Every business has unique objectives, business processes, and requirements. Today’s businesses are looking for ERP implementations to synchronize all information and functions within the organization. We have listed top open-source ERP systems that will help you to improve your internal business process and overall business performance.

1. Dolibarr

Dolibarr ERP system provides complete end-to-end solutions for small and midsize businesses. It has everything that ERP needs. With its fairly structured interface, it offers everything–from tracking and keeping records of orders, invoices, inventory, contracts, and payments, to handling electronic documents and assisting the point-of-sale system. To streamline the processes and improve profitability, it provides modules to manage ERP, CRM, sales, address book, events, finances, projects, calendars, etc.

With an auto-installer feature in Dolibarr, people with little or no technical knowledge can install and use Dolibarr with all its prerequisites within just one package.

Those packages are :

  1. For Windows users- DoliWamp
  2. For Debian/Ubuntu users- DoliDeb
  3. For Linux RedHat/Fedora/OpenSuse/Mandriva/Mageia users- DoliRpm
  4. And, for all other OS and Cloud solutions- “generic” version.

Some key facts about Dolibarr:

  • Latest Dolibarr version is 9.0, released in February 2019.
  • It is written in PHP.
  • It is a web-based application that can be accessed via the internet.
  • It is free under GNU General Public License 3.0.
  • Its code is highly customizable.
  • It supports multi-user, multi-currency and multi-language.
  • It uses MySQL, MariaDB or PostgreSQL databases.

Dolibarr has support for only one company or foundation. It means if you want to manage two different companies, then you are required to install the software twice. If you want to manage several companies with one installation, you need to buy Module MultiCompany on www.dolistore.com.

You can also try Dolibarr’s online demo instance and check its source code on GitHub. And to download the latest version, you can go to project on SourceForge.

2. Odoo

Odoo is an all-in-one management software that contains a suite of related business applications. It provides modules for project management, warehouse, eCommerce, inventory management, billing, accounting, purchasing, and manufacturing. Odoo apps are perfectly integrated with each other, allowing a seamless exchange of information among its modules. It will help you to automate your business process efficiently.

The Odoo interface resembles the interface of Google Drive, displaying only those functions that need to be visible. With its simple interface, it can make even a complex ERP system a user-friendly experience.

You can try Odoo for free before you decide to sign up. Here are the pricing details for Odoo:

  • For unlimited users, Odoo offers one application for free. And it will remain free as long as you don’t install new apps.
  • Odoo offers a free trial for users who want to use more than one app. After the trial period expires, you have to pay a monthly fee to access apps that help you build a website, automate the marketing process, run a CRM and so on.

IoT integration with Odoo

Integration of Odoo and Internet of Things (IoT) technology is disrupting ERP mechanisms. IoT box by Odoo can help you connect external devices such as printers, scanners, footswitch, etc. to the Odoo database. IoT box provides an easy setup and configuration process. Connecting the IoT box to Odoo does not require any technical skills or knowledge. To connect IoT box to the Odoo database, you can go to the Odoo user documentation page.

Advantages of IoT box by Odoo:

  • With the fast operations and automation capabilities of IoT box, the time taken for a particular process is significantly reduced.
  • There will be less encoding mistakes when the devices are used for inputs.
  • The workload will also get reduced.

You can download Odoo from https://www.odoo.com/page/download.To check its source code, go to https://github.com/odoo. It’s released under Lesser General Public License (LGPL).

3. ERPNext

ERPNext is a full-featured business management solution, designed to replace an outdated and expensive proprietary ERP implementation. It includes modules for financial, accounting, CRM, purchasing, sales, inventory, manufacturing, e-commerce, healthcare, and education.

ERPNext lets you remain informed and fact-based, enabling you to make timely decisions for your enterprise. To stay ahead of the competition, it adds power, transparency, and control to your growing business.

ERPNext helps you with the following:

  • Keep track of all invoices, payments, budgets, and spending.
  • Understand the quantity and availability of products in-stock.
  • Track your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  • Identify open customer queries.
  • Handle the payrolls of employees and also assign tasks and do follow-ups.
  • Maintain a database of all your customers and clients.
  • Decide effective selling price based on products.
  • Remind you of your scheduled maintenance date.
  • Publish your website.

ERPNext is built for small and medium businesses. It has a modern interface that follows a simple form-driven approach. All you need to do is enter information in a set of fields and let the application do the rest.  The whole application suite is easy to set-up, configure and use.

ERPNext self-support service is free if you are installing it on your own servers. But if you want engineers to help and support you, the ERPNext support service is paid.

Facts about ERPNext:

  • Its source code is written in Python.
  • It is released under the GPL3 license.
  • To store data, it uses MariaDB database.
  • According to its official website, more than 3,000 companies are using ERPNext.

You can request for ERPNext demo on – https://frappe.erpnext.com/request-a-demo.

4. Tryton

Tryton provides you with a complete enterprise solution with scalability, modularity, and security to run your business.

