Lawson Talks Back

Not everyone is a fan of the just-announced planned acquisition of Lawson Software by Infor and Golden Gate Software Holdings Inc. In a post on her “In Full Bloom” blog, tech consultant Naomi Bloom describes Infor as “an ERP graveyard” where “old software goes to die, to be milked for its installed base’s maintenance revenues, with only modest, ongoing upgrades.” She further writes “I could be very wrong, and I surely hope I am.”

A spokesman for Lawson takes issue with that view. “No disrespect to Naomi, but that’s a dated perception of Infor,” says Terry Blake, Lawson’s vice president for corporate communications, during a brief phone interview earlier today. “The experts in this space really need to understand what Infor is doing these days.”

The company has a new management team in place and a “vision” that involves delivering “even more applications to customers,” he says.

“Infor is in no way an infrastructure vendor, they’re not trying to be a stack provider–they’re focused on applications,” adds Blake.

Infor’s new CEO, Charles Phillips, plans to rebrand Infor as a competitor to SAP and Oracle, says Blake. A number of Lawson customers have expressed support for the acquisition, he adds. “Infor’s track record is to acquire and keep products–they don’t necessarily try, like Oracle, to put someone into some type of Fusion re-do of existing applications.”  

Lawson customers have also expressed concern as to whether their “investments will be protected and whether there is a ‘plan, going forward, for the products I have?’ ” says Blake. “Our response is, Infor has put forward a commitment to continue investing in products and providing customers with a path to future products.”

Although a recent article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (Lawson is based in St. Paul, Minn.) speculated that up to 25 percent of Lawson’s 700 or so headquarters staff would be let go as part of the acquisition, Blake says no personnel announcements have been made and most likely won’t be made until after the deal closes, which he anticipates will likely occur in the third quarter of this year

Infor is planning to hire 400 additional software engineers in the near future, according to an Infor press release annoucing the acquisition.  It also plans to ship 60 percent more products and enhancements compared to last year.

Infor and Lawson are a good fit because each will complement the other’s strengths, says Blake. “Lawson has some presence in the gaming industry but Infor is very strong in that industry, while Lawson has a very strong HCM suite that Infor does not have, so there are many opportunities for customers of both companies to benefit.”