Lawson offers iSeries users skip upgrades

Business application software firm Lawson Software announced Monday that clients can upgrade directly to its 8.1 suite, eliminating an upgrade cycle.

Lawson Software announced Monday a "skip" upgrade for iSeries clients running Lawson Series 7 applications. The upgrade will enable customers to move directly to Lawson's latest 8.1 business applications, eliminating an upgrade cycle to version 8.03.

Lawson, a business application software and consulting firm based in St. Paul, Minn., said the purpose of offering skip upgrades is to help clients accelerate their business process improvements. By jumping straight to 8.1, Lawson hopes its customers can realize greater flexibility and control for managing their existing iSeries systems by providing expanded options on when and how they upgrade their business software.

The company also said skip upgrades will allow clients to reduce costs by having to pay for one upgrade cycle instead of two, although customers who choose this option will have to pay for software and training fees required for 8.1, but not for 8.03.

Expanded functionalities for 8.1 over 8.03, which was released in 2001, includes changes in currency and tax handling and a stronger tool for absence management, so clients can better monitor vacation and sick time for their employees.

Vicki Griffith, company spokeswoman for Lawson, said while she couldn't give exact figures on how much skip upgrades will save clients, for some companies "it will be significant."

"Our Skip Upgrade program delivers the latest technology and applications available for the iSeries system at a low total cost of ownership," Griffith said. "It also demonstrates how client feedback guides our product and service offerings so companies … can focus more time and resources on their core business."

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The upgrade process for 8.1, which has been out since early 2004, will take about four months, Griffith said.

Lawson's software suites include enterprise performance management, distribution, financials, human resources, procurement, retail operations and service process optimization. The company focus is in the healthcare, retail, government, education, banking and insurance markets.

Lawson said clients participating in skip upgrades may also qualify for special offerings from the IBM Systems ServerProven program or the iSeries Solution Edition program, and be eligible for Big Blue's Global Financing, which allows clients to spread out the cost of their IT projects over time.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Luke Meredith, News Writer

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