Opensource ERP Solutions: Pros and Cons

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It wasn’t long ago that traditional ERP solutions like SAP Business One and Oracle E-Business Suite dominated the ERP as well as Business Intelligence (BI) solution market. But over the last few years, alternatives to traditional solutions, such as Odoo have surfaced- and they’re achieving friction. With ERP solutions, there are common questions about how to source software platforms, and how to compare vendor options and other aspects. As with any question involving so many complex variables, the only blanket answer is “it depends”.

Here are some of the relevant pros and cons of selecting an open source ERP solution for business.

Pros

Lower Upfront Costs:

There is no (or very little) software licensing costs associated with open-source solutions. Community open-source solutions are usually free to download or run as live media. Even Consumer Open-Source Software (COSS) usually has a free trial period.

Dynamic Platform

Open-source solutions are, by nature, infinitely flexible. This enables organizations to meet specific business requirements easily. In terms of being interconnected, open-source products can sometimes be more compatible with the company’s resource, or with other existing applications. Like any open source software, the source code of an open source ERP can be altered and tailored to meet organization’s business needs and there are generally wide range of integration formats. Changes can be achieved by using a company’s internal programming staff or by external ERP Developers. Even if the organization has to spend money on custom development for an open source ERP system, it would still be much more cost effective than hiring consultants.

Community Support

This is an overwhelming benefit of many open source ERP solutions popular with companies who choose to go this route. Many of these platforms are supported by vibrant communities— the support is transparent, and for IT professionals who love to be immersed in this environment, open source can be a good solution.

No Vendor Lock-In

Open-source solutions minimize (or eliminates) an organization's dependency on a single vendor or group for continued improvements, maintenance, and/or support.

Cons

Lack of Proprietary Engineering

One of the things that companies pay for with proprietary products is specific engineering that serves their goals. For example, all of the research and development that a company has done on its products can support less downtime, reduce different kinds of failure rates, and increase ease of use. There is the idea that “you get what you pay for,” sometimes backed up by the idea that open source products that are buggy can be extremely hard to deal with.

Data Problems

Again, when companies run into problems moving or transferring data, they can end up spending a lot on IT support for open source products. Vendors offering licensed products may have specific shortcuts or backdoor solutions, but with open source, the burden might be entirely on the customer company to do this kind of troubleshooting.

Open Source Licensing Issues

Although open source licensing is generally easy when it comes to procurement and installation, other licensing problems can pop up later on. One of them is related to certain kinds of open source Oslo licensing, where companies may be asked to reveal proprietary coding changes that were done to support the product.

Now come to the crucial point. Which one should you go for? Open source? The answer is a big "YES"! Because your business wants to "own" an ERP solution rather than "buy" it! 🙂

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