Lawson Unveils Cloud-Based PLM for Clothes Makers
February 22, 2011 Alex Woodie
Clothes manufacturers and distributors who use the M3 suite from Lawson Software have a new cloud-based option when it comes to augmenting their ERP system with product lifecycle management (PLM) capabilities, the Minnesota software company announced last week.
The new offering, called Lawson Fashion PLM on the Cloud, sounds like a light and airy place where beautiful fashionistas float about in the ether. But in reality, the new offering is designed to give companies in the cut-throat clothing and shoe businesses a competitive edge when it comes to managing and organizing all the work that goes into rolling out new products and evolving existing ones to meet customer demands.
The new cloud-based solution presents fashion companies with a collaborative, Web-based environment to manage the design and development of apparel, footwear, and home textile products and accessories. The solution is hosted on Amazon‘s EC2 cloud infrastructure, which guarantees better than 99 percent uptime.
Customers of the new cloud-based offering get all of the same capabilities as customers who run the software in-house. This includes the Line Optimizer, Storyboard, Fabric & Trim, Product Manager, Workflow, and Source modules.
Lawson obtained its PLM application in a deal with Freeborders nearly three years ago. In 2009, Lawson developed an integration that connects Lawson Fashion PLM, which runs on open systems, with M3, which is often deployed on the IBM i server. This integration point made it easier for customers to transfer style information created in PLM into M3 for sourcing and production. Lawson also sells a pre-configured version of M3 called Lawson Quickstep Fashion.
Like all enterprise software vendors, Lawson is moving toward hosting its ERP and related products in the cloud. Last April, the company announced it would make M3, S3, and its Talent Management applications available on Amazon EC2 as part of its External Cloud Services program. The same month, it launched an Internal Cloud Service that gave customers who run their own software access to the same server provisioning capabilities and the same management console as customers who contract with Amazon to run their software.
However, Amazon EC2 doesn’t run IBM i servers. Other cloud providers do, but Amazon uses X64 servers, and so most of Lawson’s cloud offerings involve Windows and Linux environments. This means that, while Lawson’s M3 customers won’t be moving their core ERP systems into the cloud anytime soon (unless they want to migrate to Windows or Linux), they can augment their existing in-house systems with cloud-based solutions.