Lawson Strengths and Weaknesses
Lawson’s competitive positioning in the payroll (and wider HR) software market can be summarized by highlighting the following strengths and weaknesses.
- Lawson's industry-specific software is best-in-class by virtue of the attention to sector-specific feature sets, business processes, reports and compliance requirements.
- Mobile functionality is impressive and well-suited to organizations with a disparate workforce or simply in need of location-agnostic functionality (particularly for employee and manager self-service).
- Lawson’s Business Intelligence functionality is solid and generally (with some advanced exceptions) on a par with or surpasses the feature sets available from similarly-situated vendors such as Oracle, SAP, and Workday.
- The Infor acquisition has put operations effectively in the hands of an organization that is ‘SaaS-friendly’ (as opposed to the previous Lawson CEO, Harry Debes who was directly opposed to that deployment model and even commented publicly that the SaaS market would collapse by 2010).
- Lawson’s offering is primarily based on the .NET framework and Windows Presentation Foundation, offering clients the advantages of a native Microsoft Windows application (this can be a major benefit for those familiar with the Windows user experience (UX).
- Comprehensive, integrated payroll software functionality is limited to the U.S. and Canada.
- The Lawson User Interface (UI) is yet to reflect the consumerization of IT trend, particularly in comparison with similarly-situated products.
- The majority of past innovation in Lawson’s payroll and HR products has derived from software acquisitions, creating a ‘technical debt’ for more than seven HR-related solutions.
- Database architecture is limited to single-tenant delivery, which, in the opinion of IDC analysis, "may pose a challenge to release strategy and vendor achievement of economies of scale." Key SaaS benefits – such as rapid deployment of upgrades and new versions – rely on a multi-tenant architecture; the single tenant route is often associated with a slower pace of innovation.
- Advanced human capital analytics – including data mining and predictive modeling capabilities – fall behind HR software competitors.
- Previous strategic positioning has left Lawson behind the field in terms of a viable SaaS offering; although steps are being taken to address this shortfall.
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