ERP Packages

ERP Packages

Free trials.  Both Xtuple and OpenBravo are open source software, and allow free downloads for Windows computers to evaluate the software.  Consultants with Linux and Sql knowledge can even implement multi-user solutions in the free and open source format.  Licensing for commercial use should be considered to help defray development costs for the publishers.

Seats vs Users; Most software for networks should be controlled by user, i.e. my use of the software allows me to do anything, including adding and deleting other users.  The new person answering the phones and entering vendor invoices, already coded and approved with g/l distribution, does not have permission to add more users, or cut checks.

With QuickBooks when you have three users, you have three seats.  You are not to install their software on twenty different computers but use only three at once as that is a violation of their licensing terms.

With the packages we review, you may have these twenty different computers with the software installed all linked to the database server.  But only the allowed and licensed number of users may run concurrently, i.e. be logged in and entering data or inquiring, at precisely the same time.

Compared to QuickBooks, OpenBravo is quite expensive.  Quickbooks, for three seats, costs around $ 687 per year and includes 60 days of support during each annual upgrade. With discounts it can be even less.  Support can be purchased seperately. However for five concurrent users they jump to $ 2,000 according to their web-site, and I have found their technical people reliuctant to tout this configuration.  They also offer an Enterprise version which costs around one and a half times more, but offers a more robust and SQL styled database engine and supports much higher numbers of seats.

Five Seats – Good for Eight to 12 Users

OpenBravoXtuple
Year One$ 5,000$ 4,500
Per Year$ 5,000$ 1,850
 Add Seats Annual$ 1000$ 162

Key Software Features

OpenBravoXtuple
 Servers None, Windows, Linux None, Windows, Linux
 DatabaseSqlServer, MySql PostgresSql
 Concurrency Unlimited Users Unlimited Users
 Full Demo Free, Single Seat Free, Single Seat
 Clients Windows, Linux Windows, Mac

From Xtuple; Software maintenance – access to all upgrades, major and minor – is included in the annual license, as is direct helpdesk support from xTuple if you have 15 or more licensed users.  The annual license is like a subscription.  You are licensed to use the software as long as you are current on your payments (either annual or monthly).  If you’re more than 30 days late, you could be in default of your license and support agreements. The perpetual license is a one-time purchase of the then-current version of the software.  Software maintenance is priced separately – currently at 18% of the current per-user license cost, and required for at least the first year.  Direct support from xTuple is another 7% on top of the maintenance (which is a prerequisite for support).

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Enterprise Resource Planning systems and Customer Relationship Management systems also known as CRM and ERP are valuable tools for companies wishing to use computing efficiencies to streamline operations. ERP systems focus on accounting, inventory and production systems and CRM is a tool to help customer service, sales and prospecting.

While proprietary software systems such as QuickBooks® exist that cover part of the ERP spectrum, and additional modules have been made available, more and more companies are looking at open-source software systems based on Linux servers. While companies quite regularly surrender to the Windows environment for the desktop needs of employees, the backroom server operations still allow IT departments to choose avoid single vendor dependence by using powerful Linux based servers and databases to form the backbone of their information processing operations.

While many larger companies have a need for active directory (AD) functionality, the core Windows flavor of the AD server environment forces savvy IT managers look for back room solutions that would not be susceptible to a windows kernel worm or virus attack. Additionally in the Unix community, the carrier-grade projects have produced up-time records that will never be met by propretary server operating systems. The memory leaks of certain proprietary systems lead to gradual degradation per unit of up-time and still persist in that environment.

Open Source software solutions for ERP and CRM are available that base the back room operations on the reliability, scalability and versatility of Linux servers while offering client computing on web browsers, Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 as well as Apple products. Packages such as Xtuple, Compiere and OpenBravo use a variety of powerful technologies that are growing in the quality and dependability of applications as quickly as Linux variants such as Ubuntu have grown for the desktop and laptop.

Smart and careful participants should keep watch for Open Source ERP and CRM for Atlanta companies.