Lawson Software releases application upgrades based on its still-awaited Landmark development platform.
At its annual Conference and User Exchange, held March 18-20 in Las
Vegas, Lawson Software introduced a new Smart Office
user interface, a Human Capital Management suite and an upgraded traceability
engine for process manufacturers.
But perhaps the most interesting news is what's buried in the company's new
functionality-the use of Lawson's Landmark application development environment
to build new applications.
However, while Lawson has utilized Landmark to develop new applications like
its Strategic HCM System, which is both SOA
(service-oriented architecture)-based and available on demand, the development
environment itself is still not available to users-three years after it was
initially introduced and six years after internal development began.
"Our goal is to provide [the Landmark environment to customers] in the
very near future," said Pramod Mathur, director of product marketing for
Announced in 2005 and code-named Landmark (the moniker has apparently
stuck), Lawson billed Landmark as a new technology environment under
development by a special team put together by the company's founder, Richard
The environment, according to company statements at the time, would
"mitigate the very source of application complexity ... the new model
dramatically reduces the source coding required and will result in virtually error-free,
consistent Java code." It was also said to have the potential to allow
business analysts-the people who understand their company's business processes-to
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The idea was that applications developed in Landmark, by either Lawson or
its customers, would be SOA-based and would enable developers to quickly and
easily modify and customize business processes. The reduction in code would
also help companies implement Lawson's software a lot faster, for a lot less
money, company officials said.
Fast-forward three years: Landmark is released as a run-time engine with
Lawson's custom Foundation software, which Lawson's internally developed
products use to execute Landmark applications. However, the tools that allow
users to extend the platform to build their own applications have yet to be
released. That capability is coming, according to Mathur.
"Our goal is to provide that in the very near future," Mathur said.
For CUE, Lawson has developed more applications and its new user interface
using the Landmark platform. The company's Strategic HCM
System is a suite of applications available to both S3 and M3 users. It
includes talent management, work force management and human resource management
The suite uses Landmark to, for example, expose Lawson Process Language to
different sites on the Internet like Facebook. If a company develops a widget
that links HCM to a Facebook page, users can
take advantage of Web 2.0 social networking capabilities to let friends and
colleagues know about open positions within the company.
The HCM Suite also utilizes Smart
Office-an "intuitive, personalized user interface [also built on Landmark]
that allows users to directly access Lawson and Microsoft applications and
updates data pervasively," according to Lawson.
Coupled with Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation, which Smart Office
was developed around, users are able to access Excel, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint
and Groove from their Lawson ERP (enterprise resource planning) and business
At the same time, because of the underlying development platforms, Lawson
can support "virtually limitless business processes using Microsoft
applications," company officials said.
According to Mathur, in addition to releasing the tools that will enable
users to develop their own applications using Landmark, the company will
continue to develop stand-alone Landmark-based applications like HCM
and Smart Office.
"We have a lot in the works," he said. "All I can tell you is
that we have a number of products in development, which we would be announcing
as we move into the future with Landmark."
But with three years of development under Lawson's belt prior to the 2005
announcement of Landmark, and another three years tacked on and still no
developer tools, the question remains: How soon will customers be able to
utilize the Landmark environment?