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Lawson's CEO Hates SaaS

A remarkable interview was published today on ZDnet, titled Lawson's CEO, Harry Debes, doesn't believe in software-as-a-service (SaaS). I find it just striking how the CEO of a major ERP company just doesn't think at all about what is good for his customers.

He even compares his own company to a cocaine dealer - his whole thought process is about his legacy business model and how he gets his customers hooked on it. His main complaint about SaaS is that Lawson can't figure out how to make money doing it...

It was going to take us seven to 10 years before we made any money. That's nonsense.

Wow. And it get's even better - he says

Getting signed up as a SaaS customer is fast, but getting out is just as fast. Whereas traditional software is like cocaine--you're hooked. It's too difficult and expensive to switch providers once you've invested in one.

So his point basically nets out to - Lawson isn't going to do SaaS because it provides less customer lock-in and it is economically worse for Lawson that their current on-premises software model.

The reporter missed asking the key "boil the frog" question - As Lawson's CEO keeps the company focused on the old on-premises software model - what is Lawson going to do when SaaS companies like Intacct - who have figured out the economics of offering great on-demand products that are also better for customers - start to turn up the heat?

The blogosphere is starting to pick up on this story - Vinnie Mirchandani weighs in on his deal architect blog, and Josh Greenbaum wrote a nice piece on Enterprise Anti-Matter.

I can almost hear the sound of the tar pit starting to gurgle as it begins to swallow the dinosaur...

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