xTuple's Collective Brainpower Blog

Project management is no doubt one of the most stressful jobs in any company. If you're a Project Manager (PM), then you're directly responsible — and accountable — for the success or failure of your project. Some PMs try to cope with the high level of stress, while some PMs simply ignore or refuse to recognize that they are under stress. Other PMs don't fare as well and suffer the negative impact on their personal health and well-being. Yes, taking on and rolling out a large project such as a new eCommerce launch can put loads of stress on you — and your staff. What if I told you that you'll be just fine, if you follow ...

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet — at least that's the theory — still popular these many centuries later, first written in one of William Shakespeare's most famous plays "Romeo and Juliet." The actual couplet is: "What’s in a name? that which we call a rose... By any other name would smell as sweet." Was the infamous playwright right? Or wrong? Modern marketing knows the truth. What we call a thing is important. It has weight. It matters. Whether you want to convey a negative or positive, strength or weakness, or a set of attributes that promises specific features and benefits and/or services.

Whether you work in sales and/or marketing, accounting or purchasing, or any of the myriad operational roles in manufacturing or distribution (or perhaps you inhabit the c-suite as an owner or CFO), if your business has more than ONE CONTACT to its name, your success relies on accurate information about your contacts — employees, suppliers and vendors, customers and prospects. Failure to keep your lists “clean” and orderly is not an option.

xTupleCommerce was originally conceived to help Manufacturers and Distributors give their customers direct, web-based, round-the-clock, self-service access — from anywhere in the world. For early adopters, this live, web-integration of accounting, customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) with eCommerce dramatically improved their ability to market products, operate more efficiently, and meet the needs of the millennial generation. And why do millennials matter?

When starting with xTuple, one of the first challenges you face is getting the system set up and ready, before you can even log in. We do offer a free online demo, of course, to preview the software, but once you are ready to get started on your own, you need something to guide you through the required steps. xTuple has just updated and consolidated a wealth of essential information for systems administrators and database administrators who want to set up and run xTuple ERP software. We've combined knowledge from websites, manuals, code repos, and other sources into a new book called the xTuple Admin Guide that is available to read for free at xTuple University.

Anyone who is a registered member of the xTuple community should have received an email from us this week. The message contained our first-ever weekly digest of xTuple forum activity. We're hoping this simple weekly update helps you feel more connected. In case you didn't see it, here's what the digest looks like:

Life's a journey. It's not always easy to tell what events will be life-defining ones, at least not then and there, in the moment. Life's biggest changes begin in such small, seemingly obscure ways — ways that start you on the path to something bigger. The person on that next phone call could be your future boss. Your voluntary internship could be your next paying job. These moments become iconic milestones. They help you look back and track your progress in life's journey. The successful quest from intern-to-full-time-employee is a very, very rare one indeed. Only a fortunate few can claim to have attained a win. I was one of the lucky few — to have the opportunity to get a ticket for the right ride, at the right time.

One of the smaller, geekier features in the upcoming xTuple ERP 4.11.0 final release is the ability to write scripts on (some!) xTuple ERP desktop client *widgets*. We've long had the ability to write scripts to modify the behavior of existing windows and even write new ones, but now you'll be able to change the behavior of individual widgets. Here's the deal with widgets...

More knowledge is a good thing — we know that. Life-long learning not only improves us personally and moves us along our career paths, it's also good for business. We've seen literally thousands of xTuple training participants over the years take what they've learned from us and apply it to their own businesses. This lines up perfectly with our mission — to help companies of all sizes successfully implement powerful, and easy-to-use, open source Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to grow their business profitably. What's good for your individual business is also good for your local, regional, and the global economy as well.

Streamlining your business is our number one response to the question, "Why ERP?" Even the smallest manufacturers and distributors can benefit from the scalable functionality of xTuple's business software solutions. From our introductory level PostBooks® to our robust, "everything included" Enterprise Edition, we probably have a solution to meet your needs. Remember the old rotary-dial telephone?

