Monday, September 29, 2008

Open Source ERP System

Does your company need an ERP system? Come find out if it is right for you.

The basic definition of an open source ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system is an overall system that can organize and control the resources of a company and allows the user to change or update the code. Originally open source referred primarily to programs that could be found for free online. Many open source products are still available for users to access for free. Of course free is always a nice phrase, but sometimes, especially in the case of an open source ERP system, this option is not always the best idea for a company or organization even if it may appear to be the most financially viable option. The reasons for this are numerous, although mainly it is because an ERP system often requires a high level of maintenance and knowledge in order for it to run correctly, and most open source ERP system products do not provide user support.

There are also open source ERP systems that are not free. You pay for the basic product but have the ability to customize the code. There are many vendors who supply these systems that can be found on line. Here again, you need to have a good system of user support or your own in house IT who can support the system.

To best understand why you would need user support, you need to understand that the resources an open source ERP system organizes are vast and range from technical data items to actual people and tacit and explicit knowledge. Even the most basic parts that comprise an ERP system can get complex when entwined, so before considering an open source ERP system be sure you take each component into account and measure your company’s ability to maintain the overall system independently.

As you are already aware, the very first component of an ERP system is the software which is either going to be free, making it an open source ERP system, or from a vendor such as SAP. Either way, the software will help you to take all of the databases in your system and enter them into one master database that holds all of your company’s information for easy reference.

Of course, depending on the type of software you choose, you may need to upgrade or install the second component of an open source ERP system, the hardware. This ranges from your office computers to any equipment that is found at remote locations or with personal that frequently travel. Which of course brings into play the third component of the open source ERP system, which is the employees themselves. You need to make sure that all employees are in the process of being trained when the new open ERP system is placed into play, or have been trained previous to the implementation.

Even the best open source ERP system will not work correctly if your employees are not able to understand how to input correct data into it. The accuracy of the data and the open source ERP system overall is going to relay on the training the employees receive.

That makes the final component of an open source ERP system when is the IT team and their ability to maintenance it.

Proper selection and implementation of an open source ERP system can increase productivity while giving you the best possible customization for your company’s future growth and expansion.

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