An Independent HR & Payroll Software Review and Analysis
Uncovering the Details of Lawson HR Software
Headquartered in St. Paul, MN, Lawson Software is a global company with 4,500+ customers in over 40 countries. While currently owned by software giant Infor, Lawson has been delivering business management solutions for over 4 decades—an enviable history that has seen the company morph 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. As such, throughout the enterprise software company's history, the original mission set forth by founders Richard Lawson, Bill Lawson, and John Cerullo has remained front and center—"Provide the best business applications to customers by taking full advantage of the latest technologies."
In turn, this business focus on strategically wielding technology led the company to accolades from Forrester, IDC, and a host of other analysts for providing solid (and in some cases leading) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Human Capital Management (HCM) software solutions. These favorable reviews boosted sales and allowed for Lawson to make market movements such as the 2006 merger with Sweden-based ERP provider Intentia; the 2006 acquisition of Competency Assessment Solutions; the 2010 purchase of Healthvision; and the $70M 2010 investment in Enwisen (a competing HR software vendor). Aside from increasing revenues, these moves also pushed the number of Lawson's employees to 4,200+ and allowed for staff deployments to 40+ countries around the world.
Unfortunately these triumphs have been tempered with other news as well; including the company's misstep of underestimating market forces such as SaaS—a move that the company is still recovering from today in both an operational as well as a public relation sense. Still perhaps no other news instilled pause or cooled customer sentiment for Lawson more than the company's acquisition in June 2011 by Infor Global Solutions and Golden Gate Capital—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). In large part due to their own lack of transparency, Infor's reputation is mixed to stay the least. To some it is an investment house with a strong portfolio of business software brands while to others it is a business software graveyard. Long-time Lawson customers were justifiably concerned that the business software solutions many had used since the 1980s would be stagnating or disappearing. Further, with Larry Dunivan's departure (SVP of Lawson HCM) to Ceridian, payroll and HR software customers incurred anxiety about whether new leadership would be up to the task.
Fortunately for Lawson, Infor's newest executives have exhibited more of a helping hand approach, and have largely left Lawson to develop on its own; providing support as more of a silent partner rather than the overbearing boss that the customer and analyst community thought it may be. Among others, this hands-off approach has been extremely positive for Lawson's partners—a community that extends from channels (for reselling, implementation, and support in markets or geographies not supported by Lawson) to services (including system integrator partners, staff augmentation services, as well as direct services) to products (offering software and hardware technology which enhances or enables the Lawson solution). These partner ecosystems, along with the millions of customers that leverage Lawson software products have buoyed the company during its trying times. Now though, with newly refreshed leadership at the helm and a healthy influx of capital to help fund R&D, Lawson is on its way back up—releasing new iterations of payroll and HR software products and proving it's not too late for an old dog to learn new tricks. Even Lawson's legacy HR system (Lawson HCM) has received new innovations—now on release 10.0.0.0 and reviewed in more granular detail herein.
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