Millennials are moving to America’s cities — and not just the biggest ones. While places like New York City and Los Angeles remain millennial magnets, research from the Urban Land Institute shows that smaller cities, from Norfolk-Virginia Beach, Va., to Riverside, Calif., are actually seeing the most relative growth in their population of 25-to-34-year-olds.

Starting the company: “I originally started the company with a co-founder, who wrote the original version of the software from scratch. He was brilliant, but we disagreed on the importance of bringing code contributions from outside developers — which turned out to be central to our company strategy.” Hardest part of launching the company: “The economic climate after the attacks of 9/11 was, of course, very challenging. Implementing complex business software like this requires a sense of confidence in the future, and a desire to grow. That has been in short supply many times over the past 15 years.” A lesson learned:

Editor's Note: Blog post author, Perry Clark, is known among our customers and open source community as "the guy with all the answers." He is a true jack-of-all trades; the guy that can help with anything. Really. Anything! Perry joined xTuple 10 years ago when the company was young and looking for ambitious "jacks" (and "jills"). Over the years he's not only maintained that title, he's...

Recently, xTuple co-hosted a roadshow in Texas with long-time partner Larry Cartee of Magical Custom Programming. While in Houston, I was invited to a radio interview with The Price of Business to talk about the latest in business management technologies and what they can do for a company's bottom line. The show, which is the longest running business program in Houston, Texas, is on Bloomberg’...

CEO Ned Lilly honored for harnessing the power of global collaboration through open source development: Lilly will accept the 2017 Entrepreneurial Excellence Award presented to businesses in southeastern Virginia by Regent University School of Business & Leadership and Inside Business. Preceded by an entrepreneur panel discussion, the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award luncheon and awards ceremony will be held June 12, 2017, at The Founders Inn in Virginia Beach.

Let’s face it. In the "high-school dance party" of software, enterprise resource planning (ERP) is the kid in the corner, shirt buttoned to the top, playing with his calculator while the other kids dance. ERP is complex, serious stuff: supply chain management, material requirements planning, master production scheduling, cost analysis, sales forecasting, financials. You need it to be successful, but you tend to keep it up and away from the customers. You don’t want them to see it — you want them to talk to sales, not operations and accounting. Right?

About 10 years ago, our daily newspaper wrote an article [Virginian-Pilot: Granby Street's hipness is luring high-tech workers] about our CEO Ned Lilly. A few days after it was published, his friends commented that they still don't know what he does. Yeah, it can be complicated. Most people are comfortable with word-processing and spreadsheet programs, and while there are some great features (linking sheets, etc), it's not a replacement for enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. But what is ERP?

The xTuple Document Tab is the very useful way to attach files to documents and transactions in xTuple. Customers are always using it for things like attaching a copy of a Purchase Order (PO) to a Sales Order (SO). Or attaching a Customer’s logo art to the Customer record. It can come in very handy for customers who are regulated, and need to attach Certificate of Compliance to Lot of an incoming purchase of a Lot Tracked raw material. How about attaching a drawing to an Item Master?

Grab a cup of coffee, and let's chat. As you may have gathered from another of my blog posts, 6 Ways to Make Your ERP Work Better, I highly recommend customers and partners attend our Training Classes. Every user — even those in the software testing or research phase — benefits from more hands-on education. Not only can you learn how to setup and configure the software for your specific needs, you'll also learn tips and tricks for every day use of xTuple ERP. Group training has the added benefit of...

Whether you're new to xTuple or a long-time community participant, you'll undoubtedly agree that xTuple Forums are the best place to meet other users online. It's where ideas are exchanged and your most important questions are asked — and answered (or debated!). The forums are a great resource to tap into the xTuple open source ERP global community and our shared user knowledge base. Drum roll, please ... Out with the old, in with the new! We've been listening to your feedback and...