Lawson Finds Search Software a Good Fit for M3
October 12, 2009 Alex Woodie
The search engine has become a ubiquitous and indisposable tool during the Internet Age. Without search sites like Google and AltaVista, many people wouldn’t know where to start on the Web. As Internet technology trickles down into enterprise software, it’s no surprise that ERP software developers are looking to include search-engine-like functionality in their products. Lawson Software is the latest i OS ERP developer to add the capability to its product.
Earlier this year, Lawson got started with search functionality when it added a search engine called Enterprise Search to its S3 suite of ERP software, which is run primarily by services organizations on big Unix and Windows boxes. Yesterday, the St. Paul, Minnesota, company announced that Enterprise Search is now supported on M3, its other ERP line, which is run primarily by manufacturers and distributors on the IBM i Power Systems (AS/400) platform.
Enterprise Search is a Windows application that allows M3 users to search structured and unstructured data housed in the M3 database, as well as for data stored outside the core ERP system, such as Lawson business intelligence software, and even the users’ desktops.
Lawson’s new search software allows managers to restrict users’ searches to only the parts of the ERP system or other data store that they have permission to access. The software, which is part of the vendor’s User Productivity Platform suite of tools, also supports the use of wildcards, allows users to search their personal transaction history, and lets users save their commonly used searches.
Lee Kilmer, global director of product management for Lawson, predicts Enterprise Search will fundamentally change how M3 users interact with the ERP system.
“Just as today’s consumer search engines have transformed how people use the Internet, Lawson Enterprise Search will help transform how customers use their Lawson M3 applications,” he says in a press release. “By strengthening and speeding the search function, user productivity can be enhanced for many day-to-day tasks.”
In some cases, the new search capability will replace older ad hoc queries, which can be difficult to set up and slow to generate actionable data, Kilmer predicts.
For example, the new search functionality could come in very handy for a food manufacturer facing a product recall. If a company needed to recall a specific product due to food contamination, Enterprise Search could be used to find all related items in the company’s inventory, including all purchase orders and requisitions, Lawson says. This process would be much faster than if the company had to search through its database “line by line,” the company says.