Landmark Tech Speeds New Product Development

By Ed Frauenheim

Oct. 19, 2007

After about two years of development, Lawson plans to release a suite of HR software products in the coming months. If not for a set of coding tools, that launch might have been scheduled for much further down the road.

    Lawson’s new HR applications were built using a technology it calls Landmark. Company chief executive Harry Debes estimates the Landmark tools made coders at least 10 times more productive. “It’s like going from horses to tractors,” Debes says. After a pause, he adds, “Horses to buses is better.”

    The Landmark tools allow developers to generate lines of code automatically, by describing what they want out of the software at a higher level. The time-saving technology is the result of a roughly five-year effort at the company that involved co-founder Richard Lawson.

    Landmark technology bears some similarity to “object-oriented programming,” a method of creating software that allows for coding to be reused and can reduce development time.

    But Larry Dunivan, Lawson’s vice president for human capital management, says Land mark stands head and shoulders above comparable tools.

    In fact, the company has been touting the technology as it drums up interest in the coming HR applications. It’s relatively rare for software vendors to talk up the process behind their products. But in Lawson’s case, the discussions may serve as advance marketing. That’s because the company is thinking about selling a version of Landmark as a product, Dunivan says.

    It could help companies more quickly stitch together their different applications or create composite software tools, he says. An example of a composite tool would be a program that allows a company to identify automatically which of its training programs leads to the greatest improvements in employee performance ratings, or which leads to the greatest increase in sales generated by employees.

Workforce Management, October 8, 2007, p. 36Subscribe Now!

Ed Frauenheim is a former Associate Editorial Director at Human Capital Media and currently works as Senior Director of Content at Great Place to Work. He is a co-author of A Great Place to Work For All.

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