Lawson Integrates ERP With Domino

With the release of Lawson Insight, Lawson Software (Minneapolis) has designed a business management system to integrate tightly with Lotus Domino, providing Web and Notes users with real-time access to a range of the company's enterprise applications.

Previously known as Lawson Enterprise/400, the new Lawson Insight 7.0 is compatible with Release 4.62 and newer of Domino, including Release 5. Insight 7.0 -- scheduled for general availability on March 31, 1999 -- includes three main components and several technology features new to the AS/400 platform.

Insight's main components include: Connector, Designer and Desktop. Insight Connector is used by desktop developers to link Domino with Lawson's ERP software package, according to Dean Hager, director of marketing & strategic initiatives with Lawson's AS/400 unit. "Connector improves the interface between Lawson and Domino, as well as the capability to deploy Lawson [software] on the Web," he says.

Designer reads system meta data for the purpose of facilitating the deployment of applications with Lotus Domino, according to Hager. The Desktop component manages financials, procurement, supply chain and human resources, and contains more than 3,000 forms.

Technology features introduced to Lawson AS/400 users with Insight 7.0 include: self-evident applications (SEA), Web self-service centers, activity-based management and Drill Around.

SEA is Lawson's browser-based information access capability, designed to reduce costs associated with employee training. Web self-service centers leverage SEA to provide Internet- or intranet-accessible stations for employees. Activity-based management allows companies to record and measure the profitability of individual projects in order to analyze their cost-efficiency. Drill Around is a Lawson information access feature allowing users to find and analyze information throughout integrated enterprise applications.

Insight's integration with Domino is expected to be a key motivator in migration to the new product. "Domino will help some users skip from 5250 green screen emulation directly to Domino Web-based interfaces," Hager says.

Richard Lawson, president and chief operating officer (COO) of Lawson, agrees, saying, "Simplicity will drive users to this technology." Lawson also feels the integration of Domino with its products will help alleviate IT staffing burdens. "This shifts the requirement of personnel from Lawson-specific skills to Domino-specific skills, which are easier for companies to find."

Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. (Bridgewater, N.J.) has been using Lawson enterprise software since 1995 and introduced Notes to its system in October of 1998. The goal is to access the ERP system through Domino, according to Richard Alfonso, associate director of corporate systems for Phillips-Van Heusen. The combination of Domino and Lawson software will provide a "marriage of workflow and ERP," he says. "Turnover is tremendous in retail. We're interested in saving time and paperwork, so it's important that our solution run end-to-end."

Alfonso is looking to begin implementation of a Domino/Insight system during the third quarter of this year, although he is not yet certain that Phillips-Van Heusen will upgrade to Domino R5 in 1999.

In other Lawson news, the company plans to integrate Insight with IBM's DB2 Universal Database. The agreement is expected to extend Lawson's current support of DB2/400 for the AS/400 to support across all IBM hardware -- including NT, RS/6000 and S/390. Commercial availability of this initiative is scheduled for November 1999.