November 2005

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  For subscription information, see the bottom of this message.
The LawsonGuru Letter is not affiliated with Lawson Software.

In this issue:
1. Guest Spot: Lawson Reporting – From Silos to the Enterprise
2. When will LID go away?
3. Have you visited lately?
4. Reader Feedback
5. Worthwhile Reading
6. Lawson Tips & Tricks

This past September, I participated in a roundtable on reporting strategies at the North East Lawson User Group's Fall Conference.  One of the participants was Eli Krupnik from Innovative Information Resources, who shared his insight on strategically looking at reporting across the enterprise, rather than just satisfying the particular needs at a department level.  I asked Eli to share these thoughts with all the readers of The LawsonGuru Letter, which he does in this month's Guest Spot.

This month, I'll be attending the NY/NJ Metro Regional Lawson User Group's inaugural "Mega Meeting", to be held in Fairfield, NJ.  This will be a multi-day conference (i.e. a "mini-CUE"), full of informative sessions, networking opportunities, vendor booths, door prizes, and fun evening events, etc.  I will be presenting several sessions. If you're a Lawson user in the NY/NJ region, check it out at the MRLUG web site.

1. Guest Spot: Lawson Reporting – From Silos to the Enterprise
(by Eli Krupnik, Managing Associate of Innovative Information Resources. IIR is focused on Lawson Reporting Suite and Crystal Reports solutions for organizations using Lawson Software solutions. He can be reached at

When stand-alone reporting tools first began to emerge in the early 1990’s, their purpose was to provide business users with direct access to information so that they could avoid the long wait that IT required. Many thought that business users when armed with these tools will make better decisions, have time to be more creative planners and of course become much more effective in every other way.
Having trained over 8,000 people in enterprise reporting and business intelligence (BI) tools over the past 8 years, we have discovered that these so-called end-user BI tools like Crystal Reports did not fulfill most expectations. In reality, they were overwhelming for most users. The tools were often too time-consuming to learn and the underlying Lawson and other database structures much too complex. Since using these tools was not a full-time job for most users, they would forget how to use them each time they sat down to work with them. Without an organized report management environment, they could not locate existing reports and often created duplicates. Without a complete understanding of database structures and SQL, reports ran slowly, were not maintainable and were often inaccurate.
Still hoping that business users would find a way to master these tools, organizations began to deploy them in an unmanaged fashion. Individual departments purchased their own BI tools, developed their own business views and defined their own key metrics. Without strong central controls, many organizations found themselves in possession of different views and data warehouses that contained overlapping information. They were not able to deliver a consistent and unified view of information.
Our experience indicates that many organizations are moving BI from a departmental solution to an enterprise one. Ultimately, an enterprise BI solution needs to address the needs of the entire organization across various functional areas and user segments. At some point, the CEO will ask for an integrated view of the entire organization. The BI solution needs to be able to fulfill this request.
As organizations move from silos to the enterprise, they start establishing standards for their BI tools. They begin to know their users needs, strengths and limitations. What information do they really need? How can they best receive it? Do they really need to design the reports or can they simply view a result with some ability to interact with it? Sometimes users really need to see a significant amount of information and have the ability to explore that data. Other times they simply need to review summary data on a weekly or monthly basis. In deploying BI to the enterprise, organizations must select BI tools that can be dynamically customized to users' requirements. The tools must also support a zero-client environment and provide adequate scalability to meet enterprise processing requirements.

2. When will LID go away?

When will LID go away?  It's a question I hear quite a bit.  [Read More...]

3. Have you visited lately?
Let’s start with a few comments:

  • “This website is an absolutely great resource for Lawson info.”
  • “Your new site looks awesome! I really like the new layout, blog, and XML feeds. Very cool!”
  • “This is awesome. Thanks!”
  • “I really appreciate the resources on your site. Our entire team is finding the ERD and data dictionary extremely helpful.”
  • “One of my co-workers attended a user conference and brought back information about your website. I'm finding it very informative and am thrilled to have another source of information.”

