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Lawson HCM Software Review


Lawson Technology Review

Capable of being deployed as a managed, hosted, or installed on-premise solution, Lawson HCM is largely database and operating system neutral, supporting Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and IBM DB2 databases, and several OSs. The rest of Lawson's software technology though is a subject of great interest given its changing nature. As illuminated before, the Lawson team has (with certain exceptions) striven to stay on top of technology trends—leveraging open, standards-based (TCP/IP, HTTP, Java, HTML, XML, and SOAP) software. Even though a great deal of Lawson's technology is outdated (for instance the company's S3 line remains in large part on a COBOL base), Lawson's current platform, Lawson System Foundation, combines that technology with middleware from IBM—netting a solution that preserves hardware platform choice and provides the foundation (no pun intended) for next-generation Lawson applications.

That said, along with ION (Lawson's newest middleware offering), Lawson Landmark is the company's newest technology environment. Leveraging Java-based code, Landmark will offer a backbone of J2EE-compliant Web services for SOAs running on industry-standard platforms, such as IBM WebSphere. Because Landmark will also support key standards such as WSDL, XML, and SOAP, this new environment should enable Lawson to rapidly develop new services without the usual lengthy product development cycle; while at the same time enabling users to incorporate Lawson applications and components into new composite systems.

Lawson HCM System Integration Capabilities

A web services-capable solution (based on SOA), Lawson ProcessFlow Integrator is available within both the Lawson S3 and M3 Enterprise Management Systems and customers can leverage this feature to help automate manual processes and create electronic workflows based on business rules. Further, users can also adjust those automated processes with Lawson ProcessFlow Designer component, which uses a graphical user interface (and drag-and-drop functionality) to build and alter flows without the need to understand programming languages or undertake custom coding; in large part thanks to the fact that the integration process logic exists in the Lawson ProcessFlow Integrator application.

Using the embedded application IBM WebSphere Transformation Extender, the Lawson ProcessFlow Integrator simplifies integration of Lawson applications with non-Lawson systems by essentially "unlocking" data from where it resides and allowing that data to be used within another application. Additionally, newer Lawson features expand on these functionalities through options such as: Resource Update (which allows for automatic user updates, additions, and deletions); XML Activity Node (which allows for XML to be built/parsed within the ProcessFlow Integrator and enables leveraging of industry standards for interface creation); and new workflow metrics (that through the ProcessFlow Integrator can identify process bottlenecks and analyze inefficiencies through Lawson Smart Notification).

Lawson HCM Software Customization Capabilities

Software customization within the Lawson HCM system can occur through a number of different routes. For one, Lawson Smart Office allows for desktop customization by allowing users to personalize information workspaces by combining MS Office tools with workflow, BI, and applications. This personalization can be taken a step further with the Lawson Mashup Designer; which offers mashup technology to combine business application screens with external content to build horizontal process-oriented views. This point-and-click tool (integrated as both a tool and a platform into Lawson Smart Office) permits new information screens to be built without programming skills by supporting a visual connection of components. In turn, this allows users to combine application data from disparate sources to create new applications, such as forms, list views, reports, visualizations, process flow triggers, user interface components (e.g. labels, tabs, buttons, and widgets), and web applications.

For those organizations looking to deploy more of a vanilla shell, Lawson also offers the option of industry-specific QuickStep solutions—pre-configured offerings designed to match up to best practices within a given industry and best suited for those organizations needing very little in the way of modifications.

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