Lawson to Build on IBM Backbone

UPDATED: Applications maker Lawson Software has chosen IBM’s
software and hardware as its backbone of choice for
building out its service-oriented architecture (SOA) platform.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Lawson will ship its financial, supply-chain management, human resources and
other applications with IBM’s WebSphere, DB2, Rational and Tivoli software.

The company will tell customers the combination will work best on IBM
hardware, including Big Blue’s eServers and TotalStorage systems, said IBM
spokeswoman Angela Sullivan.

The companies will jointly market pre-integrated solutions to customers,
with IBM providing support through IBM Global Services and Business
Consulting Services, said Sullivan.

Lawson also said it plans to use WebSphere as the base for its new
business applications platform code-named Project Landmark, which is an effort to move customers to an SOA .

SOAs are distributed computing models that
allow customers to save time and resources while triggering Web-based

Software and Web services developed on Landmark will
share the same data repository as clients’ existing Lawson applications.
This means customers must only upgrade, not migrate to the new platform.

Landmark is evidence in the proliferation of SOAs among applications vendors.
Once relegated to fanfare from infrastructure software vendors creating
distributed computing backbones, SOAs and Web services have moved to the
forefront of the Web for applications vendors.

German applications giant SAP might be the best example. The company has
been hawking its Enterprise Services Architecture as a flexible SOA, forming
a strategic relationship
with Microsoft.

The vendors are developing a new composite application that hooks SAP
business process software into Microsoft Office applications. Lawson’s deal
isn’t terribly different, because it is relying on the SOA perks of WebSphere
to prop up Landmark.

Though it lacks the size or heft of SAP, Oracle or even Siebel, Lawson is an
acknowledged force in selling applications to medium-sized businesses. IDC
expects the market for enterprise resource planning to reach $36 billion by
the end of 2008, giving all of the competitors an opportunity to secure new
revenue streams.

In other SOA news, IBM landed a 10-year, $94 million contract with the
Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, an insurance agency that handles property
casualties. Big Blue will mold the firm’s application, development and
maintenance software into an SOA that merges redundant applications.

IBM will use its Component Business Modeling to determine which applications are valuable to the
business and which processes can be refined or eliminated. IBM will trim the
multiple legacy systems for policy administration and billing, saving the
Fireman’s Fund as much as $200 million over the contract’s lifetime.

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