Lawson Software, customer embroiled in ERP project lawsuit

'Mismatched expectations' may be to blame, according to one expert

By , IDG News Service |  Software

Lawson Software is embroiled in the latest instance of an allegedly failed ERP (enterprise resource planning) software project to become public.

CareSource Management Group, a Dayton, Ohio, health care plan administrator, signed a contract with Lawson in August 2010 for an ERP system, but after 10 months it has not moved beyond the testing phase and the project has experienced numerous problems, according to a lawsuit CareSource filed in July in US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

Lawson also led CareSource to believe that it was getting a fully-integrated product suite "seamless to the end-user," but the organization later discovered that the system was composed of two modules, one of which was Lawson Talent Management, a new product, according to the suit. CareSource was to be one of the first companies to implement the LTM application, it adds.

As the project proceeded, a series of problems cropped up with data transfers between the LTM module and a financials component, S3, according to the suit. The problems were so severe that at one point, CareSource had 20 open cases with Lawson technical support, it adds.

In June, Lawson revealed to CareSource that some 37 customers "were experiencing the same or similar" problems with the integration, the suit states.

Lawson also failed to provide CareSource with a workable time-and-attendance application after proposing two products that proved unsuitable, it adds.

In addition, Lawson assigned inexperienced staff to the job, which ended up serving as a "trial and error," on-the-job training program for the LTM module, according to the suit.

During a June conference call, Lawson used Infor's purchase of Lawson this year as an excuse for the problems, saying it was "distracted" by the merger.

CareSource is demanding at least US$1.5 million in damages, a sum representing the cost of licensing the software, purchasing hardware, consulting fees and other costs.

In a counterclaim filed Sept. 2, Lawson denied CareSource's breach of contract claim and other alleged wrongdoing, while stating that "certain issues arose" with regard to the LTM-S3 integration. However, those matters were resolved, according to the filing.

Also, while the software remained in testing mode and did not go live, the project was "halted" by CareSource before it filed suit, Lawson added.

Lawson also denied citing the merger as an excuse for problems with the project, and that it told CareSource 37 other customers had problems with the LTM-S3 integration.

The vendor is seeking $335,000 it says it is still owed by CareSource.

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