Lawson CEO Promises Better ERP Apps

Lawson Software CEO Jay Coughlan announces a 1,000-day initiative to improve ERP applications and also introduces a new cash management capability for its financial suite.

In his keynote address at Lawson Softwares user conference in Atlanta this week, CEO Jay Coughlan told audience members that Lawson understands the pain of ERP (enterprise resource planning) implementations and is ready to offer help.

According to a study sponsored by Lawson, 75 percent of ERP customers of the three largest ERP providers—SAP AG, PeopleSoft Inc. and Oracle Corp—would prefer to switch to a different vendor if they had to rely on a single software provider. Lawson is at the ready to be that second choice.

"Business as usual is broken," Coughlan said in a statement. "We see good companies brought to their knees trying to implement applications that are too complicated and too cumbersome and poor fits for the business at hand."

Coughlan vowed to be a "catalyst for change" in an industry that is not working. He outlined a 1,000-day initiative underway at Lawson that will bring applications that have improved control, efficiency, productivity and bottom line benefits. Users can expect an update on the companys progress every 100 days.

To kick-start that campaign, Lawson announced a new Cash Management capability within its financial suite that is intended to improve efficiency for high-volume payment processing users like insurance companies. New functionality, available next month, automates data entry from multiple systems and streamlines cash processing.

Lawson also announced the availability of a new fuel billing application geared toward convenience stores and franchise operations that lets those organizations create individual franchise bills. The company also announced upgrades to its Retail Lease Accounting and Billing software.

The fuel billing application, co-developed with Holiday StationStores Inc., looks to address the complexity of the fuel billing process and simplifies monthly billing procedures, officials said.

The enhanced Retail Lease Accounting and Billing software, formerly named Lease Management, automates the tracking, payment and accounting of leased property and equipment. The upgrades include, for example, better calculations for modeling percentage rent functionality and scheduled rent increase/decrease functionality that allows rental expenses to be amortized over a lease term.

St. Paul, Minn.-based Lawson has been unwittingly cast in the limelight as top-tier ERP vendors Oracle and PeopleSoft battle each other relentlessly.

PeopleSoft, of Pleasanton, Calif., is fending off a $9.4 billion hostile takeover bid from Oracle. The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking a federal injunction to stop the merger on the grounds that it would be bad for competition in the software market, cutting competition at the top levels from three companies down to two.

Oracles stance is that the top levels of ERP sales go to more than itself, PeopleSoft and SAP, of Walldorf, Germany. Oracle has broadened the competitive circle to specifically include Lawson, which typically serves the mid-market.

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