Intentia updates applications, prepares Lawson merger

Intentia International AB has released the latest version of its business applications suite, an update that’s likely to be the software’s last major overhaul before Intentia completes a planned merger with fellow midmarket ERP (enterprise resource planning) software maker Lawson Software Inc.

Intentia Application Suite 5.1, which the Swedish developer formally announced Monday but released to customers in May, continues Intentia’s push toward a stronger SOA (services-oriented architecture) foundation for its software. Intentia decided in the late 90s to build its applications suite around Java, and since then it has worked with each successive release to stay current on the latest Web services standards and make it easier to develop business processes around its applications, according to Martin Hill, Intentia’s vice president of product marketing.

Release 5.1 includes additions to Intentia’s management tools, such as new validation wizards, that are aimed at reducing the cost and administrative work involved in supporting the software. Intentia has also added new channel and category analysis functionality, provided by Cognos Inc.’s ReportNet software, to its Intentia e-Sales application.

Intentia targets its applications at midmarket customers in the manufacturing, distribution and maintenance industries, and the latest update contains several new industry-specific features. For example, Intentia has developed new promotion management capabilities for companies in the consumer goods field. Intentia’s supply-chain management applications gained new functionality for handling sales quotas, purchase agreements and supply transport rules.

More than 70 percent of Intentia’s 3,500 customers are in Europe, while Lawson, in St. Paul, Minnesota, does most of its business in the U.S. The two companies are in the process of completing an all-stock merger announced last month; the current plan is to close the deal in September, Hill said.

Product plans, and the extent to which Intentia and Lawson will blend their applications, are still being determined. “There may well end up being different product streams,” Hill said. “It’s too early to tell.”

Meanwhile, Intentia will continue working on the next of its twice-yearly application suite updates, he said.

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