The open source movement has truly changed the way we all think about and approach software.
Some of the programs have a very focused, individual-user purpose. For example, Mozilla Thunderbird takes care of your email and calendar while Libre Office affords you the open source equivalent of Microsoft Word, Excel, etc. — all for a raging price tag of Zero Dollars.
However, applications that are designed to run your entire business — by definition — are more complicated to set up and use. They deserve serious consideration as to what is the appropriate requirement in terms of investment in time and other resources (even if the base software is free). Capturing the moving and even non-moving pieces of your business in a collaborative manner has proven to do wondrous things in the ROI department: See how to calculate return on investment for your ERP.
As the PostBooks® Key Master, I interact with many different businesses all over the world. Some of these companies have been able to successfully implement the free and open source PostBooks® software without any formal assistance. For those ERP do-it-yourself champions, I applaud you.
However, I also see so many companies that don't give adequate consideration as to how best to implement even xTuple's Free Edition (complimentary license for up to 4 concurrent users).
All companies should think about:
- How will you set up your chart of accounts, pricing schedules, reports, items, costing, work centers, or CRM?
- How will you set up these elements to best align with the way YOU do business?
- How will you get set up and trained? Do you have an implementation methodology?
There are many smart people in this manufacturing and technology world. Experience shows us that "ERP-smart" requires a different set of skills that demand proper training specific to the application.
Our ERP Boot Camp class, for example, is a 5-day intense training course in which you start to set up a full business with the application from a blank database. And then you'll perform sales, purchasing, manufacturing, and even scheduling operations towards the end of the course.
We have professional services and post-production support teams along with a global network of trained partners that, if utilized effectively, will allow anyone to get the most out of xTuple. Take this as seriously as you do your business — and your livelihood. Invest the right balance of time and resources in xTuple. Just ask our customers.
Photo credit: mike demers on Flickr