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Analysis of Lawson Delivering New Retail Analytic Capabilities

Written By: Predrag Jakovljevic
Published On: February 7 2000

Event Summary

On January 17, Lawson Software announced new comparative sales analyzer capabilities within its advanced suite of retail analytic applications. Comparative (comp) sales functionality, available in Lawson release 7.3.2 scheduled for the Fall of 2000, allegedly enables retailers to easily maintain, analyze and report on comparative sales and other key business metrics. Lawson made the announcement at the National Retail Federation Conference in New York.

According to Lawson, its comp sales analysis feature leverages integrated calendar functionality and the company's Self-Evident Applications (SEA) technology to make the same sales/business metrics reporting process faster and easier. The comparative analyzer eliminates the need for time-consuming spreadsheet calculations and provides more accurate information via an easily maintained setup facility that reports against the latest financial information available. The built-in flexibility of the product enables retail executives to complete "what if" analysis, such as adjusting the comparative data pool to recognize unusual scenarios like weather, regional anomalies, and operational characteristics such as store format and location, open hours, and channel.

"Lawson's comp metrics analyzer is another example of how Lawson continues to deliver technology solutions that meet the specific needs of retailers," said Robert Toatley, general manager, Retail Business Unit, Lawson Software. "Leveraging better, faster information for decision-making throughout the enterprise provides retailers with a competitive advantage. e-Commerce is prompting unprecedented changes in business models and strategies. Lawson is responding with analytic capabilities that enable retailers to measure business performance over key time periods, including daily, weekly and period-to-date. Our comp analysis solution includes options for adjusting parameters of the comparative data pool to accommodate user-defined events such as store openings and remodels."

Market Impact

Lawson has continually invested significant R&D dollars in order to deliver innovative products, often in advance of much larger competitors. The latest announcement of the incorporation of vertically focused business intelligence capabilities speaks for it. Furthermore, Lawson has demonstrated very tight industry focus and is regarded as one of the Top 3 ERP systems for Healthcare, Retail, and Professional Industries. Being privately held and independent of Wall Street pressures has allowed the company to direct its investments for development of its desired core competencies.

While we believe that Lawson's product strategy against the largest ERP vendors is on track, one should not discount fierce competition from its larger competitors, like SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and J.D. Edwards. These vendors, while possibly inferior regarding retail industry focus, will either try to influence customers purchase decisions by offering their more holistic product portfolios (including CRM modules, where Lawson is currently late-to-market) or instilling FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) in more conservative CFOs who may cast a wary eye on Lawson's immunity from financial statement disclosure.

User Recommendations

We generally recommend including Lawson in a long list of an enterprise application selection to mid-market and low end tier 1 companies (with $100M-$2B in revenue), based on a very deep understanding of customers' needs within the following industries: Financial Services; Healthcare; Professional Services; Public Sector; Retail; Wholesale Distribution; and Publishing. Organizations seeking a Web-based solution and out-of-box functionality with little or no re-engineering effort may wish to evaluate Lawson. As for the new added functionality in the retail industry, users are advised to ask for firm assurances on the availability timeframe and more detailed scope of functionality.

 

 
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