8 reasons why Open Source ERP implementation is different.

Probably you have read my post about why large companies choose open source ERP
Although many people think the implementation of open source ERP is similar to a commercial ERP implementation, we found a remarkable number of differences.

These differences are caused by the different nature of the ERP system: Open source ERP has the program sources supplied, is free of commercial licenses and free to download from the Internet: so complete freedom for the end user. This will impact the implementation significantly.
Freedom is the key word, you can organize the implementation as you want it, no limitations can be imposed on to you by the implementation support company or the owner of the software (some license limitations may apply, be careful which ERP you select)

The implementation differences between open source ERP and a commercial system:

  1. Project implementation organization freedom.
    If you really wanted, you can do it all yourself, with no help from anybody. However, implementing ERP is a specialist job, for which you better hire a company for whom implementing ERP systems is their core business. Try working together with this company so you also get a technology transfer to your employees.
  2. Implementation support company selection.
    Finding a qualified implementation company can be a challenge, however look at the ERP system website, there is a section of companies providing support services. You can also check the ERP system forum or mailing lists for participants or check which companies contribute a lot to the system. They are often also the best providers.
  3. No cost limitation on modules or functions
    A lot of companies, start with accounting and then find out that additional components are expensive, actually very expensive, so the purchase of these additional components are at least delayed. Open source is free so this limitation does not exist and you can aim to use the system in all departments of your company.
  4. Order sequence of implementation.
    Commercial ERP implementation often starts with the accounting module. Open source ERP systems often start from the e-commerce- or marketing and sales module and accounting last. Open source accounting still can be tricky because accountant want to see well known accounting software and are often the most conservative employees in the company.
  5. Is a contract required for implementation?
    This is dependent on the implementation support company which supports the open source product. We can only say, we do not do implementation contracts, in the spirit of the product, the implementation has just as much freedom as the product has. Just start implementing with frequent invoices and the implementation can be stopped at any time. To make this possible, implementation starts with a small team and is later extended when is proven the open source ERP implementation is going well.
  6. Customizing easy so why not create a new menu shell?
    Open source ERP system customizing is easy, so do not hesitate to create menus specifically designed for the employee functions in your company. He/she sees just the functions required which eases the acceptance.
  7. Is upgrading, when customizing, a problem?
    In general it should not, but it is depending on the open source system selected and if the vendor follows the implementation guidelines. Ask what it would cost if you would like to upgrade the base system monthly, then you know from the start if the customization will be done properly.
  8. Implementation methodology.
    In general open source implementation companies follow the latest developments, not only in technology, but also in implementation methods. They are often using the newer project management methodologies like Scrum for implementation, although combined with Prince2 for the management organization and reporting. (check here for more info) The advantage is that during the implementation the end user can change his mind for the parts which are not yet implemented but part of the project.
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