January 2003 Minimize

January 2003

The LawsonGuru Letter is a free periodic newsletter containing provocative commentary about issues important to the Lawson Software community.  The LawsonGuru Letter is published by-and is solely the opinion of-John Henley of Decision Analytics.  Visit Decision Analytics at https://www.danalytics.com.  For subscription information, see the bottom of this message.
The LawsonGuru Letter is not affiliated with Lawson Software.

In this issue:
1. Easy Does It
2. Focus: Testing, 1, 2, 3
3. It's the Real Thing
4. Reader feedback
5. Survey Results
6. Lawson tips & tricks

Thanks to everyone who responded to last month's questions on how well this newsletter is meeting your needs. The vast majority of you think the letter is perfect as is, so I'll leave it that way. There were no strong opinions for an HTML version. If you prefer one, I post an HTML version of each issue at  https://www.danalytics.com/guru/letter/.


1. Easy Does It
A few months ago, I wrote about becoming a "process enterprise", which is one of the nine themes in Michael Hammer's book "The Agenda".  This month, I want to talk about another of his themes: becoming "easier to do business with".  [Read More...]

No one responded to my challenge in the last issue to name the department store I described (and which live animals they had on display). Time to up the ante.  Be the first one to respond correctly to both questions, and I'll treat you and your guest to lunch at the restaurant of your choice.  (Offer valid in the US only).  Send your answer to mailto:comments@lawsonguru.com.

2. Focus: Testing, 1, 2, 3
Testing is not only vital to the success of a software development project; it's a vital ingredient for a successful implementation.  Here are some of my thoughts on testing. [Read More...]

Worthwhile Reading
Destructive Criticism: Do performance reviews make the grade?
Fortune Small Business, December 2002

Fact Tables and Dimension Tables: The logical foundation of dimensional modeling
(Ed: A gentle intro to basics of OLAP)
Intelligent Enterprise, January 1, 2003

Process Power: The latest process management tools put business users in control
CIO Magazine, January 1, 2003

Partial Clearing: Budgeting software isn't the key to corporate finance reform, but it can help CFOs manage expectations in a sinking economy.
CFO Magazine, December 2002

High Availability Has Come a Long Way on Windows
ENT, December 9, 2002
(Ed: ENTmag.com is a site covering Microsoft in the enterprise, so this article may appear somewhat biased)

3. It's the Real Thing
Not a Lawson story, per se, but an important one nonetheless.  As you've probably figured out by now, I'm a stickler for meaningful business value, and purposeful processes.  [Read More...] 

"He who rejects change is the architect of decay.  The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery."
- Harold Wilson

4. Reader feedback

I received some great responses on the last issue.  In particular, the feature on the need for improvement in quality and responsiveness of Lawson's support process hit a nerve with some customers:

  • "Nice job on the J.D. Edwards/Lawson quality section.  I hope Lawson does take your message to heart, but I don't believe they will.  A PO30 issue we had just got fixed after 2 months of bantering ... although Lawson did create a clean-up job to catch all the orphaned records associated with this bug, it took too long and created too much frustration in our organization, ultimately reaching the desk of the CEO."
  • "I have been surveyed a number of times and so have the people in my company.  EVERYTIME I am surveyed, it is in reference to a call that has been answered on the phone very quickly on the first call.  They never survey me on calls that have dragged on for months.  Each time they go through their series of question I tell them - yes, I got good response on this call, but I want to tell you about the dozen other calls that are still hanging that no one seems to care about. I suspect (okay - I am positive) that all that goes into the survey results is the case number that they were calling on.  So their survey results, in my opinion, are due to very careful selection on which cases they choose to include in the survey."
  • "You are right on the mark concerning Lawson.  Lawson does not want to hear anything negative (which is impossible in the software business).  I unfortunately feel that Lawson will never get the message.  The minute they went public was the last time they thought of the axiom 'A Customer for life'."
  • "I also agree that Lawson is quickly becoming customer unfriendly.  In the last couple of projects, the word lawsuit has been heard more often than normal.  A lot of this has to due with 8.0 being released way to soon.  The technical WEB bolt-ons were just not ready.  Lawson is still having problems with RMI and Portal."

