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Open source ERP Software: what is it and why choose one

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What is an open source ERP Software?

Open Source ERP is an enterprise software whose source code (list of commands compiled together into an executable computer program) is made publicly available for the ERP developers. The open source models allow the customers (users of ERP) to access the code directly and customise it as and when they want without the need of paying additional for licences. Whereas, in a closed source ERP, the license fee is usually yearly with an annual maintenance fee. Most of the open source ERP solutions now come full-featured, with an extensive list of functionalities and much price effective than standard packaged ERP solutions.

Within an open source, there are two different types – community open source and commercial open source. Community open source is software developed by a community and individual developers, the volunteers decide which contributions be accepted in the source code base and they continue to build and improvise the software. Commercial open source is software developed by enterprises. For example, Odoo a leading open source ERP company offers the Community version as the open source version and their Enterprise version supplements the Community edition with commercial features and services. In the commercial case, the company owns the right to accept the changes in the software code base and also maintains the copyright on what to implement next.

Why Choose one?

The main reason for companies to choose open source ERP is that it is way cheaper comes with full functionalities and easier to build bespoke solutions. An open source ERP lets the customer own the system and its full source code with no dependency on the vendor. This can be done by internal technical consultants or by hiring developers or programmers.

In a closed source ERP solution, there is a big dependency on the new releases with enhanced functionalities and sometimes it takes years to wait for the new release covering the new requirements. They do provide enhancement points with an existing package but that is often restricted to change within the recommended boundary of standard solution and users have to compromise with a workaround. Being open source, the source code can be downloaded free of cost with a broader scope of customisation. Every business has some process complexity that needs customising to provide better user experience and open source ERP solution can do it with more efficiency.

Open source ERP solutions like Odoo is also backed by the strong community of developers constantly improving the functionalities around different business processes. There is no vendor lock-in with open source ERP and anybody can access the code to build solutions. This is however restricted to the community version of the open source and the changes proposed through the community is supplemented into the Enterprise version.

Open source ERP companies form associations to promote the widespread use of their ERP software and to support the collaborative development of its features. An organisation may have 200 employees but there could be over 20,000 people that contribute to the ERP software community constantly improving the product. These consultants and developers develop apps, components or even modules and place them in the marketplace for sale; most often it is available for download to be free.

Users of ERP appreciate the fact that an open source ERP is constantly striving for higher quality as many independent developers have direct access to investigate the code; they regularly improvise the code and make it more robust. Since it is open source it brings competition between developers and thereby improves quality. Open source is often built on other open source projects and database models, so open source does not re-invent the wheel, which is what often happens in commercial systems. When customisations are efficiently performed open source ERP systems are easier to upgrade and upgrades can, therefore, be done much more often (every three months to monthly) without disruption of the production system. Generally, open source ERP companies use the community version of the open source to provide subscription-based proprietary enterprise software and cloud-hosted software as a service.

 Eiffel Group is a team built by a trio of entrepreneurs faced with ingrained, complex systems and workflows. They finally came to the conclusion that there must be a better way to navigate tasks through time, people and departments. They found that open source enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a very powerful tool when implemented with specific methodologies resulting in comprehensive and flexible business applications. Since its inception, Eiffel Group has been vested in helping change-agent companies driven by expansion and breaking boundaries to integrate management tools through collaboration and guidance to simplify their pre-existing business systems and processes. With an innate thirst for innovation and a passion for customer success, Eiffel Group is the right group when you’re looking for results-driven, methodical and timely services.

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