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Lawson CEO Releases ERP SaaS After Bold Statements

By Mike Kavis

Do you remember this article in 2008 when Lawson CEO Harry Debes made a bold prediction that the SaaS market would collapse in 2 years?  He also made some classic quotes that he most likely regrets like these:

ZDNet: Won't people avoid the mistakes of "previous" SaaS incarnations, as you mentioned?

Debes: People are stupid. History has shown it repeats itself, and people make the same mistakes.

Debes: ..."Getting signed up as a SaaS customer is fast, but getting out is just as fast. Whereas traditional software is like cocaine-you're hooked."

Debes: One day will not deliver its growth projections, and its stock price will tumble in a big hurry. Then, the rest of the [SaaS] industry will collapse.

That article set the blog-o-sphere on fire for several days and the article on ZDNet had tons of comments, most of them very negative towards Debes.

So today Amazon's CTO Werner Voguls tweeted this:

Lawson Announces Full-Function ERP on Amazon Web Services Infrastructure

The first thing that came to mind is that they must have a new CEO.  So I went to their website and found that Debes is still there.  So I read the press release from Lawson's site and look what they are saying now:

"Commodity software may be good for the vendor but not necessarily the customer"

"This should be great news for CFOs and CIOs who worry about lengthy and complex on-premise installations, the cost and inefficiency of their data centers, the best way to allocate IT staff, and the complexity and difficulty of maintaining software versions and upgrades."

Wow, what a change of heart!  Looks like SaaS is not dead after all.  Maybe SaaS is the new cocaine!  What I would be interested to know is if Lawson's move to the cloud was a port of legacy code with some tweaks or did they totally rearchitect their system to take advantage of the AWS.  I ask this because I managed a team that maintained Lawson a few years back and its architecture was archaic and outdated at best. I'll spare you the gory details.  The press release did mention the use of S3 so there has to be some changes on the backend.

I would love to see ZDNet reinterview Mr. Debes and see what he thinks about SaaS now.  Does the phrase "Eat some crow" sound relevant?


About the Author:
Mike Kavis is a veteran Chief Architect with over 23 years of IT experience including distributed computing, SOA, BPM, data warehouse, business intelligence, and enterprise architecture. Read Mike's blog at Enterprise Initiatives.
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