Why Consider Open Source ERP?
Discovering the Value of Open Source ERP
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Open source software continues to gain visibility and legitimacy. Software projects like Android, Chromium (the open source project behind the Google Chrome browser), Drupal and Linux have established that open source is not only functionally competitive with its proprietary cousins, but can be powerful enough to set industry standards for a wide variety of platforms. Despite the success of open source software in general, however, open source ERP has remained something of a dark horse, with the enterprise software industry dominated by proprietary systems. Since open source ERP seems to be such a marginal player in the land of the ERP giants, is it really worth considering as a business solution? Below, we’ve outlined common reasons organizations gravitate toward open source ERP software, along with some important considerations to keep in mind if this is the route you’re headed.
Open Source ERP is Free to Download
The source code for open source ERP is available for download from Sourceforge with no licensing fees or maintenance costs associated with it. Organizations can freely acquire the software, and then be on their way installing, configuring and customizing it to suit their needs.
Keep in Mind: While there is no initial cost for the software, it’s important to consider that the complexity of the software does not lend itself to an easy DIY approach. Most organizations that implement open source ERP do so with the help of experienced consultants who know the software’s capabilities and understand the code behind it. Expect to include funds for consulting and software customization in your project budget.
Open Source ERP Lends Itself to Customization
Changes to open source code are not controlled or owned by a software company. You can immediately begin making changes to the code in order to better tailor the solution to your unique and differentiated business processes. Proprietary systems, on the other hand, do have restrictions regarding what a client is allowed to do to the code. The provider may allow you to purchase a developer’s license so that your developer can then view the code in order to design and apply for a code change. If the code change is approved, the enhancements you make to the system are then typically yours for only as long as you pay your maintenance fees.
Keep in Mind: Coding changes impact your system and there is cost in achieving them. Avoid making coding changes in your ERP when simpler and less expensive configurations are available. An experienced and trusted consultant can help guide you as to when changing the code makes sense, versus when it’s better to use configuration options or make adjustments to business processes. See our related article, How to Achieve Greater ROI from ERP Customization.
Is Open Source ERP Worth Considering?
Yes, definitely! The cost and flexibility of open source ERP make it a worthy contender when shopping for enterprise software. As is the case with any software, it’s essential to do your research to identify whether a particular open source ERP solution will be a good fit for your business. You may wish to tap into our team’s experience if you are considering the Compiere line of solutions, which includes its project forks, ADempiere and iDempiere.
Contact us to learn more about open source ERP and to discuss specific solutions that would work well with your business model.