An Independent Infor Lawson HCM and Payroll Software Review
Throughout Lawson’s four-decade history, the mission has remained at the heart of the company’s operation: "Provide the best business applications to customers by taking full advantage of the latest technologies." This mission has taken Lawson software to a global presence, counting over 5,000 customers in more than 40 countries.
Additionally, this “best” and “latest” philosophy has resulted in a number of accolades and favorable comments from analysts and industry pundits. IDC and Forrester have praised Lawson for providing solid (and in some cases vanguard) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Human Capital Management (HCM) software applications. This sort of reputation inevitably leads to growth and often times acquisition. In the case of Lawson, the company was acquired by Infor in 2011.
A History of Expansion
The Lawson history has seen a number of key transitions and stages: from fully-customized, turnkey technology solutions in the 1970s; to open-architecture technology business systems in the 1980s; to web-enabled, industry-specific applications in the 1990s; to acquisitions and an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the 2000s.
However, despite the company's longevity and technology evolution, Lawson's acquisition by Infor Global Solutions and Golden Gate Capital in mid-2011 created caution in the perceptions of both current and potential customers, not to mention industry observers and the media. Not so much the fact of the takeover, but the reality of who was taking over and the subsequent senior level management changes at Lawson.
Perhaps no other news instilled pause or cooled customer sentiment for Lawson more than the company's new owner—a move that sent shock waves through the Lawson customer base as well as the analyst community; not because of the actual fact that Lawson was acquired but rather who was taking over (and consequently who, from Lawson, would be leaving). The reputation of new owner, Infor is somewhat mixed. To some onlookers it is an investment house with a portfolio of legacy business software brands while to others it is a business software graveyard. Lawson customers were immediately concerned that their software solutions would lose investment dollars and innovation, and later become unsupported and out of date. The change in ownership coincided with the departure of Lawson SVP, Larry Dunivan, whose move to rival Ceridian added to customer concerns as they wondered whether the new leadership would be up to the task.
Fortunately for Lawson (and Lawson’s current and future client base), Infor executives have largely continued the company’s reputation and demonstrated a helping hands approach, in part by leaving Lawson to direct its own development and in part by bringing some cross company innovation to Lawson. Infor’s mostly hands-off role has also been positive for Lawson partners—a tight community that includes channels (for reselling, deployment and support in markets or geographies not supported by Lawson) to services (including system integration, staff augmentation and business transformation services) to products (offering software and hardware technology which enhances the Lawson software).
Looking to the Future
Looking ahead, Infor Lawson is in a position to build on its rich history of applying technology to business. Supported by a mature business partner network and the millions of end users that are depending on the applications, and with funding for R&D directed by fresh leadership, Lawson suggests it is ready to rise again, releasing new iterations of its HR and payroll software and proving it's never too late for an old dog to learn some new tricks.
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