Open Source ERP – Does the future belong to them?

Mannheim, Germany was the place and 1972 was the year when few IT engineers from IBM got together and after some extra hard work for next few months, a new software took birth that was called as “Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung” by them. This is best known as SAP today. After this, we saw advent of JD Edwards, Lawson, Oracle, BaaN etc. and it was clear that ERP has taken a flight into the future.

The latest in this journey is the advent of Open Source ERP and though the success rate was not the same when compared to other established players, it was clear in first few years that this is here to stay and has the potential even to dethrone much large and established players from their respective positions. The reasons of popularity of Open Source ERPs started from cost effectiveness looking at the amount of investment go in an ERP project. Clearly ERP occupies a significant place in the budget of the company. So, here open source ERP has helped in reducing the amount spent not only by way of offering source code and software programs at free of cost but also by easing the procedures. The consulting effort from the ERP vendor went down considerably.

The other major benefits that open source ERP offered are the flexibility of implementation and ease of understanding. In addition, you need to install only those codes, which you are going to use and others can be ignored. But as they say, thorns come with the roses and open source ERP is not an exception. Dependence on experienced code developers is more in these cases as whole of your solution is based on this. Again, the richness of the features that is found in products like Oracle, SAP, Dynamics etc. is not there in most of the open source ERP products, as per some key researchers. But, as we know open source ERP is a late entrant in the fray so it will be unfair to compare them with the early starters.

Talking about some of the well known open source ERP products, I would like to list some of the good ones here as per my knowledge:
  • xTuple
  • Ofbiz
  • Openbravo
  • OpenERP
  • JFire
  • ERP5
  • Compiere
  • ADempiere
  • Opentaps
  • Sequoia
  • WebERP
I feel that the last recession made the case stronger for the open source ERP products to make a larger foray into most of the industry verticals and I feel a strong urge to do a little more research in this area before recommending the readers to go for it. Watch this space for more!


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  2. Well said Puneesh. I agree open source is not without problem. I work on Apache OFBiz and I see it going stronger day by day. I am working on modularizing the OFBiz using OSGi.

  3. I am working with xtuple postbooks. We have many clients running live, and it is working quite well.


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