Tryton includes the following features:

  • Financial accounting: Records all your business transactions.
  • Sales: Takes follow-up of orders.
  • Inventory and stock:Tracks goods from receipt to delivery and in warehouses.
  • Analytical accounting: Categorizes your expenses and revenue.
  • Purchasing:Takes follow-ups of requests
  • Project management:Send invoices to customers and track the project’s profit.

To maximize the modularity of software, the architecture of the Tryton system consists of three parts:

  1. Tryton Server: The main application that provides functionalities to use Tryton, such as installing Tryton, configuring file for Tryton, setting up the database,  starting a server, access rights, translation, testing, etc.
  2. Database: Database management system such as PostgreSQL.
  3. Tryton Client:A desktop or scripting client to communicate with the server.

Tryton is not just for business ERPs only. It is a framework that can also be used as a platform for the development of various solutions.

Tryton is written in Python and it’s desktop client uses GTK library, available on Linux, OS X, and Windows. To get a free demo of Tryton, go to http://www.tryton.org/download.

5. iDempiere

iDempiere is an extensive ERP solution that does everything from invoicing to warehouse management. It is suitable for almost all types of small and medium businesses, supporting the modules for ERP, CRM, project management and supply chain management. It was awarded the “Best Open Source software in the year 2015 and 2016 by InfoWorld’s Bossie Awards”.

Key features of iDempiere:

  • Other than ERPs, it is also used to build database-driven applications.
  • It contains plug-ins to modify or extend ERP or CRM applications.
  • It has a simple, configurable and powerful reporting format that you can export to several platforms (PDF, word-processor, spreadsheet,etc.).
  • It enables you to add and post attachments or comments for each record. Hence, you can add unstructured information as an attachment that you find important for your team. It improves the traceability of your transactions.
  • It properly manages the Audit Process.

More facts about iDempiere:

  • It is written in Java.
  • It supports Linux and windows.
  • Its system requirements- Java OpenJDK
  • PostgreSQL Database  or Oracle Database
  • It released under GPL v2.
  • Like most open-source programs, it depends on community support for troubleshooting.
  • It requires more set-up than some of the other ERP tools mentioned in this article.

6. Flectra

Flectra is an ultimate business application suite with a powerful modular design covering all essential aspects of your business.

Flectra helps you with the following:

  • Organize and manage sales activities.
  • Simplifies HR activities- recruitment process, leaves,etc.
  • Provides customer support for any size of businesses.
  • Manages the accounting process- billing, payments, etc.
  • Tracks meetings and calls.
  • Provides a Content Management System for your blogs, websites, forum, etc.
  • Aligns production with a well-organized process.
  • Automate the marketing process, including client acquisition, upselling, etc.
  • Manages inventory and Point-of-Sale.
  • Possesses project management capabilities.

Flectra provides an open and collaborative development of source code. It originated from a fork of the Odoo community. It offers the same modules that Odoo offers, but with a new user interface.

Here are some services provided by Flectra:

  1. Bug fix and SLA based support
  2. Custom feature development and process enhancement
  3. Project planning and solution design
  4. Technical, functional and administration training

7. ERP5

With its huge set of modules, ERP5 has been adopted worldwide by different sectors of industries- government, banking, healthcare, IT, etc. ERP5 is a suitable solution for you if you are looking for a unified business platform for your company. While most ERPs are business field specific, the ERP5 uses Unified Business Model, to describe its components effectively.

ERP5 can be used for- ERP, CRM, CMS, Product Design Management (PDM), Supply Chain Management (SCM), e-commerce, web publication, data analytics, online office suite, e-mail reader, forum, barcode, human resource, email marketing, invoicing, manufacturing, etc. But it can not be used as a reporting tool or a Geographic Information System.

More about ERP5:

  • It is based on Python and Zope.
  • It is licensed under GPL.
  • It is suitable for almost any type of businesses.
  • It has an old and classic interface.

As ERP5 is converging with other technologies (IoT, Big Data, social communication), you will be able to organize your company better.

An Introduction to Open Source ERP Software

If you are involved in choosing or managing the software tools your company uses, you have probably looked at a variety of enterprise resource planning—or ERP—systems. ERP tools are defined as integrated information systems that serve all departments within an enterprise.

With such a wide scope of functionality, each ERP system inevitably has its own set of pros and cons. To better understand which is best for you, it is convenient to group ERP tools into four classes: generalist, industry-specific, small business, and open source. The last class, open source ERP software, is often overlooked. However, it can solve three of the biggest problems that crop up in ERP implementation: cost, control, and customization.

Implementing such a powerful and comprehensive tool can be difficult, and it often requires tweaks. Customization is so popular that 88 percent of companies in 2016 customized their implementation. However, that affects budget: 65 percent of ERP implementations go over budget due to the need for modifications. Customizing a proprietary solution is expensive! That is why more IT departments are looking at open source ERP. Basing an enterprise-wide solution on open source software provides easier customization along with control and cost savings.

In this article, we will review what ERP software is, what open source means, the advantages of combining the two, and how to get started with this powerful business solution.

What is an ERP System?

Enterprise resource planning tools grew out of software that manufacturing firms used to plan their production, called manufacturing resource planning (MRP) systems. Over time, organizations added modules for managing other departments like accounting, support, sales, project management, inventory management, supply chain, and HR. ERP solutions have become popular because they offer one system with a standard look and feel, a single integrated database, and standard processes across an organization.

