using free open source ERP

Overcome the fear of ERP

Speaking of companies looking for an ERP systems, the first impression of company executives is often the huge implementation costs. In fact, a considerable number of business owners or decision makers are more confused about how to implement this project effectively. What's more, how to start this project correctly is also an unknown risk to a company.

In traditional ERP projects, high software license fees, thousands of complex function combinations, unverified consulting companies, and lack of internal professionals have become the main obstacles for companies to implement ERP. Many companies have no choice but to face high license fees before even starting implementing ERP software. Customers who paid expensive software usage fees for some traditional ERP and found that the system they got was actually very different from what they expected. The complexity of an ERP is that it is impossible to understand all the functions and configurations in a short time. When many traditional ERP projects are halfway through, it is found that many functional modules are not included in the original contract, and additional costs are required. In this case, the initial budget and schedule cannot be carried out as scheduled, and differences and disputes will occur between vendors and customers, which will bring various issues to the later implementation. From here, we have also led to the third obstacle, how to choose a good ERP consulting company. In fact, before a real cooperation for a period of time, it is difficult for anyone to say that this is an ‘appropriate’ consulting company. The word "appropriate" is emphasized here to explain that different consulting companies have their own expertise and characteristics, and each client company that needs to be implemented also has its own special company background. Under this situation, both the consulting company and the client are facing certain responsibilities and risks in the initial stage, which is a major hidden risk in the subsequent implementation. The client company may also be bound by the consulting company and be at the mercy of others. One of the better ways to deal with the above three problems is a team with a strong ERP background within the client company. This team can professionally and objectively analyse requirements, software selection and evaluation of the implementation team. The cost of the team (including training and how to retain people) and the work of the team after the completion of the project have become the biggest concerns of most SMEs.

To sum up, the implementation of an ERP project seems to be complicated, with hidden issues, and extremely risky. In fact, these are real problems that traditional ERP implementation cannot escape and must be solved. In order to reduce the above obstacles as much as possible and revolutionize (at least an excellent alternative) to the traditional ERP implementation method, OSCG put forward the concept of ‘DIY your ERP’. The several elements proposed in this concept greatly reduce the risk of ERP implementation and solve the problems caused by the above-mentioned obstacles. It is very suitable for companies that want to understand their own needs, lead the implementation by themselves, and receive long-term support services.

Choose a good free open source ERP software

A few years ago, open source ERP software prevailed, and projects led by Compiere, OpenBravo and Odoo (Formerly OpenERP) won the industry's focus. In the next few years, due to acquisitions, closed-source, and lack the support of a good business model, most of the projects have stalled or changed their nature. Now, among one of the only a few, Odoo still supports fully open source and continues to innovate and improve the products. This open source ERP system originating in Belgium has become one of the most popular ERP systems in the world, and has gradually formed a threat to traditional ERP (such as SAP, Oracle, etc.). Because Odoo is completely free of charge and the source code is open, as a customer, you can have plenty of time to try it out, evaluate the system and even implement it yourself.

Adopt a Pilot Project before Full Implementation

Traditional ERP projects usually require a one-time commitment from the implementation team and the customer. The client invested a large amount of financial resources in the project at one time and the relevant staff did not even know where the ERP system was in progress. The implementation team also invested a lot of manpower and material resources but did not know whether the configuration can meet customer needs. Because the teams on both sides have their own understanding of the requirements, it eventually leads to confusion and disputes. In order to significantly reduce risks and costs, OSCG recommends that customers use pilot project services before signing a formal implementation contract. In the pilot project service, we can deeply understand the needs of customers. Customers also have the opportunity to learn more about the system and its functions. Customers can also experience the operation in the database configured by the consultant according to the operations of the client company. After completing the pilot project, it is time to decide which functions to choose and to be implemented, whether to choose a self-directed implementation method or to rely heavily on consulting companies, and formulate a project timetable according to priorities. Regardless of the choice, the pilot project leads to a solid foundation and controllable risks.

On Demand Technical Services

After completing the pilot project, the client company may choose to implement ERP on its own. However, due to lack of experience and unfamiliarity with the system, it is inevitable that there will be various minor and major problems. In order to be able to DIY their own ERP system more smoothly, customers can choose some third-party technical support services, and they can also find answers to their problems in the major forums of the Free Open Source Communities. The advantage of adopting this method is that the client company does not need to pay a large amount of fees, and it is not easy to be bound by the consulting company, and it is necessary to purchase support services. Among them, the technical support service package usually covers almost all functional and technical problems in the implementation process of the system. Even after the  DIY project goes online, purchasing long-term maintenance services is a guarantee for the availability and stability of the system.

Ask for Tailor Made Trainings

If you blindly participate in some generic ERP trainings, you generally only master general knowledge and some theoretical concepts. Due to the different backgrounds of each company, general ERP training does not seem to be effective. Based on the client company's DIY own ERP method, the client can participate in some tailor made trainings according to his actual situation in the early, middle and later stages of implementation. For example, in the early stage of implementation, you can go to participate in some data import and parameter configuration training. Through the pilot project, customers that know the focus of their project can propose training outlines to some experts or consulting companies. Training in this way often results in much better feedback.

Use cloud services to increase efficiency

Today's cloud technology provides an excellent platform for DIY's own ERP. According to our analysis, a reasonable choice of cloud services can save the company 50% of server costs. Server maintenance is a long-term cost, and a 50% saving is a very considerable economic benefit. For small and medium enterprises, the use of cloud services can also bring better data security and service availability.

Is Free Open Source ERP Real
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