Open Source ERP – Inventory

While Open Source solutions such as Linux, Firefox, MySql, or Java have long been of high reputation and are widely used, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) applications is more recent.
ERP applications are strategic for companies. This explains why it took longer to adopt the Open Source model. It is very likely that the current crisis has accelerated the current phenomenon, nevertheless, Open Source ERPs would not meet this vigor in the success without proven intrinsic qualities.
Here is an inventory of this market, realized from the white paper published by SMILE, an information technology services company of 350 people, specialized in Open Source.
SMILE has pre-selected six of the twenty-eight ERP applications listed, including: Open ERP, Neogia (Fork OFBIZ), Compiere, ERP 5, Open Bravo (Fork Compiere), and Adempiere (Fork Compiere). Notoriety, dynamism, technology, functional scope, flexibility and available resources are the evaluation criteria.

    • Awareness – The most popular applications are downloaded several thousand times per month (1000 per day for Open ERP). The Google trend shows that Open Bravo is at the same level of popularity as NetSuite, Open ERP in full ascension while Compiere and Adempiere are at a very average level. The other applications are not significant. With several hundred operational sites, it can now be established that these solutions have also reached maturity.Dynamism – The dynamism can be measured by the activity of the community: number of members, number of posts on the forums, number and frequency of provision of new community modules. With 1000 “posts” per day, Open Bravo certainly has a dynamic community. Open ERP is distinguished by the number of its modules (500) which increases from month to month. The others are far behind.
    • Technology – One of the first findings is that there is no spontaneous generation. Applications that were successful today were known three years ago. They have matured and developed, but their platform already foreshadowed their potential. All these solutions are available in Web version (apart from the “free” version of Compiere) and are based on a database (Postgres in this case).


They are differentiated by their ability to be adapted and integrated easily in a corporate environment. As such, object-oriented platforms have a significant advantage, especially when their architecture is also service-oriented (SOA). Neogia and Open ERP are part of this group, and this is especially obvious for the latter when one sees the ease with which the community created and adds new modules (from 300 modules at the beginning of the year to 500 today) Hui).
Functional Perimeter – The graph below provides an overview of the functional scope of each of the ERP applications. You will notice that free solutions can sometimes offer better functional coverage than commercial software for well-known SMEs such as SAP Business One or Dynamics Nav. The devil is in detail nevertheless. In the selection phase, the functionalities of these ERPs should be carefully studied and compared with the key business needs. Without being the best in a particular field, Open ERP is the most homogeneous whereas Adempiere and Open Bravo are more developed in the field of distribution.


For Compiere, it was the “free” version that was evaluated. The analysis does not reflect the potential of the “commercial” version.Available resources – The number of internal resources, if it gives an indication of the seriousness of the project, is not sufficient to quantify its scope. For example, OpenERP has an internal team of about thirty people but claims more than a thousand developers / contributors who create several modules per month. XTuple incorporates on average 5 to 6 contributions per new version (around 4 per year), OpenBravo highlights 270 active projects, and at Adempiere there are about thirty projects, some of which concern a whole section of the product (eg production modules, A contribution from e-Volution). At this game, Compiere seems distanced, all the new features are only available in the “commercial” version, the community space is inanimate and the contributions nonexistent. This is probably the price to pay for the “commercial” shift undertaken three years ago.

It is difficult to establish a hierarchy, however, two solutions seem to take full advantage of the Open Source model and are developing at high speed: OpenERP and OpenBravo. Adempiere seems to be looking for a second wind but remains an interesting ERP solution with more than 200 installations. Neogia is a rather rich solution, derived from the project OFBIZ, but remains too regional (France) and ergonomics leaves something to be desired. As far as Compiere is concerned, I wonder if we can still call it Open Source.
Analyzing the data from Google Trends, we can also note that Open Source ERPs are very popular in Europe and in emerging countries like Brazil, Morocco, Mexico … It is from Europe that we come OpenERP (Belgium) and OpenBravo (Spain). Adempiere of its side to much success in South America.
In North America, xTuple is beginning a breakthrough. This solution is very well finished and offers production management and planning capabilities that are not always standard in Microsoft or SAP SME solutions.
If this article should be summarized:

  • 1) Mature solutions
  • 2) Important communities that actively contribute
  • 3) ERP solutions that evolve very quickly
  • 4) Europe and the emerging countries are ahead in terms of adoption

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