Lawson Looks to Channel for M3 Momentum in 2011

ERP vendor Lawson is looking to find some channel mojo as it seeks partners in North America to help it sell into the food, fashion and distribution sectors.

Charlene O'Hanlon

April 6, 2011

3 Min Read
Lawson Looks to Channel for M3 Momentum in 2011

ERP vendor Lawson is looking to find some channel mojo as it seeks partners in North America to help it sell into the food, fashion and distribution sectors.

During its Lawson CUE (Customer and User Experience) event April 4-6 in Boston, Guy Leduc, vice president of Partners and Alliance, said the channel will play a more active role as Lawson seeks to move beyond its established presence in health care and services.

“We are actively looking for channel partners in North America, especially those who are established and have experience in consumer products and certain sectors of manufacturing and distribution,” he said.

It’s sea change for Lawson, which didn’t have any channel presence until it purchased Sweden-based Intentia in 2005. “That’s when we got acquainted and gained experience with managing channel partners,” Leduc said. “Intentia has a lot of experience in dealing with channels in direct and indirect countries (those without a Lawson presence), and since we bought Intentia we have been focusing on nurturing and expanding our footprint of channel partners for the M3 line (Intentia’s technology).”

Lawson further gained channel partners with its 2010 acquisition of HealthVision, whose technology was incorporated into Lawson’s S3 Enterprise Management System. However, Leduc noted S3 is sold almost exclusively direct and the company has no plans to expand its current base of channel partners beyond those former HealthVision partners.

Which leaves the M3 Enterprise Management System – which is aimed at the equipment, service, maintenance and rental (ESM&R) vertical; consumer (fashion and food and beverage) vertical; and the distribution and general manufacturing vertical – open for channel partners with the right experience and background.

“Those we need are somewhat specific and have experience in food, fashion and distribution. There’s no point in talking to someone who has experience in insurance or banking,” Leduc said. “Our most successful partners are the ones that are most specialized in the market we want to address.”

To help it engage with new partners, Lawson has signed on with a partner consulting firm and “we constantly hire new salespeople and channel managers, some of whom came from channel management at other vendors. And they come with contacts,” he said. “That strategy works – you don’t want to sign 10 partners a week, so if we sign one partner every two weeks that is sufficient for us.”

Lawson is looking to sign about 18 partners globally in the fiscal year 2012, which begins in June. Of that number, Leduc hopes to sign on five or six partners in North America. “That would be ideal,” he said. “But it’s not just a question of finding them, it’s also training them. We need to make sure they are trained on methodology, approach, and the technology itself, and that takes time.”

Time may not be on Lawson’s side, however. Rumors are swirling that the company is being eyed for acquisition by Oracle, which – regardless of what you may think about the company – has always been channel-centric. In March 2011 Lawson received an unsolicited takeover bid from midrange application service provider Infor and its backer, Golden Gate Capital, which spurred speculation that another technology vendor – namely Oracle – would throw its hat in the ring.

So far, Oracle isn’t talking. But if such an acquisition does occur, Lawson’s current and new partners would benefit from Oracle’s strong history with and presence in the channel. And even if an acquisition doesn’t occur, Lawson’s partner base still benefits from the increased mindshare and company backing.

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