In a space of a decade open source has moved from being a fringe and niche provider of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications to being a viable contender against most commercial ERPs.
Enterprise business applications is the last frontier for open source to conquer. While open source software has quickly found themselves inside organizations in various places such as as server operating systems, web servers etc, getting to be the heartbeat of an organization, which is what an ERP does and provides, is not be an easy sell.
Despite this, open source ERPs have managed to slowly increase their market share, and play in the various markets as defined by size and in different geographical locations.
Here I have listed the different open source ERPs based on my own analysis and research. There are some open source ERPs that definitely wouldn’t make this list as I am mainly looking for open source ERPs with either solid commercial backing & support or a vibrant community.
I have listed the ERPs based on their alphabetical order.
A1.iO has its roots in Adempiere and is designed by a firm called Alliance Technologies. This ERP has traded off depth and attention to detail with industry focus. The extensions reviewed, and especially the one for Higher education, A1 Academia, would give any commercial offering a ran for its money.
A1.iO is aimed at Mid-Large firms and offers a narrow focus but with the requisite depth. In terms of modules, the Key ones are Finance, Procurement, Materials Management, CRM, Human Resource Management, Maintenance & Asset Management.
A1.iO provides verticals for a few markets such as Public Sector, Higher Education, Healthcare & Defense so it would be good to evaluate the package before using it in such industries such as Manufacturing etc
In the higher education, A1.iO has a very comprehensive vertical, A1 Academia, that would offer any mid-large higher ed institution more than enough capabilities.
The ERP is web-based and uses HTML5 front-end to render the ERP.
Adempiere is the leading community backed open source ERP. Adempiere has its history as a community fork of the first major open source ERP, Compiere.
Adempiere provides a solid-base for automating the basic ERP modules such as Finance, Procurement, Inventory management. Extensive modules for CRM, Human Resource management, Asset Management, Maintenance are missing or the ones available are shallow.
Adempiere is equivalent to getting your Linux from kernel.org, in the ERP world! It provides a solid platform for developers to implement, but this also means that it doesn’t come with the usual polish that is associated with commercial software. However, with a good vendor or developer it can be implemented to cater for the needs of Mid – Large firms, and indeed many have done so.
Adempiere uses Java UI on a client-server model, but various extensions such as ZK are being built to web-enable it in production environments.
Openbravo is an offshoot of Compiere. at least, its Application Dictionary was derived from Compiere.
Openbravo has done a good job to build an ERP for the Small-Medium enterprise. It has a good financial package, but is shallow on procurement, crm, human resource modules. However, for its target market in the small-mid firms, finances take precedence and the need for extensive modules in such areas as procurement and human resource are not really necessary.
Openbravo transitioned to a neat web-interface with the version 3.0 and continues to invest more resources in making their ERP web-enabled and easy to use.
OpenERP has its history in Belgium and its one of two ERPs in this list that doesn’t have a base in Compiere.
It targets the Small-Mid enterprises as evidenced by its myriad verticals / extensions (approaching hundreds) which unfortunately also means that it lacks in the requisite depth needed to handle the operations of larger firms.
OpenERP has made a large marketing push with its SorrySAP campaign, but for all intents and purposes it cannot be an SAP replacement, at least not in the mid-large market sectors.
Most of the modules associated with an ERP are there, but this seems to have been done while sacrificing depth. There are also lots of other modules done by OpenERP itself, as well as the community at large.
OpenERP has invested in making a nice web-enabled ERP and that is pretty easy to use.
xTuple has been in the market for almost 10 years now. It initially started as an open source ERP with a particular focus in the manufacturing in the year 2000 when it was known as OpenMFG.
Initially, OpenMFG was a commercially licensed ERP system targeted toward small to midsize manufacturers. With time, they allowed customers who had bought the product access to the source code.
OpenMFG was renamed xTuple in 2007, and the company has gone on to provide the requisite depth as required by manufacturing organizations and would be the top choice open source erp in that sector.
xTuple is built using QT, and hence is the only one in this list that uses the client-server model and is not web-based.