What do these Lawson users have in common?

They’ve all been visiting the LawsonGuru web site!
Part of my goal—as your self-appointed ombudsman in the Lawson community—is to increase each and every client’s return on their investment by providing them with provocative commentary and timely information that improves their use of Lawson’s ERP software. This is why I started The LawsonGuru Letter back in 2002. I wanted to fill what I felt was a void in the Lawson community. There were user groups, Lawson had its support site, and there was, of course, CUE. However, what I felt was missing was a source of information that was comprehensive and unbiased.

While the newsletter has been very successful, I realized I had to take it a step further.  The result is the LawsonGuru site. If you have not been there lately, it is time for a brief tour.

Point your browser to, and you see the home page, containing announcements, a LWSN stock quote, a Lawson-related newsfeed, as well as an occasional survey question, and my current “worthwhile reading” article list:

Once you’re registered (yes, it’s free!), you’ll be able to explore the wealth of content offered by the LawsonGuru site.  Here are some highlights.
Tired of Topica?
Sick of the embedded advertisements, and those oh-so-annoying “out-of-office” message storms? Check out the LawsonGuru’s Peer2Peer User Forums. You can quickly see what the hot topics are based on the "Latest Postings".  You can also receive an email notifications when someone posts to a particular forum, or even replies to your question (or another question you’re interested in):

Looking for Lawson ERDs?
Well, Lawson doesn’t publish any. Therefore, you can certainly appreciate that some of the biggest attractions on the LawsonGuru site are my celebrated Lawson ERDs and hyperlinked data dictionary:

Ever-expanding FAQs
Have a question, or looking for a repository of tips? Check out the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) section:

A Final Note

Like the LawsonGuru Letter, the LawsonGuru site is not affiliated with Lawson Software. Please don’t call Lawson asking for support with this site.

4. Reader Feedback

In last month's issue (see, I shared my thoughts on what I see as a dearth of talented Lawson professionals (both full-time as well as consultants).  Seems I'm not the only one:

“I don't have any Lawson positions in house but I have notice that Lawson doesn't have a whole lot of people available and they don't have a good handle on who has what skills within their organization. We wanted a short engagement to help us get our Portal set up and since the Portal related classes aren't being scheduled we decided to ask Lawson for a consultant. They took months to find us the right resource and it required continual nagging and me asking other Lawson consultants who they would recommend. I didn't really want to switch to a consulting company since this was related to a software purchase with Lawson.
In the future I may very well be looking for consultants outside of Lawson.

“It took us almost a year to fill our Payroll Manager position, and it's been 3 months since our Financial Systems Manager and HR Systems Manager left and we haven't been able to fill those positions. We've just started working with a new recruiting firm, HireStrategy, that takes a new approach to recruiting. I'm hoping good things will come from this relationship.”

“I'm an independent Lawson HR Suite consultant.  I currently have a long term assignment, but I'm getting a lot of calls from Oxford International.  I also have my resume posted on and and get a lot of response from those two sites.  Hopefully, there is still work out there! :)

“We advertised back in March for a Lawson programmer/analyst position with Windows 2000 administrative experience. In 5 months, we got -one- qualified candidate, and he was retired and wanted to only work half-time.
We re-advertised the position as a Windows 2000 Administrator, got -lots- of qualified candidates, and filled the position almost immediately. Now we're training our new report on Lawson administration (only, no programming).

“I recently left consulting and one of my criteria for selecting a new organization was that they did not use Lawson; in fact I wanted a shop that had SAP or Oracle (I joined an SAP shop). My consulting firm wanted to pigeon-hole me into Lawson (since I had done several implementations of Lawson) and I was concerned about the long term viability of and demand for Lawson skills and the related impact in my career.  I also did not want to work in healthcare, a Lawson strong-hold.

There is surely demand for Lawson skills, and Lawson has an established customer base who will need support and knowledge of the Lawson applications, but in my case I felt a reliance on Lawson was limiting my career options.

