May 2003

The LawsonGuru Letter is a free periodic newsletter providing provocative commentary on 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  For subscription information, see the bottom of this message.
The LawsonGuru Letter is not affiliated with Lawson Software.

In this issue:
1. Guest Spot: Version 8 Invoice Matching
2. CUE in Review
3. Life After Lawson?
4. Reader feedback
5. Survey: CUE Favorites
6. Lawson Tips & Tricks

1. Guest Spot: Version 8 Invoice Matching
(by Bill Ianni, Independent Lawson Consultant; contact Bill at

So you've decided to implement Version 8 Invoice Matching. You were told that Lawson has completely overhauled the application and the new module bears no resemblance to that old, difficult Version 7 system. The new Matching system will streamline processes by introducing a rules-based approach to decision logic - quite a contrast to Version 7 where you processed each invoice on a case-by-case basis. Well Guru, there's a few things you should know before leaping in.

First, just because new functionality becomes available does not mean that we put common sense to the side and turn on functionality before having proper procedures and disciplines in place. For example, Chargebacks are unquestionably the single greatest improvement in the new module. Finally there's a method for capturing the original distribution for overbill scenarios rather than plugging the differences to some generic tolerance account. Chargebacks update the Asset and Activity, and can be default with zero user intervention! Sounds great! Better make sure Procurement has Vendor Agreements signed, sealed and delivered first though. Otherwise, you'll be spending your days fielding phone calls from angry vendors.

Actually, there's quite a bit of forethought required when designing Procurement so that it will properly support your Matching set up. For example, you have to place Service items on their own PO's and not mix them with other Item types. Otherwise, AP staff has to jump through hoops to match Services. For the other Item types, you had better thoroughly test various unit-of-measure scenarios.
The Rule Group set up can be difficult to swallow - so many options!! What I really love is the Line Invoice Match. This is presented as the 'middle of the road' match option; one step further than Version 7 matching, yet, not quite the full ambition of the Detail Match option. Oh, but if you wanted to be able to match partial's, or take advantage of Messaging, you can't use it. In the end, the Rule Group set up only works well with a very specific approach.

And what of the new Messaging functionality? Where does it say in the documentation that each of the Messaging systems is independent of the others? Try turning them all on at once and see what happens. What you'll end up with is the same cost discrepancies looping through the Matching process two or three times! What does a Message do exactly anyway. It doesn't update the cost on the invoice, and you may still have to go back and adjust it. As far as I can tell, it's an automated way to interrupt the Payables process to alert someone that a manual process must take place before the invoice can be paid. Fact: only some of the Messages are designed to reach an actual conclusion.

You'll also want to implement some custom reports to effectively manage the message queues. The standard MA264 and PO251 reports are grossly inadequate, and you'll end up needing to pull 4 or 5 of the canned reports to paint a picture of what's going on.   Receivers need to know which Receivers to release and/or how to process the Returns that the Buyers create when they respond to messages.  AP needs to know which chargebacks the Buyers have created for their messages, and so on. 

Want to circumvent the Match process and pay the invoice without matching it? No problem, there's a form for that. All you have to do is enter, release, post and pay. Just watch out for the Receipt when it eventually comes in. It'll continue to accrue with the month end job (PO135), and you'll have the charges post a second time. That's right, one purchase and two hits to that expense account. Enron could have used this system.

To date, there have been thousands of patches created for the Version 8 Matching application. That sure seems like a lot. But if I seem disappointed, I assure you I am not. I find the new module far superior to the old. However, if, under Version 7, you had few procedures, loose PO policies and poor interdepartmental communication, don't think you're going to turn on this new Matching module and it's going to fix all that.

To download a copy of this article, as well as some matching process procedures, please visit (web site registration required).

2. CUE in Review
I enjoyed meeting with many of you (including some, ahem, who didn't yet know about the LawsonGuru Letter, or those of you who were perhaps afraid to admit it!). I'm hoping that by next year's CUE, perhaps Lawson will give me a press pass, and I can get a seat in the front row! [Read More...]

B-To-B Purchasing Card Boost
"MasterCard hopes a new system will encourage customers to make more use of its corporate purchasing cards, giving the company a larger share of the $32 trillion-a-year business-to-business purchasing market, says Phil Philliou, VP of E-business and emerging technologies. A MasterCard e-P3 adapter installed on businesses' accounts-payable and purchasing systems would let company buyers post purchase orders on a private Web site."
Source: Information Week, April 14, 2003
[Ed: Interestingly, Lawson still doesn't seem interested in p-cards!]

