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Infor Lawson Payroll and HR Software Review


Infor's Lawson HCM Software—Product Review

Diving deep into Lawson's products first requires an understanding of how Lawson segments its payroll and HR software solutions. To begin, business software offerings fall within two main lines: M3 and S3. Capitalizing on the phrase "Make, Move, and Maintain", M3 applications include: customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, manufacturing resource planning (MRP) software, and enterprise asset management systems. On the other side, driven by the phrase "Staff, Source, and Serve", S3 applications include: financial management technology, HR software, supply chain management systems, and business intelligence. Of course, Lawson also segments functionality based on industry-specific criteria (e.g. Product Lifecycle Management for Fashion companies), but the focus for our software review is the S3 line, further culled down to Lawson's Human Capital Management (HCM) software solution.

Under the Lawson HCM system there are three distinct HR software suites:

  • Lawson Human Resource Management: which consists of the modules of Absence Management; Benefits Administration; Employee and Manager Self-Service; Human Resources; Payroll; Personnel Administration; and Resource Navigator.
  • Lawson Talent Management: which consists of software modules for Compensation Management; Global Human Resources; Goal Management; Learning & Development; Performance Management; Succession Management; and Talent Acquisition.
  • Lawson Workforce Management (for health care and gaming): which consists of software modules of Scheduling & Staffing and TimeOff Planner.

While not nearly as complex as some vendors, as is the case with several HR software providers (most notably Oracle), Lawson's separation of key HR software feature sets appears illogical and geared more towards sales purposes than customer needs. For example, global capabilities are only available through purchase of specific Talent Management software modules. Likewise, as has been seen by some other vendors, Performance and Goal Management are artificially separated in the Lawson HCM software. Nevertheless, this HR software system could be a considerably solid solution for the right company, with features and capabilities described below.

Absence Management Software

An alternative to the Workforce Management software suite features that were specifically designed for healthcare and gaming, the Absence Management software is set up to provide a comprehensive feature set for managing employee leave. Functionalities include: automated enrollments/updates (based on employee group membership and eligibility rules); flexible accrual options (including balance tracking/management for multiple positions); FMLA leave tracking; drill-down analytic capabilities for leave trends; and optional integrations with Payroll, General Ledger and Project/Activity Accounting.

Payroll Software

Fully integrated with the ancillary Lawson solutions of Absence Management, Personnel Administration, Benefits Administration, Financials and Accounts Payable, Lawson's rule-based Payroll software offers a simple and scalable solution with simultaneous payroll run capability; flexible adjustments; automated payout processes and tax assignments; compliance with U.S. and Canadian statutory requirements; and multiple agency identifiers.

While Lawson's payroll management feature set does aid in compliance-driven issues, including reminders, calculators, and built-in reference charts, the fact of the matter is that the vendor's solution provides at best slightly lower than average capabilities. In particular, the functionality for self-service is lacking and only provides a basic view of payroll. Although the compensation management module does pick up some of this slack, organizations needing robust payroll capabilities will likely find this Lawson software element to be under-whelming.

Employee and Manager Self-Service

A newer standard across many HR software solutions, Employee/Manager Self-Service software allows users to review, modify and act upon relevant HR data from a single, online access point. Lawson Employee and Manager Self-Service is no different and features the basic capabilities for employees of: personal information access; benefits enrollment; career exploration; credentials management; and payroll information viewing (including the ability to craft "what-if" statements based on variable total compensation factors). Managers have the added functionality of: on-demand access for direct report data; job requirement gap analysis capabilities; streamlined requisition and hiring process approval routing; time/attendance tracking and approval; competency updating; integration with analytics, training, performance, and compensation management modules (including Lawson's Compensation and Headcount/Turnover data marts); and the ability to initiate personnel actions in accordance with organization-defined standard processes (through the ProcessFlow Integrator).

Human Resources Software

Actually comprised of two separate software modules (Benefits Administration and Personnel Administration), the Human Resources software module is a great example of giving unnecessary flexibility; and for most companies simply results in an additional charge for a module that has no discernible reason for segmentation. In other words, the Personnel Administration module appears to be exactly what most customers would assume is a traditional HR administration module—tasked with position management and used as the data repository for the other HCM system components. That said, features for both of these modules are as follows:

  • Personnel Administration: This module provides the features sets of employee updating/tracking; promotion/transfer management; and employee/manager self-service module integration. In addition, this module provides one of the HCM software industry's best examples of an integrated Health & Safety component—allowing for the tracking, monitoring, and reporting of accident-related medical information, work restrictions, accommodations, costs, and compliance reporting. Further, this software provides a simplified version of a training management system—allowing course set-up, scheduling, registration, and credentialing for both required and optional employee training. The bulk of this module however is dedicated to position management, and features a full range of position control elements such as: multiple active positions per employee; mass change capabilities; advanced headcount and FTE budgeting (with salary encumbrance features); user-defined position defaulting rules; and user-defined event lists for automatic updates.
  • Benefits Administration: This module provides complete automation of enrollment, payroll deductions, plan updates and regulatory reporting for U.S. and Canadian compliance requirements. Further features include eligibility criteria definition capabilities; self-service and payroll software integration; future-date enrollment options; notification triggers; integration with Lawson Financials for billing; and a reporting feature set to handle analytics on items such as plan premiums vs. participation. While solid for North American companies, this software is seriously lacking in terms of global functionality, especially when compared with other industry leading and lagging solutions—a surprising fact given Lawson's size and scope as a worldwide HR software solution.

Resource Navigator

Though housed as a separate module, the Lawson Resource Navigator is simply the communications and service component of the self-service module—providing on-demand, personalized HR communications in support of the employee life-cycle. Available configured for employees, line managers, or HR professionals, this module allows information to be delivered on a host of HR-related issues, depending on the user's role.

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