Lawson embraces IBM stack to bolster apps performance

Business applications maker Lawson Software hopes to cut the complexity and boost the performance of its technology stack with the rollout this week of the latest version of its applications infrastructure software, Lawson 8.1.0 Technology.

The new software offers significant enhancements -- the result of a tight technological partnership between Lawson and IBM announced in May, said Del Dehn, product manager of the company's technology product management group. For instance, customers will be able to standardize their infrastructure around the IBM WebSphere Application Server Network Deployment and the IBM Tivoli Directory Server software products.

Using the IBM Tivoli Directory Server Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) technology and the new 8.1.0 Lawson Security system, customers can quickly create profiles that securely assign rules-based roles to end users. According to Dehn, that allows companies to easily segregate the duties and privileges of company personnel and control data access. That ability could help companies comply with federal laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Moreover, operating Lawson 8.1.0 Technology with the IBM WebSphere application server will allow IT staff to boost Lawson's performance and scalability by running the applications over multiple servers. Until now, scaling the Lawson applications required customers to invest in more CPUs on a single machine, a move that could be expensive, said Dehn.

In addition, the St. Paul, Minn.-based company has made the Lawson graphical user interface more configurable. For instance, it will allow end users to configure their keyboard to support high-speed data entry by reducing keystrokes.

A couple of users said they wanted the simplicity of implementing role-based security through IBM technology. Prior to this release, Lawson's own proprietary security software would allow a company to assign just one role to a given user, said Chance Veasey, vice president of operations at NetASPx. The software service provider runs Lawson ERP applications internally and provides them to 60 customers in North America. It recently completed a beta test of Lawson 8.1.0 Technology.

Using Tivoli's LDAP tool, any given user can now be assigned multiple roles without the need to create separate security identifications, something that could be a time-consuming process, said Veasey. The change will make it easier to comply with federal regulations, as well as simplify the security process, he said.

In addition, with WebSphere, NetASPx can do load-balancing among the machines running Lawson, eliminating any single point of failure. Until now, customers were unable to scale over multiple servers.

Lawson 8.1.0 will be available on Monday, and users can install it without having to upgrade their business applications.

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