3. Life After Lawson?
In last month's issue, I jokingly quoted myself (hey, it was April Fools Day!), saying, "The world revolves around Lawson". I use this pet phrase to explain the often-bewildering ways in which Lawson does some things. What may appear to be a bone-headed decision may be--in Lawson's view--the best way to do something, especially when you're seeing the world only through Lawson's own eyes.
Several of you misread this, thinking that my consulting was limited only to Lawson, forsaking everything else and resigning myself to a Lawson-centered life! Rest assured that this is not the case; however I do admit that sometimes I do become a little too "Lawson-myopic".
For a different view, let's turn to Bill McCarthy. Some of you know Bill McCarthy, who helped manage the Lawson practice at BalraeUSC (later netASPx). After hearing Gen. Schwarzkopf's talk about leadership at CUE, I remembered one of the valuable lessons I learned from Bill. I was a subcontractor to BalraeUSC, and I was rather wary of making decisions that affected them without their management's input. After consulting Bill for his concurrence on the umpteenth decision, he said, "John, stop asking me--I trust you implicitly to make these decisions, which is why I put you in charge of this project".
Bill has since moved on to a new position, and for some time he has been telling me that there really is a life beyond Lawson-so I challenged him to fill us in:
"I am no longer in the "Lawson World" but I enjoy reading the LawsonGuru Letters. Besides bringing back memories (including some that are not great), it helps me focus on some things that I am doing now. I installed Lawson full suites as PM from 1995 - 2001, but I'm currently involved in a Siebel CRM implementation in a city with 9,000,000 clients (citizens) and a PeopleSoft HRMS system for 900,000 employees / retirees. The issues are different but the same.
There are no perfect systems; no ERP corporate application support that can keep up with how all their clients use the system. What is consistent is that things will not always work the way they are advertised, everything needs to be upgraded regularly and often not without significant trauma. There is no substitute for qualified people, documented baselines and thorough testing.
When I was installing Lawson, I found that in evaluating engagements that went well against those that didn't go so well, the single most important factor was strong professional project management. That hasn't changed as I have changed environments. A strong PM is a necessity and can be in the form of a client employee, software vendor or consultant.
Having been involved in somewhere around 50 engagements, I believe in methodology but not to the extent that it is a burden. Consistent processes, focused people and clearly defined roles and expectations are important. Planning and scheduling lets you know where you are at any given time, where you thought you would be and where your problem areas are on a week-by-week basis. Put this together with committed management and there is a reasonable expectation of success.
Remember that a project that never has a problem isn't just a lucky fluke; somebody knows what he or she is doing. Communicate with everyone, don't do anything in secret, involve the immediate world and make sure there is a leader. Never be hesitant to ask for help.
Lawson was fun but I think I graduated. New opportunities, new challenges, same problems."

"True leaders give the credit and take the blame."
- Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf (Ret.) - CUE 2003 Keynote Speaker

4. Reader feedback

Send your comments to

"First, I want to say I greatly appreciate your newsletter. I found the article about Six Sigma interesting. The problem with most of these methodologies is that we live in a world where there is no time or money to spend on much beyond producing whatever product we are in the business of producing. Whatever happened to CMM? At least I think that's what it was called--great idea, but again expensive at the bottom-line."

Worthwhile Reading

The Six Best Practices: What Leading CIOs Do
CIO Magazine, April 1, 2003

ERP: Bulletproof No More
A security flaw in a PeopleSoft application may presage more holes in enterprise resource planning software.
Baseline Magazine, April 2003,3959,1007045,00.asp

America's Classic Companies
Compelling tales of creation from the entrepreneurs who've changed American Life.
Fortune Small Business, April 2003

Calculating Costs of Enterprise Application Integration
Baseline Magazine, April 2003,3959,1015909,00.asp

Don't Bridge The Business-IT Divide: Obliterate It!
EAI Journal, April 2003

Sarbanes-Oxley: Tech to the Rescue?
Sarbox is just one of many new regulatory requirements companies face. Can IT help?
CFO IT, Spring 2003,5317,8952,00.html

5. Survey: CUE Favorites
So, if you went to CUE (or even if you didn't, and you just heard about it from someone who diid), what did you think? I told you what I saw (and didn't see) at CUE. Now, it's your turn.

Tell us about your CUE experiences. What did you like? What didn't you like? How about the sessions and exhibits? The food? The night at Universal? Did you take back a lot of new information? Did you meet new people who work in related industries?  Did you get energized about how you can use Lawson better?  Send me your

6. Lawson Tips & Tricks
Share your tips. Send them to

Moving Printer Definitions between Environments
Q: How do you dump printer definitions from one environment to another?
A: Use rngdbdump on the printer file in GEN database.

In the source environment:
rngdbdump -c GEN printer > printer.csv
then in the target environment, use:
importdb gen printer printer.csv

You will still need to some work, i.e. set up printer groups, etc., but at least you won't have to create all the printers again in the new environment.

The LawsonGuru Letter is a free periodic newsletter providing provocative commentary on 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 To subscribe, send an email to: To be removed from the subscription list, send to:

© 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.  Please visit for more information.

Decision Analytics. Integrating Lawson with the Real World.