Lawson Software’s M3 product has been selected by Auckland-based security products distributor Intek Security.
Intek, which employs 28 staff and has offices in Wellington and Christchurch, will deploy M3 QuickStep Distribution using preconfigured templates for quick implementation.
Bob Boniface, CEO of Intek’s parent company, Caspex Corporation, says Caspex had used software from Australian company Pronto for 10 years. It was one of the few packages that focused on the distribution business,
Caspex acquired Intek three years ago and “forced” Pronto into the business, but Boniface says it wasn’t a good fit and a three-year search for a replacement system ensued.
Boniface says half a dozen systems could have done the job, but a desire to vertically integrate and make the software available to mobile workers won the deal for Lawson. Intek wants to make the system available to customers and to mobile technicians and sales people to update sales and service records.
“That’s the dream: online and in real time,” he says.
Stephen Moore, Lawson’s ANZ managing director, says the company has around 25 users in New Zealand on Lawson’s M3 product range. He says the customer base here is closely aligned with Lawson’s target industry verticals, citing recent wins at Kumfs Shoes in the fashion vertical, ANZCO in food processing, and Sheppard Industries and Intek in distribution. He also mentions Lyttelton Port, in another target vertical of asset-intensive industries.
“They are all competitive wins,” Moore says.
Lawson has two product ranges. It’s S3 range is strong in the US, while M3 is descended from Swedish company Intentia’s Movex software, which Lawson acquired in 2006. Lawson also offers human capital management software.
Boniface says quick implementation methodology was a welcome factor in the selection, but he says that was just part of Lawson being easy to deal with.
“When we wanted to see womething, they showed it to us rather than having a better idea,” he says. “That’s a rare commodity.”
Boniface says he has had previous “unfortunate” experience with large ERP vendors.
“We know the difficulty of molding your business to systems. There is a lack of flexibility there, not just in the software, but in the mind-set,” he says.
Lawson’s CEO, Harry Debes, told Computerworld the company has been focused on improving its financial performance and the overall health of the business. Boosted revenues and profits in 2008 have seen that emphasis shift to further product differentiation in the market.
Moore says that strategy is about focusing on target verticals where Lawson is not at a disadvantage to industry giants SAP and Oracle.
Debes says Lawson has no plans to merge its two product lines, as Oracle is planning with its several acquisitions in a project called Fusion.
“There’s no advantage to us or our customers in doing a Fusion-type exercise,” he says.
“I look forward to the day when Oracle’s Fusion is announced because on that day the entire Oracle customer base becomes available to Lawson.”
Australian media are reporting Lawson has lost Bluescope Steel as a customer, but Debes says the rollout of the software had only just begun there when Bluescope acquired Smorgon, an SAP shop.
It decided to rationalise on SAP.
He says Bluescope uses M3 across Asia and is committed to the platform there.
“They are exceedingly happy, upgrading and have extended their maintenance agreement,” he says.
Debes says a multi-vendor strategy is common and keeps suppliers honest. Describing recent maintenance price increases from competitors as “outrageous”, he says if the ERP market consolidates further, as has the desktop, Oracle and SAP could further dictate terms and pricing.