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Lawson Software Conference and User Exchange (CUE) 2006

April 11, 2006
Related Topics: Featured Article

Event: Lawson Software Conference and User Exchange (CUE) 2006

April 9-11, 2006, at the Marriott Orlando World Center Resort, Orlando, Florida

What: Starting in 1982 with a group of 20 people meeting in Minneapolis, the Lawson Conference and User Exchange has grown into a nationwide conference with more than 4,000 attendees and 500 Lawson employees.

Conference info: For more information about Lawson Software, go

Show notes: Hitting the Wall

Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Missing man: At a breakfast news conference with analysts and media, Lawson president and CEO Harry Debes answered the pressing question "What happened to Bertrand Sciard?" Sciard is the CEO of Intentia International, the Swedish software company that Lawson is acquiring. The deal is scheduled to close this month, and on Monday a postmerger management structure was announced, with Sciard set to become Lawson’s new COO. Sciard, however, was nowhere to be found at the conference, apparently leading to speculation about his absence. Debes’ response Tuesday was this: Sciard loves fast cars and racing them on a track. He apparently had a close encounter with a wall last week, leaving him with a broken leg. Debes said Sciard will be back next week and available for a Lawson road show to explain what will happen after the merger.

Other Lawson management changes: Other post-Intentia merger management changes: Lawson’s Bob Barbieri continues as CFO; product management will be led by Dean Hager, Lawson’s chief product officer; development will fall under Intentia’s Guenther Tolkmit; and global support will headed by Henning Schulze-Lauren from Intentia. In addition, Travis White, former vice president of marketing and strategic planning at J.D. Edwards, will join Lawson as senior vice president of global marketing. Lawson will continue to be based in St. Paul, Minnesota, with global operations based in Stockholm, Sweden, Intentia’s headquarters city.

Beta band: At Tuesday’s keynote presentation, chief product officer Dean Hager showed off the new Lawson 9 software upgrade, with brief presentations by two beta users from North Carolina: the city of Greensboro and Buncome County. Hager also introduced the company’s new performance management solution, which will be available later this year. It essentially allows a company to automate the performance review process. Lawson says it can cut the time it takes managers to review employees by 80 percent, and gives specific metrics and insight into what might be needed to better train and coach employees.

Show notes: Lawson Plans for the Long Term

Date: Monday April 10, 2006

Opening session: Lawson president and CEO Harry Debes said the company's financials and business execution have improved during the past year. This is good news since Lawson, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, is getting ready to complete its acquisition of Swedish software maker Intentia International in the next few weeks. The merger, announced in June, will give Lawson 4,000 customers in 40 countries, 3,600 employees, and annual combined revenue of $750 million. And the new combined company will be able to serve both service-oriented industries and manufacturing, distribution and maintenance industries. The reason for the merger, Debes said, is that it will give Lawson "richer product offerings needed for long-term growth," especially in the global arena, where Lawson has had very little presence.

After the merger: Following the close of the Intentia deal, Lawson will have two product lines--Lawson M3, which will serve the "make, move, maintain" markets currently addressed by Intentia, and Lawson S3, which will serve the "staff, source, serve" markets currently addressed by Lawson. Debes took great pains to focus on how strongly Lawson believes in supporting these two product lines in the future--a veiled reference to the concern many PeopleSoft users have about the viability of their products in the wake of Oracle’s takeover.

Familiar face on the technology speaking circuit: Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, is a fixture for HR technology audiences. I heard him talk again about the factors that go into split-second decision-making by experts--the theme of his best-seller Blink--just as I did last year at the Taleo users group meeting in Huntington Beach, California. (He was also a keynote at last year’s SHRM get-together in San Diego.) It's a good talk, well worth hearing again (and Gladwell makes sure he uses different, real-life examples to make his point), but clearly, he's making a pretty good living talking to the HR and tech crowds.

Company announcements: CEO Debes says the company’s new Lawson 9 application is the "most rapidly adopted tech release in Lawson’s 32-year history." First customers for the new product include the state of Michigan, the city of Greensboro, North Carolina, L.L Bean and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

How you know this is a technology conference: Despite all the free coffee available everywhere at this conference, one of the longest lines in the hotel was at the Starbucks in the Marriott lobby. At least 50 people were queued up, waiting patiently to get their high-priced java fix.

--John Hollon


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