. I had my doubts. Frankly, I was planning a new venture, and was ready to close the door on the LawsonGuru blog, LawsonGuru Letter, and LawsonGuru.com. So what changed my mind?
I know it’s cheesy. It’s my favorite Christmas movie. Yes, I’m talking about Scrooged. I was a skeptic (in the future of Lawson, that is). Like Bill Murray’s Frank Cross, who at the end of the movie finally understands the meaning of Christmas and proclaims, “I get it.”
Like I said, I had my doubts. But, now I get it. I’ve read articles. I’ve talked to the customers. I’ve been to the Lawson user group meetings. I’ve seen Dean Hager’s presentations, and talked with him about where Lawson is going now that they’re part of Infor. And, I’m in. All in. InforGuru.com in. Let me explain why.
Infor’s pedigree has been one of growth by acquisition. If—like me—you grew up in this industry, you remember some of the heavyweights. Names like Baan. Like McCormick & Dodge and MSA, which merged into Dun & Bradstreet Software, and subsequently acquired by Geac. Extensity, acquired by Geac. Geac then acquired by Infor. And, Infor is owned by Golden Gate Capital. A lot of disparate companies with a portfolio of disparate products. And a well-deserved reputation for buying companies, not integrating the products, and not adding any innovative value.
Enter Charles Phillips.
Once upon a time not so long ago, Infor CEO Charles Phillips worked for Oracle, where he was the heir apparent to CEO Larry Ellison. Ellison grabs Mark Hurd after Hurds’s unceremonious ouster from HP, and Philips departs. A month later Phillips is hired at Infor, which just happens to compete with Oracle. And to top that off, who replaces Mark Hurd at HP? SAP’s Léo Apotheker, who lasted less than a year. Got all that?
So, don’t you think Phillips might be just a wee bit motivated to show Oracle their big mistake?
Phillips was hired synthesize them into a cohesive strategy. As part of that strategy, he targets Lawson, needing to fill in some holes in the Infor offerings. In particular, Human Capital Management (HCM), Lawson’s Talent Management, and the healthcare vertical market.
Rather than continue to try and bolt together these products in an end-to-end fashion, Infor is offering Infor10. At the core sits a new middleware, Ion. Coupled with a new UI, Infor Workspace.
Infor Workspace is built on Microsoft SharePoint, a pervasive solution running in many organizations. Using Infor Workspace, you can switch from Infor SyteLine ERP system running on a local server to Infor Expense Management in the cloud, or to Infor EAM deployed at another site. The user experience stays consistent across all of the applications. Enter Lawson S3. With Infor10 and Lawson 10, you can use your Lawson S3 applications as well. Click on the screenshot, and watch the video. I think you’ll be pretty impressed.
No, Lawson S3 applications are not going away yet. Of course, I’d expect some of them to change and merge with other products and features. We’ve already seen integration of Lawson within Infor Workspace, offering what is effectively a super-charged alternative to Lawson Portal.
Consider some other possibilities:
It’s exciting. We know it’s not going to happen overnight. There will be some bumps.
But Infor and Lawson have shown they are serious. In fact, Lawson hired 75 new developers after the acquisition. While Infor and Lawson are still stand-alone entities, owned by Golden Gate Capital, and likely will remain that way for a while, we can them to become one. A solid opportunity, which we hope will result in greater capabilities and better solutions. It’s truly a matter of 1 + 1 > 2.
Finally, let me be clear. Infor didn’t spend almost TWO BILLION DOLLARS to flush away Lawson and its customers.