Continue to send your comments to mailto:comments@lawsonguru.com

Collaboration Means Profits
A new Deloitte Consulting survey of 300 executives indicates that companies that link partners and suppliers to their internal business processes report 70% greater profitability than companies that haven't integrated.
Information Week, December 2, 2002

5. Survey Results

I got some AWESOME responses to last month's survey, in which you were asked to make ONE (and only ONE!) wish for a change to Lawson's software. Some of the ideas you sent in:

  • "Eliminate the old mainframe user interface FC (function code) for identifying a record to be edited."
  • "I have always wanted a calendering ability in Asset Management.  Example: You have your fleet vehicles in AM.  You know the purchase price, the repair expenditures, the LTD depreciation, but can you tell me when I need to change the oil?  Can you tell me the last time I rotated the tires?  Don't have fleet vehicles?  How about hospital equipment, then?  When does the warranty expire on my X-ray machine?  When is it time to rebuild my blood transfusion machine?  Not a hospital? How about office equipment?  When does my software licensing expire?  When did I upgrade the OS on a workstation?  When was the last time I changed my fax cartridge?  When is the next scheduled service on my copier?"
  • "I would love to see laua enhanced with search capabilities and the ability to copy chunks of definitions between product lines and into existing security classes."
  • "My one wish is that they would re-write the AC/BR modules.  These were written piecemeal (and continue to be developed that way) as Lawson attempts to enter different markets (i.e. professional service or government contracting). In re-writing the modules, they should take a good look at the big picture - how it affects other modules and what improvements are needed in the other modules to get the proper information into and out of the system.  Finally, Lawson support people need to understand the entire integration of ALL of the modules."

All of these are excellent suggestions! To our Lawson readers: that these are YOUR customers-asking YOU to act on these suggestions!
If you still haven't sent in your ONE wish, send it to me at mailto:survey@lawsonguru.com.

6. Lawson Tips & Tricks
If you have a tip you'd like to share, send it to mailto:tips@lawsonguru.com.
a. Displaying Pictures/Images of Inventory Items in SEA Requisition Self Service
(Thanks to Brian Carr at Vinnell Corporation for sharing this tip).

[Read More...]

b. Troubleshooting a pgmdef "coredump"

(Thanks to Mark Burneskis of AT&T Government Solutions for allowing me to share this tip).

Had a client where pgmdef would "coredump" (on Solaris) if you tried to add new programs. No other problems with pgmdef, and pgmload worked just fine.

The client had recently "tightened-up" some Unix permissions (specifically attempting to control the Lawson-mandated belief that "world" access be required for every file on the entire system).
Would you believe changing permissions on the following files caused pgmdef to not work?  pgmdef is owned by lawson and somehow needed to be able to read the following files:
# cd /var/adm
# ls -la *tmp*
-rw-r----- 1 root root 0 Dec 2 11:26 utmp
-rw-r----- 1 root root 4464 Dec 9 12:22 utmpx
-rw-r----- 1 root root 360 Dec 6 17:16 wtmp
-rw-r----- 1 root root 125736 Dec 9 12:22 wtmpx
# chmod 664 wtmp*;chown adm:adm wtmp*
# chmod 644 utmp*;chown root:bin utmp*
# ls -la *tmp*
-rw-r--r-- 1 root bin 0 Dec 2 11:26 utmp
-rw-r--r-- 1 root bin 4464 Dec 9 12:22 utmpx
-rw-rw-r-- 1 adm adm 360 Dec 6 17:16 wtmp
-rw-rw-r-- 1 adm adm 125736 Dec 9 12:22 wtmpx

The LawsonGuru Letter is a free periodic newsletter containing provocative commentary about issues important to the Lawson Software community. The LawsonGuru Letter is published by--and is solely the opinion of--John Henley of Decision Analytics.  Visit Decision Analytics at https://www.danalytics.com.To subscribe, send an email to: mailto:letter-subscribe@lawsonguru.com To be removed from the subscription list, send to: mailto:letter-unsubscribe@lawsonguru.com

© Copyright 2003, Decision Analytics. All rights reserved. Please share The LawsonGuru Letter in whole or in part as long as copyright and attribution are always included.

Decision Analytics is an independent consultancy, focusing on Lawson technical projects, and specializing in customization/modification, data conversion, and integration/interfaces (including BCI/Mercator).  Please visit https://www.danalytics.com for more information.

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