Gartner lists the benefits of ERP systems as:

  • They are a catalyst for business innovation through making informed decisions.
  • They offer process efficiency derived from having all data in one place.
  • They offer process standardization across the organization.
  • IT costs are saved when compared to maintaining and integrating a separate system for each area of a company.

By definition, an ERP system provides functionality to as much of a business as possible.  The core is often the basis of an MRP system with financial modules and customer relationship management software (CRM) added. Some additional modules are:

  • Integration with point-of-sale systems and ecommerce
  • Human resource management (HRM)
  • Sales management
  • Warehouse management
  • Marketing automation
  • Marketing content management
  • Inventory management
  • Purchasing
  • Invoicing
  • Customer portals
  • Vendor portals

Although ERP systems started as a tool for large enterprises, they can deliver benefits to the SMB space as well. 67 percent of ERP solutions are hosted on-premise, with only 27 percent using a SaaS model.

What is open source?

As the name implies, the key difference between an open source software program and a proprietary one is that the source code is open. You can download it, read it, change it, compile it, and give it to other people. The official rules for what is open source are defined by the Open Source Initiative, and can be summarized as:

Free Redistribution:

Anyone can sell or give away any part of the software.

Source Code:

Users must have easy access to the source code.

Derived Work:

Anyone can modify the software and redistribute the modified version.

Integrity of Author’s Source Code:

Authors can require that changes be done as patches or that modified versions are identified with different names or versions.

No Discrimination:

Any person, group, or field of endeavor has access.

No Constraints on Use:

The licensing governing use must not be specific to a product, not restrict other software, and must be technology-neutral.

Although many people focus on the “free ERP” aspect of open source, access to the source code can often deliver the most substantial long-term advantages. Also, open source solutions move control of the software from a vendor to your company. The most significant disadvantage is that you must have software development capabilities, either in-house or through a partner, to modify, compile, and support any type of open source solution.

Open source software solutions are also easier to work with because they use common programming languages like python, PHP,  Java, and C++. They run on Linux and open databases like PostgreSQL, both of which are available for free or as supported enterprise edition solutions.

Why put open source and ERP together?

Although open source ERP solutions are still a small part of the market, companies are finding significant benefits in the flexibility they allow. This comes in conjunction with increased usability and user adoption because they allow highly customized processes.

Some of the reasons that companies are adopting open source ERP are:

  • They own and control what may be the most critical software system in the company, enabling customization and removing dependence on an outside provider.
  • The cost is lower; usually free before customization.
  • Worldwide support exists from the development community, with the more common solutions sprouting companies to provide support.
  • The community is continually updating the tools behind the software whereas proprietary ERP often has older legacy tools that they can not upgrade.

In many ways, open source ERP is the middle ground between creating your own custom software from scratch and purchasing a proprietary tool. First off, it allows you to use the as-is solution for a while, for free or at meager cost, to understand what your needs are. This is an important step that is impossible when you write your own ERP and expensive with a solution from an outside vendor.

Customization takes work and skill but is manageable. The bulk of the software development has been done with open source when compared to creating a brand-new ERP system; the modules needed to gather, store, retrieve, and display data have been written and proven out. Instead of starting from scratch your development team or provider can start with that framework and, with access to the source code, make only the additions or changes you need.

In comparison to customizing a commercial solution, your team has access to the source code instead of a proprietary Application Programming Interface (API) or user interface customization tool that constrains what can be done. Nothing really beats seeing what a given module is actually doing and then changing the underlying code to get what you want. The same is true for changing workflows and user interfaces to create a more user-friendly experience.

What should you do to start exploring open source ERP?

The first step in exploring an open source ERP solution is the same step you need to take for any considerable enterprise software effort—look at what you have now and understand what is working and what is not. Once you have that in hand, learn from past ERP failures. Then turn your focus to what is essential for choosing an open source ERP tool.

Nail down and document your requirements, including mapping out business processes. Most of this step is the same as for any enterprise software effort, except that with open source you have to understand what you are starting with and what requirements you must add yourself.

Once you have your requirements (and management is on board, if applicable), start evaluating the wide variety of available open source ERP systems. While you are evaluating, make sure that they have the ability to work on mobile devices, they have robust security built in, and that you dig deep into the product reviews and user community comments to get a feel for any issues or missing capabilities.

Next, it is time to focus on implementation and customization of your open source ERP system. If you have a strong development team in-house, get them involved early and use standard software development practices to plan and manage your project. The only difference from a standard project is that you are starting with the bulk of the software already written.

If you do not have an in-house team, it is time to pick a partner to build the ERP software you need from open source code. Choosing a company like Zibtek that provides strategy and design along with coding can make all the difference in the world. We have the experience and the processes in place to focus on our clients’ business needs and requirements and deliver functionality. We can also provide you with long-term user support as well as software fixes and enhancements that will grow the positive impact of your ERP system. Reach out to our experts to learn more about how we can bring the advantages of customized open source ERP to your enterprise, large or small.