As your retail business grows, the technology stack needs to be upgraded to keep up with operations. To do that, many sellers turn to an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to handle the financial side of their business, alongside other important areas like inventory, customers, suppliers, and warehouse management
Evaluating and choosing an ERP is tough. They’re comprehensive systems that become an integral part of managing your business. There are so many platform choices that range in price and functionality. To help you, this article looks at the benefits of open source ERPs and top ERP vendor Odoo.
Benefits of Open Source ERP Software
When evaluating ERP systems, it’s important to consider its software architecture. A popular architecture type is open source software (versus Software as a Service providers like NetSuite).
What is an open-source ERP?
Open source ERP software licenses require that all source code is made available to the public. This means that users can view, change, and distribute the software’s source code as they need. You can find and download open-source software in code repositories like GitHub. Other software architectures like SaaS vendors or proprietary systems do not give you this level of access to the software’s code.
Keeping this in mind, all open source ERP software leads to these benefits for sellers:
Since users have full access to the software’s source code, you have endless freedom to modify and configure the software to meet your unique needs. This can be an important differentiator, especially if you have your own IT staff and/or unique business processes.
Total access to the source code also allows developers or IT teams to make changes, upgrades, or customizations when they need to. There’s no reason to wait or rely on the software vendor to do it for you.
Open-source software relies on collaborative developer communities to grow the platform. While the vendor provides basic functionality, the community can add hundreds and thousands of add-ons. This allows community members to shape the functionality of the software. If you have questions or issues, you also have an active community to turn to for help.
Open-source software scales with your business as your processes evolve. To start, users can download a basic instance for free. Then, you can add, build, or customize functionality as needed. There’s no pressure to buy a comprehensive software package right out of the gate which may be too expensive and too complicated for the foreseeable near term
Cost-effective for SMBs
ERP software is often an expensive investment for users. With broad functionality, ERPs generally come with larger price tags. After all, ERPs cover most business areas like finance, HR, payroll, warehouse management, eCommerce, and CRM.
Open source ERPs can be more cost-effective, especially for SMB. Open source is free to download and generally includes basic functionality. From there, you have full control over how and when you spend money on customizations or add-ons.
That said, open-source ERPs are not cost-free. While there’s a free version of the software, mid-market and Enterprise users often need advanced features, account support, or custom modules.
Open-source software is an especially good fit for users with their own knowledgeable developers or IT staff. Your team might even prefer open-source software for complete control over building and maintaining your software.
Just be aware that total control is a double-edged sword. When something does go wrong like a system crash or security breaches, you’re on your own to fix it. That’s why many open-source users prefer to work with experienced partners like JetRails to support them in hosting mission-critical applications.
Evaluating Open Source ERP Top Vendors: Odoo
If you’re evaluating open source ERP solutions, it’s worth giving Odoo a look. With over 5 million users ranging from startups to enterprises, Odoo is a comprehensive suite of business apps that cover all your business needs like accounting, inventory, CRM, point of sale, project management, and eCommerce. And it has some unique features that make Odoo stand out:
Comprehensive and Integrated
Odoo is an all-in-one solution for merchants. They offer 30 main apps built by Odoo and have 16000+ apps developed by their own active community. Odds are that they already have a solution for what you need. You can check out all their apps here. These apps are also tightly integrated so that they work together. You can automate your business processes and not worry about a disjointed solution.
While Odoo is a comprehensive system, it integrates well with other software platforms like marketplaces, eCommerce, POS, or 3PL. You can see how an integration provider like nChannel connects your Odoo ERP to your other major platforms that run your business.
ERPs are notorious for their poor out-of-the-box user experience. Software is often clunky and can slow employees down in their everyday tasks. It also typically requires a ramp-on period with a steep learning curve with extensive training and support for staff.
Odoo prides itself on its user-friendly design. They don’t want users to spend time on complicated software. Their technology is intuitive and doesn’t hold a business back from growing.
Odoo can be a cost-effective solution for users. For small companies or startups, users can download and launch the community version free of charge with basic functionality included.
If you need more applications, an Enterprise plan is available with reasonable costs based on the number of users and selected apps. Together, these two components form your monthly subscription.
– Users start at $24.00/month
– Main apps start at $12.00/month
Users can also elect to pay for implementation services to get their team up and running on the software. These set up packages start at around $3,000. For full pricing details, visit Odoo’s website here.
Odoo’s flexible pricing structure allows the ERP to scale functionality as your business needs evolve. Unlike other ERP vendors, there’s no need to invest upfront in a comprehensive package with functionality you might never need.