Domino a Hit for ERP Vendors

It’s not enough to just have enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications anymore. Companies want to integrate those ERP applications with other specialized business applications like sales force automation, knowledge management and workflow.

Many ERP software vendors are finding that an easy way to do that is by integrating their applications with Lotus Domino.

Lawson Software recently announced an initiative to integrate its Lawson Enterprise/400 ERP applications with Domino, becoming the third ERP vendor to tie its AS/400 applications to Domino. With general availability scheduled for March 31, 1999, this integration will offer Web browser and Lotus Notes users real-time access to the Lawson Enterprise/400 applications, allowing them to navigate between core business transactions and their personal productivity or collaborative applications.

"Customers can access their Lawson ERP environment through Notes," says Randy Washington, the Lawson alliance manager at Lotus. "It doesn’t require them to deploy the Lawson 32-bit client since they can use Notes as the client. This allows them to deploy the Lawson application faster than normal."

The Lawson/Lotus integration will also allow Domino-based front-end business applications to interact with Enterprise/400 automatically. And customers will be able to build collaborative and workflow applications that interact with enterprise data from their Lawson Enterprise/400 system.

Lawson and Lotus will co-develop Lawson Enterprise/Desktop for Lotus Domino – a Notes user interface – and Lawson Enterprise/Toolkit for Lotus Domino – a customization tool.

"Applications that work with Lotus Notes will seamlessly interface with Enterprise/400," says David Freedman, VP of research and development for Lawson’s AS/400 product line. "This will round out our enterprise suite by allowing us to integrate with what people call front-office applications – workflow, knowledge management, sales force automation and other Web-enabled applications."

Lotus has similar integration partnerships in place with SAP and Infinium, with more likely on the way. According to Bart Lautenbach, Lotus group manager for application development product marketing, the five most common applications Domino developers create are document tracking, project management, internal support desk, customer support help desk and human resources.

"Those are exactly the applications ERP vendors are looking for," says Lautenbach. "They want to know how to augment their ERP applications with self-service business applications like these."

Freedman says working with Lotus Notes was a natural for extending Lawson’s ERP suite since so many of its customers already had it.

"In customer surveys and focus groups we conducted, Lotus Notes was one of the areas where most of our customer base had either already employed or was planning to employ. We haven’t found a beta customer or prospective customer who wasn’t planning to buy Lotus Notes or already had it employed," he says.