You may have heard three letters “ERP” being thrown around by a large number of companies, all offering different solutions. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) encompasses a wide variety of business functions and can quickly become an area of confusion for most businesses.

To keep things simple, an ERP solution is a solution that allows you to integrate your businesses processes inside of one platform. For example; your CRM, email marketing, and accounting platform all operating inside one piece of software – these are only a few examples. Many ERP solutions offer a much larger number of modules that can integrate together.

Today we are going to share our opinion on Odoo, an all-inclusive open source ERP platform. With over 30 primary modules available and more than 16,000 third party plugins and apps available, Odoo truly is a modular tool that expands with your business.

Odoo comes in 2 flavours Enterprise (closed source) and Community (open source) which we will dive into later. As part of this introduction we will cover all the general features and do a side by side comparison in our next post as some additional features are only available in Enterprise.

What makes a great ERP system?

Bigger is not always better. Odoo offers a feature for almost every business requirement, but this is not necessarily a good thing.

The most important feature to look for when selecting an ERP system for your business is choosing software that has the flexibility to expand with your business needs.

Luckily, this is what makes Odoo Community Edition so appealing. Thanks to it being open source, every feature and module can be modified at the code level to meet any business demand.

What solutions can Odoo provide? 

If you need it, Odoo has you covered.

The vast library of apps consists of four main categories:

Websites

As the title suggests, the websites module includes a Website Builder that allows you to create stunning websites with drag and drop functionality similar to Wordpress, Squarespace and Wix. There is even a dedicated blog application which makes it easier than ever to develop and implement a professional content marketing strategy.

The powerful eCommerce platform allows you to keep track of your sales and inventory with automated stock adjustments and granular reporting.

Sales

Odoo promises that you will sell more, faster than ever before and maximize your profits by using their sales apps.

I'm afraid I have to disagree.

Give a blind man a Ferrari, and he will crash. The same principle applies when implementing Odoo, you can't take an unprofitable business and turn it into a Fortune 500 company overnight through the use of ERP software.

What Odoo does is gives your business the best tools available to ensure your sales processes run seamlessly. With a clean and minimalistic quotation tool that integrates with your CRM and Accounting platform, it makes selling simple. Taking the burden off your sales team and providing them with the extra bandwidth they need to approach more leads and close more deals.

Operations

It's time to stop recording your transactions manually.

Say goodbye to data entry, Odoo will create professional invoices, manage recurring billing and automate your entire invoicing process. All of this data can instantly sync to your mobile device, allowing you to track your assets and depreciation boards on the go with ease.

Bank Synchronization enables you to sync your bank statements, automatically giving you a higher level of control over the management of your bills and expenses.

Productivity Tools

From team communication to marketing to document and planning modules, there is such a diverse range of tools to choose from, each offering their own feature set.

Since I work in marketing, it is a no brainer what my favourite module is.

Through Odoo’s marketing platform, I can replace social media management apps like Hootsuite and Buffer. I was able to cancel my Mailchimp license thanks to the feature-rich email marketing tool.

If you wish to stick with MailChimp that’s cool too as there are 3rd party integration's that can be purchased to extend Odoo’s functionality into other platforms.

Being able to unify my workflow with Odoo was so simple that I feel stupid. I wish I’d made the switch earlier.

These are only a small snapshot of the features available. If you would like to see each app in more detail, visit the official Odoo website to learn more.

Who are the competitors?

If you are looking for an open source fully encompassed ERP alternative to Odoo Community Edition, you will be hard-pressed to find one. There are currently no notable competitors in the open source market.

However, it wouldn't be fair to end the conversation here, as several commercial offerings rival Odoo.

Salesforce

Salesforce is a household name and marketed as "the world's #1 CRM".

In a side-by-side features comparison, Odoo ticks all the boxes and offers a broader range of features than Salesforce. Simple things like invoicing, eSignatures and online payments are absent from Salesforce, which is astonishing considering that you are paying a premium price, you expect a premium product over a free and open source offering. Ranging from free to premium to in-between.

Now I must admit the user interface on Salesforce is gorgeous in comparison to stock Odoo straight out of the box. However, looks can be deceiving as I find the UI extremely counterintuitive and difficult to navigate – it feels over complicated.

Odoo allows you to customize every part of the user interface and theme it to match your company brand. With Salesforce, you are renting their software. While there is a recurring cost to use the enterprise version of Odoo, the community version enables you to truly make its platform a part of your business and become intellectual property that you own.

NetSuite

Oracle's NetSuite is a highly rated and expensive solution. When pricing is "by quote" only, you know you are playing in the big leagues, and rightly so, NetSuite won the Expert's Choice Award in 2019.

There is no denying that NetSuite is a popular choice for mid to enterprise businesses looking to integrate an ERP platform into their business. Odoo provides a detailed comparison of Odoo Online, NetSuite, and Microsoft Dynamics which you can view here.

Odoo holds its own against tech giant Oracle. In a comparison conducted by Finances Online Odoo comes close in terms of customer satisfaction, features and pricing. Netsuite could send your business broke.

Considering Odoo is a drastically more cost-effective solution and far more customizable than the commercial offerings, it is the perfect solution for small to mid-sized businesses looking for an all-encompassing ERP platform for their business. 

SAP Business One

SAP Business One is designed to be implemented quickly, and this is achieved by minimising the customisations available. There is also a lack of features when it comes to shop floor control and manufacturing straight out-of-the-box.

There is a large selection of value-added resellers, who offer their own custom modules for sale to fill in the complexities missing in Business One.

Why is Odoo better value than the competitors?

If you are in the market for a genuinely open source ERP solution, Odoo Community Edition is the only reliable solution that we can recommend. We are a little bit slanted because we have our own Odoo team and specialise in delivering Odoo odoo customisation and solutions to our clients. We honestly think Odoo is one of the best ERP solutions available, and we practice what we preach. There are no initial license costs, and you have the option to host and run Odoo on-premise.

If your asking your self why opensource compared to closed source you should check out our other article on Why OpenSource Is Good For Business

Odoo Community Edition is feature rich straight out of the box, the customization potential is limitless. Whether you have a development team in-house or decide to outsource your build, 100% of the source code is available online and ready to be tailored to your business.

If you decide to outsource, the value add of Odoo is that it is agnostic to the type of business you have. It doesn't matter which industry you're in, the stock modules all work together from the beginning, allowing you to start building your workflows and processes.

Can I migrate my existing business data?

Odoo allows you to unify your existing business workflows.

If you are currently running multiple systems for different tasks, Odoo makes it simple to import and combine all your data. With support for excel and CSV files, you can quickly and easily import your existing CRM databases.

If you are interested in finding out more about Odoo, contact us today to book your free consultation and learn how we can help you implement an ERP solution tailored to your business needs.

Kendall King

With over 10+ years experiance Kendall is Velocity Hosts marketing and sales stratagist.

Degrees in Writing and a Masters of Research Kendall brings a vital edge to the (vh) team in 2020. With fresh ideas across a broad spectrum of businesses personas. Kendall has your business covered.