“I think some of them are moving on to other apps or consulting opportunities. Some of them are working on long term clients and are unavailable. I’m so glad you brought this topic up. We look for people on Topica because it is free and has always produced great results. We have not attempted Monster and Dice. There is an even bigger question. Where are all the customers looking for Lawson help and assistance? Please don’t use our name on this, but here are some frightening statistics. We are running Google campaigns for Lawson Consulting that have always produced good results until recently. We have checked and it is not Google! For this year so far we only have 67 click-throughs for Lawson.

We come up in the top five for Lawson Consulting.  Contrast this with our Oracle Campaigns. 1,235,000 Impressions and over 5,000 click-throughs. You are correct that something is going on with Lawson, not only from the employee side but also from the people looking for Lawson help. Are firms looking for Lawson help now using Lawson and Ciber only? We don’t have the answers – only questions!

“I had an opening for a Lawson Programmer-Analyst/Administrator open for months for my Massachusetts-based organization, and never saw any applicable local resumes. There were the expected submissions from out-of-work consultants in Texas and similarly remote locations. Ultimately I revised the job description to a straight Windows Administrator and found a matching resource within a week.
At one point I wondered if the whole 8.0 upgrade debacle had burned everyone out and job candidates were actively avoiding the application. I then had a conversation with the head of a company that has sourced me several high-end independent Lawson consultants. Per this contact, Lawson is walking away from all but the mega implementation engagements. This is leaving a lot of business on the table for the smaller consulting outfits, who are scooping up every available Lawson resource to staff these projects.
I been interested to hear if you get similar feedback from other LawsonGuru subscribers.

“We have had an Open Position for a Lawson Administrator for over 10 months now. I understand that one of our issues is that we live in a smaller than normal size town, Flagstaff AZ but it is a great place to live. But even with that it seems like we should be getting more responses than we are. We have only had one really good prospect who decided not to make the move from FL to here. I am not sure why but YES it is very difficult to find Lawson people.

However, I also got this response, from someone outside of the Lawson community, where he isn't seeing the same thing:

“I am not seeing the doom and gloom in the job hunting arena either for recruiting new positions on my team nor for my own personal career quests.  I have been getting regular calls from headhunters and have sent a few friends to companies looking for good talent.  So I am not seeing the doom and gloom.  At least not yet!

Finally, a couple of comments on my article on using Crystal Reports for HR effective-date reporting:

“Great Guru letter again.  I loved the bit on reporting off HR history.  If I had only known some of that stuff a few years ago....

“I think this month's article on effective date reporting within Crystal is awesome.

As always, your always welcome to share your thoughts--simply send me an email at

“Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.”
-- Will Rogers

5. Worthwhile Reading
Benchmarking Takes Root
Before and after you sign on the dotted line, run the benchmarks for your business processes.
Information Week, October 3, 2005

Pivot Table Magic
Microsoft Excel's PivotTables give you an amazingly flexible way to analyze your data. PivotTables can take any list in Excel, or the results of a database query, and let you slice and dice the data in almost any imaginable way.
PC Magazine, October 4, 2005,1895,1858038,00.asp

6. Lawson Tips & Tricks
Share your tips. Send them to
(This month's tip comes from Pat Stellato of Paradigm Business Solutions)

Switching between Product Lines in Lawson Portal

You can switch between product lines without having to go into Preferences/User Options in Lawson Portal.  Type in lawform in the search box in Lawson portal and it will bring up a screen that will allow you to switch your token and product line without changing your user options:

This is helpful for ProcessFlow administrators who need to constantly switch between PROD and LOGAN to update and review the WF screens in the LOGAN product line. It’s also helpful for maintaining the RD30 records for users in your company. Once you're done with the form in LOGAN or another product line in use, just use the search box to transfer to a screen within the PROD product line without having to use lawform again.

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 subscribe, send an email to: To be removed from the subscription list, send to:

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