OpenERP has become established as the main free market-changing alternative for enterprise management systems in amongst software from giants such as SAP, Oracle and Microsoft, and from the small software developers in their own niches.
Until now, only two main alternatives existed for systems that manage a company's information: install a proprietary ERP system, complete but usually overweight, inflexible, and expensive; or develop a solution internally, adapted to current needs but often expensive to develop, not integrated, and incomplete.
With its free business model, OpenERP combines the advantages of a complete ERP system with the flexibility of an in-house solution. The open source code, the project's general flexibility, and its hundreds of modules let you construct a solution from a selection of the modules already available and you can then freely update it as your needs evolve.
The results will be at the top end of what you might expect from any ERP system, let alone an Open Source system. The considerable gains in productivity, efficiency and visibility become apparent only a few months after implementation. And you can gain from increased operational quality even if you reduce your human resourcing intensity. Because there are fewer repetitive tasks for your staff to do, they can concentrate on higher value-added work. We frequently receive the gratitude of senior management who get better results from their business because they have adopted OpenERP.
You are Not Alone¶
Many resources are at hand to accompany you on your OpenERP adventure.
Bypass the Technical Difficulties by using the SaaS Offer¶
For a quick low-cost start, you can make use of a month's comprehensive free trial of Tiny's OpenERP SaaS package found at http://ondemand.openerp.com/. Using this, you sidestep any technical difficulties and get a comprehensive set of system administration services, server hosting, configuration to your environment, maintenance, support and initial training.
A SaaS package is suited to the needs of small enterprises that do not have very specific needs, and where the initial cost and the delay of implementation are critical factors.
To meet its objectives of minimal cost, the SaaS package aims for highly automated standardized data migrations, minimal support load by training customers well, and a strict limit to the number of modules offered. So you cannot use your own modules, and are limited to the standard modules that are included in various package levels.
Consult the Available Resources¶
Larger companies often prefer a more classic implementation path. Even though OpenERP's simplicity makes this task easier than with other systems, you cannot hide the fact that a project implementation is complex and introduces big changes to a company.
So you can turn towards some of the different actors in this free software ecosystem to help you out:
the community of users and developers,
Tiny's OpenERP partner companies,
the main project developers, Tiny, themselves.
The Community of Users and Developers¶
The community, supported by Tiny, hosts a set of communication tools which can help you in your OpenERP investigation.
The forum http://openerp.com/forum
The forum enables you to discuss issues with other OpenERP users. It is very active and you have a good chance of receiving some form of response to your questions within twenty-four hours or so.
The wiki http://openobject.com/wiki
The OpenObject wiki is used to manage activities around OpenERP.
You will find information about:
Shared Funding Projects
Real Life Meetings (e.g. Community Days)
Open Report (e.g. OpenReport, OpenOffice Plugin)
Database of OpenERP modules http://doc.openerp.com/v6.0/py-modindex.html
A database of all the modules available for use gives you free access to most of the known OpenERP extensions.
The most recent communication tool is the launchpad system, which now hosts all of OpenERP's source code (using the bzr source code control system) and is used for reporting faults. It is become the central location for OpenERP technology.
If you need contract-backed guarantees for implementing and maintaining OpenERP, you can contact an official OpenERP partner. OpenERP partners offer various services such as user training, prototype installations, and change management services. The complete list of partners by country and by type can be found on the official OpenERP site: http://openerp.com/partners
The Main Developer, Tiny¶
Finally you can call the main project developers, Tiny, who can help you in your OpenERP project. Tiny offers various services, such as free demonstration days for the software, user training and technical training, support contracts, maintenance contracts and developments as required. Depending on the demand, they can also put you in contact with partners most aligned to your requirements.
The mailing list To keep up to date with all OpenERP's news you can subscribe to the mailing list using http://tiny.be/mailman/listinfo/tinyerp-announce.
To conclude, do not forget that OpenERP has more than two hundred modules available and that many of them have not been covered in this book. So if you have not found a solution to your problems here, look amongst those modules, talk to other OpenERP users on the forum, and do not hesitate to contact a partner.
Wishing you the greatest of success in your ERP project,
--- Geoff Gardiner and Fabien Pinckaers.