Monday, June 28, 2010

Does "Open Source" Mean that the ERP Implementation Effort is Less?

Stumbled upon a blog post where the author was making the case that open source ERP is "free", implementation is "simple" and user training is somehow "optional". The author also seemed to think that all the documentation was available that would make customizations a "snap". Okay that's not exactly what was said, but the  implication was that open source ERP implementation and training was somehow easier and cheaper.

Open source ERP solutions are certainly less costly than proprietary solutions. Open source means that there is a "free" version available, but in general the "free" version will not have the functionality that a business of any substance would require. Licensed versions (like all software, functionality varies by product) of open source software are still considerably less expensive (25 - 50%) than proprietary solutions of the same functionality and scope.

With open source solutions the licensee typically gets the code and can make changes as required to meet their needs or use a partner to make these changes. Solutions that are supported by a commercial enterprise will always have superior documentation, user community/forums and training materials. The xTuple training videos are on the web, including a YouTube channel.

Its is simply incorrect to think that open source ERP (again of the same scale as a proprietary equivalent) is some how easier to implement and requires less training of employees. This is simply not the case nor does it make logical sense - just because the license fee is less does not translate to a smaller implementation project.

Let's not forget that ERP implementations are first and foremost business process projects and should not be viewed as an "IT Project". If so the implementation is destined for failure.

OpenSurge is a xTuple Development Partner providing open source ERP implementation, customization and support.

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