A five-year-old company called OpenERP is riding the wave of a variety of hot technological trends including ERP applications, open source and software as a service.
OpenERP caters to small and medium businesses like Beija-Flor Jean, a South Carolina-based fashion outfit that supplies Brazilian-made jeans to about 300 boutiques in the U.S. Beija-Flor has seen a 50 percent cost savings after adopting an OpenERP solution.
Beija-Flor is just one of OpenERP’s more than 500 customers – and OpenERP’s software sees more than 1,000 downloads daily. The ERP company says companies of this size are starting to look for ERP suites to replace Quickbooks and other home-grown solutions, but they don’t have the resources to go with a solution from Oracle (News - Alert) or SAP. That’s where OpenERP comes in.
Going with OpenERP offers customers more flexibility to customize their applications and go from premises-based to SaaS (News - Alert)-based solutions (and vice versa) than other systems, says Marc Laporte, COO of the company. And he says the company’s solutions which include ERP implementation, customization costs and consulting – are typically 40 to 60 percent less expensive than competitive offers. (He says OpenERP offers its solution for $39 per user per month vs. competitors who tend to charge in the $100 to $150 per user per month range. For a 25-user company with an on-site implementation, he says OpenERP charges $3,800 per year for a solution with a warranty, security alerts and a migration report.)
These benefits and price points are possible, he says, because OpenERP is based on open source software, which means no licensing costs, and because the company’s solutions are based on PYTHON, which is a new generation language that is extremely flexible. For example, if a client wanted to add new fields, or change some of the workflows, or add some additional ERP work, that addition would not require hard coding, Laporte says.
OpenERP last month launched OpenERP v6, a major upgrade for its business applications, which include CRM, purchase management, manufacturing, warehouse management, project management, accounting, human resources and more. The software has been tested and improved by a global community of open source developers who contributed more than 800 suggestions, enhancements and fixes to the software.
Three key things Laporte pointed out about version 6 of the OpenERP solution are its flexibility, its ability to be deployed in both on premises and SaaS-based implementations, and its usability.
To the first point, he says a customer could deploy logistics or CRM, for example, and customize the app to match the current need, and a few months later could implement with a few clicks additional applications – and have all of the above be integrated. That means users can start with what they want and get a return on their short-term investment, but still have the flexibility to expand the apps later as needed. “I believe that we’re the only that can do that,” he says.
As mentioned earlier, the OpenERP solution is now available both for SaaS-based and on-site scenarios. “And what is more important, you can switch from one to another at any time,” Laporte adds.
To address usability, OpenERP provides both simplified and expanded menus to its rich software offer, he says. That means users don’t have to get lost in the weeds of complexity just to do a simple task. It also set up the system so it offers a single solutions with all the apps needed for a particular job position, like that of a purchasing manager.
"OpenERP v6 is a major breakthrough in ERP simplicity and ease of deployment,” says Laporte. “For the first time, companies can build an ERP system at their own pace, enjoy the short-term benefits of starting with a single application and then build end-to-end integration as they deploy additional applications over time. No other vendor can provide this kind of integration in just a few clicks."
OpenERP is based in Belgium, has a loarge R&D facility in India and offices in San Jose, Calif. In March 2010, OpenERP had a presence, through its channel partners, in 20 countries. That’s now expanded to more than 50 countries. The company continues to recruit channel partners.
More About OpenERP v6
· Customers can start an ERP project and see the benefits in only a few months.
· Users find needed information in just a few clicks, improving software acceptance.
· More than 100 features have been added, making v6 very comprehensive and yet so simple.
· Customers can start with one application and in just a few minutes add new applications when they feel it’s right for them.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi