An Independent Supply Chain Software Review
On July 5th, 2011 Infor Global Solutions finalized the acquisition of Lawson Software for $1.83 billion. Prior to the purchase, Lawson was a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: LWSN) with more than 4,200 employees in 40 countries, headquartered in St. Paul, MN with regional offices in Sweden and the UK, and over three decades of ERP software history. Lawson had $736 million in 2010 revenues, which was $115 million less than their 2008 revenues of $851 million; consulting services were off by more than $123 million, while software license fees were up $16 million. Infor is a privately held company, and is the third largest ERP software vendor behind SAP and Oracle.
In 1975 Richard Lawson, along with his brother and John Cerulle, founded Lawson Associates, initially developing custom business applications. By 1983 their mission changed to developing packaged software for small and midsize companies. Lawson’s initial public offering was in 2001; then in May 2006, Lawson acquired Swedish ERP and e-solutions provider, Intentia International. The combined company, Lawson Software, delivered ERP solutions to mid-market companies with two different suites, M3 and S3. M3, formerly known as Movex, was developed by Intentia and the other ERP S3 was developed by Lawson and formerly called Lawson Enterprise or Insight.
Lawson’s other key application is Human Capital Management software. Since being acquired by Infor, S3 has been integrated with other business software applications and being recast as an Enterprise Financial Management solution with the brand name Infor10 Lawson S3. Lawson M3 continues on as an ERP solution with built in Supply Chain Management software modules.
Prior to their merger, both Lawson and Intentia posted decreasing or flat revenues. Their common product threads were legacy solutions developed for IBM AS/400, and a later generation of products were developed using Java technologies and intended to be platform-agnostic. More than 60 percent of Lawson’s S3 and M3 customers have upgraded from the old legacy AS/400 code to the new Java based technologies, and Lawson feels there is still ample opportunity for the remaining customers to upgrade to the new products. In 2010 Lawson added cloud deployment with two payment options – a subscription fee option and the traditional license. The Lawson cloud application is not a native, multi-tenant SaaS application, but more of a stepping stone to an eventual cloud deployment solution.
Following the Infor acquisition, Infor laid-off several staff at Lawson headquarters and took the resignation of 4 key executives: CEO Harry Debes, Dean Hager EVP, Larry Dunivan SVP and Nancy Anderson Head of Customer Support. There were concerns that Lawson’s commitment to research and development would be reduced, but Infor has takin significant steps to alleviate these concerns with both public statements that Infor is committed to Lawson’s products and customers, and more so the addition of many new engineers.
Infor has also announced plans to consolidate Infor products into the Lawson S3 software, and integrate S3 and M3 products with Infor SOA solutions using the Infor ION integration middleware. Infor has also approved Lawson’s acquisition of Approva Corporation to enhance S3 with “Continuous Control Monitoring” features. Infor is positioning the Lawson M3 software suite alongside the Infor 10 Enterprise (LN) (much of it the old Baan ERP Suite) as the second open architecture ERP solution option. It's worth noting that Infor has not designated M3, as they did for S3, with the Infor10 brand that their other strategic software offerings have received.
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