The power of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) software is now universally seen as a necessity for any organization or business. The features and benefits of these programs can lead directly to increased efficiency and profit. However, organizations in different industries have different requirements for ERP software, which can be difficult to manage with traditional models. One solution to this problem is to use open source ERP software. By making the code openly available, the programs can be modified as necessary for each organization.
Several types of open source ERP software can be downloaded online, and many are completely free of charge. Following are the top ten open source ERP systems available today.
OpenERP is the undisputed heavyweight champion when it comes to open source ERP software. The system is completely scalable for any type of business and includes the following modules: Sales, Point of Sale, Purchases, Warehouse, Accounting, Project, Messaging, Manufacturing, Human Resources, Lunch and Fleet. In addition, it contains a powerful reporting module that can be indispensable in the quest to increase revenue and raise the bottom line.
Although OpenERP can be downloaded and used by anyone with a moderate level of technical savvy, a $39 monthly subscription fee makes working with the system so much easier. The fee includes a one-click install wizard, automatic updates and upgrades, a bug-fix guarantee, online hosting and two hours of support.
Openbravo is based on the concept of business agility, and it is currently used by over 6,000 organizations of all sizes in a variety of industries. This open source ERP software runs through any Web browser, and it is easy to use by managers and employees in any department. The system operates in steps designed around the logical flow of business, but it is flexible enough to adapt to the unique circumstances of any organization.
Openbravo may be purchased according to a four-tier pricing schedule, and fees may be paid on a monthly or annual basis. Licenses may also be purchased per user, per POS terminal or for unlimited use.
Apache OFBiz provides a solid framework for businesses that require open source ERP software. It can be used directly out of the box, but many users choose to customize the software to meet the specific needs of their organizations. The developers of OFBiz refer to the program as open source enterprise automation, and it can be used for planning, customer relationship management (CRM), e-commerce, supply chain management (SCM), manufacturing, POS and asset management.
Apache OFBiz is free to download and operates on a Java platform. It requires some knowledge of command line operations to install and load, but once it is up and running, the system can be accessed through a Web browser.
Consona, the developers of Compiere open source ERP software, claims that this is the most affordable, adaptable and modern ERP solution available today. While none of these claims are supported by research, the software is used by organizations in over 40 countries, and the inclusion of a full CRM system makes it worth testing. The ERP side of the enterprise edition can handle warehousing, purchasing, manufacturing and financial management while the CRM side takes care of sales, e-commerce, service and customer history. In addition, the software can run locally or through Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which makes it the first ERP software to be delivered in this manner.
Compiere can be evaluated free of charge with the limited community edition, but the full enterprise edition has an undisclosed cost associated with it.
As the name suggests, webERP is an ERP system that operates completely online. This open source ERP software can be run through any Web browser, which includes Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. Although webERP is a powerful enterprise system, the developers admit that it is best suited for manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers. Retail businesses looking for a complete system have to combine webERP with third-party POS software.
Small and medium-sized organizations will find webERP to be surprisingly simple yet very effective, but it is not powerful enough to handle the needs of large businesses. A demo is offered for a quick overview of the system, and full downloads are available through Sourceforge.
The developers of ERP5 claim that this open source ERP software is the most powerful system of its kind, which is immediately questionable upon viewing the generic template chosen for its website. However, once the program is downloaded and installed, some interesting features are readily apparent. ERP5 is a full-featured suite that includes modules for CRM, production management, SCM and product design. In addition, the developers have included features specific to several industries, including apparel and healthcare.
ERP5 can be downloaded and installed free of charge, but the process can be quite a challenge, especially for those using a Windows operating system. Some users are sure to experience problems, and complete documentation and instructions are not yet available.
Opentaps is a fully integrated ERP and CRM suite that supports e-commerce, inventory management, SCM and financial management. In addition, this open source ERP software offers a robust reporting and business intelligence system, and it can be accessed and operated through mobile devices straight out of the box. Opentaps works very well for retailers and provides several tools designed to help with converting leads into sales. The CRM applications are also very useful for targeted marketing campaigns, and sales personnel can be tracked through a unique commission management system.
Opentaps is a Java-based application that was founded on two Apache projects: Tomcat and OFBiz. The Professional Edition costs $600 per user per year, but a minimum of 10 users is required to purchase the software.
When it comes to open source ERP software, Dolibarr is a competitive and modern product with an active community of users. Dolibarr is completely free, and it can be used as a standalone program from any computer or server, or it can be used online through a dedicated or virtual private server. Documentation for the software can be found on a wiki website that is frequently updated by both developers and veteran users.
Although the base program is free, many users opt to purchase additional modules and plugins from the Dolibarr store. Some of the most popular plugins are for project management, digital documentation, pricing tables and telephone management.
Development of ADempiere began in 2006 by a splinter group of Compiere developers. While the developers of Compiere were focused on open source ERP software that could be sold under commercial licenses, the developers of ADempiere wanted to get back to community sharing, which is the basis of the open-source movement. In order to establish this ERP system, several communities of specialists were formed, including those dedicated to coding, testing, writing, business systems and administration.
ADempiere can be downloaded through Sourceforge, and a three-click installation wizard is available for Windows users. Other versions can be downloaded for Mac and Linux.
PostBooks open source ERP software was developed by xTuple, a company dedicated to providing companies of all sizes with low-cost, easy-to-use business technology. The founders of xTuple firmly believe that commercial software developers are out of touch with the needs of the business community, so they turned the company’s focus toward open source software. PostBooks began as a program for manufacturers, but over the years, a full set of accounting and CRM applications have been added. In addition, PostBooks includes a powerful open source report writer called OpenRPT.
PostBooks is the free version of xTuple’s ERP software, and it can be downloaded by anyone at any time. However, several commercial products are also available based on the same open source code, including xTuple Standard, xTuple Manufacturing and xTuple Enterprise.