My journey towards open source ERP began out of necessity. The company began using its proprietary ERP system back when Open Source Tier 2 ERPs were not fully mature and not readily available in the market. Presently, the proprietary ERP system is becoming costly to maintain. Customization is harder and more expensive. The company needed an alternative solution.
The company wanted to “own” its next ERP because it would be easier and cheaper to manage these customizations. An affordable and efficient alternative needed to be found. The search lead me to open source ERP. When I first discovered Open Source ERPs, these were still growing into fully developed applications capable of matching its proprietary equivalent. I evaluated a few before ending up with iDempiere. Features that I considered crucial when choosing an open source:
- Must have the basic Accounting functions
- Must be fully integrated with each major corporate process (ie sales order, purchase order, inventory etc.)
- Must have a manufacturing module
- Must be customizable to the company’s specific requirements
- Must be applicable to the Philippine setting
I evaluated the following:
TinyERP/OpenERP (now called oDoo) – oDoo is a feature filled ERP application written in Python. It has all the features that we required. I liked the user interface and how the different functions interacted with each other. It used to be fully open source but changed its business model a few years ago. It now has a community edition and proprietary edition. In its current iteration, and unlike aDempiere which comes fully loaded out of the box, you can configure oDoo at the bare minimum and add modules as needed.
Compiere – There was a Compiere reseller in the Philippines at one point and I communicated with them for awhile. Compiere was the original “piere” system before it forked to Open Bravo, aDempiere and iDempiere. Thus, all four ERPs have the same core functionalities and are similar to each other. However, the similarities ended with each fork. Compiere has a community and enterprise edition.
Open Bravo – OpenBravo is also a fork of Compiere. Hence, it also has the main features of Compiere. Similar to iDempiere and aDempiere, its core functionalities are also based on Compiere. Like Compiere and oDoo, it has a community and enterprise edition.
aDempiere – aDempiere is fully open source and is fully committed to remain open source. I figured that if Open Bravo, Compiere and aDempiere were similar, why not go to the ERP which had the minimal investment? On my initial evaluation of their test web site, I was delighted to find out that it could support our requirements the same way the other ERPs did.
iDempiere – is a fork from aDempiere. The main reason why I remain with iDempiere is:
- iDempiere has a GPL License
- iDempiere is as capable as the other ERPs available
- iDempiere has a very active community support (a very big bonus!)
- iDempiere is flexible and can be customized according to Philippine Computerized Accounting System (CAS) requirements
- iDempiere is fully open source (no community and proprietary editions)
- Many core developers have switched from aDempiere to iDempiere
- Initial cash investment is minimal
I prefer looking for open source alternatives before proprietary alternatives. If the open source alternative could satisfy the company requirements, why go with an expensive proprietary version? It is mostly a “needs” versus “wants” evaluation process. Needless to say, as cost and “ownership” was a major issue for me, I decided to use iDempiere.
Can one directly compare iDempiere with Tier 1 ERPs (such as Oracle, SAP or Microsoft Dynamics)? It will be difficult to find any missing feature or use case with these Tier 1 ERPs. iDempiere covers roughly 70% – 80% of features provided by these Tier 1 ERPs. Businesses based overseas are already using aDempiere/iDempiere. iDempiere has more than adequately serviced the needs of these companies.
If you’re currently assessing the needs of your company, ask yourself these questions:
“Are iDempiere’s features sufficient for the needs of our company?”
“Do we truly need 100% of these features?”
You will pleasantly discover that Filipino SMEs will be satisfied with what iDempiere has to offer.