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Lawson, M3, and Infor: The Road Ahead

It was just recently that Infor, an enterprise software vendor, completed its nearly $2 billion purchase of Lawson, a midmarket and enterprise software provider. How does the new Infor/Lawson behemoth plan on developing its business? The focus seems to be on the Lawson M3 product line.

The two companies announced last week that the growth of the M3 product line is vital for Lawson’s growth. The development teams will focus on bolstering three key areas of value:

  1. User experience
  2. Technology
  3. Applications
Some of the planned changes for the user experience include a unified interface design, single sign-on, better navigation, and in-context business intelligence. The main technology focus will be on using Infor ION to connect processes across a myriad of applications developed by different firms. For applications, the company will focus on industry suites for its core verticals of manufacturing, distribution, fashion, food and beverage, and equipment service management and rental.

A Hopeful Future

Henrik Billgren, VP of Lawson’s product management, commented on the development focus:
“We are truly looking to bring the best of both companies to provide immediate value to M3 customers.One example is the user experience with the Lawson Smart Office and Infor Workspace products. We see Lawson Smart Office as ideal for the power users within an organization, while Infor Workspace is great for the day-to-day workplace user. We are also looking to bring Lawson’s mashup designer capabilities and Lawson Enterprise Search into Infor Workspace.”
Graham Maxfield, general manager of the Global Association of M3 User Groups, which represents the global M3 customer base, was positive about the development road ahead:
“Over the past five years, the Global Association of M3 User Groups (GAM3) has witnessed significant improvements in the functionality and technical advances, such as Smart Office and Enterprise Search, to the Java-based M3 ERP software. Following the acquisition of Lawson, GAM3 anticipates that these advances will continue and will accelerate to the benefit of M3 customers, both existing and new.”

Development in Depth

Alex Woodie, a reporter for IT Jungle, examined the changes in greater depth in an article posted today. He revealed that the M3 suite will improve the user experience through integration with Workspace, a SharePoint-based graphical user interface. The Workspace GUI is planned as the standard interface across all products. Woodie also noted that, according to Billgren, the main goals for ION technology implementation will be on Infor’s PLM, supply chain, and warehouse management offerings, with an estimated project completion date by the end of the year.

Woodie also noted how Lawson customers would benefit from the development plans. Smart Office, a framework that lets users access Lawson offerings from Microsoft Office applications and an expanded Enterprise Search capability will be coming to Lawson’s customers. The Mashup Designer, a composite application builder, will also be coming to Lawson customers.

The reporter also pondered on the still hazy areas of the acquisition:

“There are a number of unanswered questions at this point regarding the integration of Lawson into Infor, including how M3 will play in Infor’s Flex upgrade program. Other areas that will need fleshing out include: whether there will be cuts to the Swedish development team; which company’s business intelligence strategy to put forward; whether there will be changes to M3 maintenance fees; and the future of the company’s respective cloud offerings.”
What do you think about the Infor/Lawson merger? Are they headed in the right direction? Will both companies come out stronger in the end? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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[Photo courtesy of ijeebi.]