Lawson announced at its CUE user conference last year that it would standardize on IBMs middleware platform moving forward.
Its done that with Release 9, which includes IBMs WebSphere Application Server ND 6.0, Tivoli Directory Server 6.0 and DB2 Universal Database Enterprise Edition 8.2—though the latter two implementations are optional.
Release 9 also brings to the table an upgraded suite of applications, as well as enhanced business intelligence and business process management capabilities (which are predicated on IBMs middleware).
The suite also brings together a number of disparate applications, tools and technology efforts under a single version.
Release 9, while a major step forward for Lawson, actually is an incremental step in the companys SOA evolution.
As a suite, it prepares users for Landmark, Lawsons next-generation suite of applications due on a rolling basis this year, that are themselves designed using services-based concepts.
"We are not big fans of big bang," said Maher Hakim, senior vice president of product strategy at Lawson, in St. Paul, Minn.
"We have always taken our clients through a transition path. Release 9 is an incremental step, but also a foundation to moving toward SOA. Its a big deal for us."
The idea with installing Release 9, which is actually a compilation of six different suites, is that when users start to upgrade to Landmark, those applications should plug and play nicely with the Release 9 foundation.
The six applications that compose the suite include Enterprise Financials, Human Capital Management and Supply Chain Management on the applications side of the house (all of which have functionality upgrades).
The technology and tools side includes LSF (Lawson System Foundation)—essentially IBM and Lawson tools combined to help users run, manage and monitor their system; Business Intelligence to mine data, report and do analytics; and a Business Process Management suite that includes tools to modify, adopt and customize applications, according to Hakim.
As part of the business applications upgrade with Release 9, Lawson is announcing its namesake Performance Management application that helps users align employee performance with organizational results, officials said.
In the SCM suite, new procurement card capabilities allow users to use credit cards in making purchases.
On the financial front, Release 9 brings a handful of upgrades including more functionality to help users comply with Sarbanes-Oxley Act sections 404 and 409.
Business Intelligence 9, announced in November last year, has a "bursting" capability that reduces time spent creating, dividing and distributing multiple copies of reports. Automated workflow controls and proactive notifications are also included.
The upgraded Business Process Management Suite 9 helps users manage processes from design, security and integration to application configuration, officials said.
And while Lawson has replaced some of its proprietary tools in the LSF layer, it is also bundling DB2.
"We would like our clients to have everything they need, and to have one source of contact," said Hakim.
"Since we are selling the car, we would like our customers to buy [all the parts] through us."