Open-source software (OSS) usage and interest has been accelerating over the last two decades. It is estimated that about 80% of the entire Internet’s infrastructure relies on OSS. Here at Elico, we are advocates of Odoo, an open-source suite of business applications that encompass features such as CRM, accounting, purchasing, business analytics and more.
Customizability. Arguably, the most advantageous feature of open-source software, customizability allows the user to tailor his or her software to fit the business’ needs. Users have the right to modify as they see fit, and this enables unlimited changes to be made, which is particularly desirable for businesses with niche requirements. Elico Solutions, for example, specializes in customizing sales and commerce needs for Singapore. A high volume trading company may have a specific selling process that needs a customized module to incorporate it into their ERP, and open-source gives us the ability to do so.
Flexibility. Very much in line with customizability, you can make your software do what you want it to do. While you can get started on your own space, the possibility for you to scale is ever-present. There are several support options, much like Elico, one can look to when hoping to further strengthen and grow the potential of their systems.
Constantly Evolving. Because of the collaborative environment open-source software thrives in, peer-reviewing becomes a huge advantage. With Odoo, for example, there is an existing community of developers who seek to improve and upgrade this ERP system by creating new modules to better the experience for its users. In many open-source communities, technical issues are improved, modules are created, and the systems are updated at an incredible speed. As an example, Odoo is currently now on version 8, with a stable release of version 9 lined up soon.
Freedom. As a business owner, you have the freedom to dictate what you want and don’t want in your software. Different from customizability, however, this advantage of freedom means that you are not locked to vendors’ minimum requirements or their timeline for updating and progression.
Information Security. It may seem contrary that security is an advantage of open-source software. What helps it achieve this status of security, however, is the proactive and reactive community, as well as its customizability. A strong community of open-source developers certainly contribute to managing security risks. Even in high-security industries, for example, independent research shows that 9 out of 10 Wall Street banks use OSS.
Continuity. Many open-source software have very strong communities, and ensure that your system has the chance to constantly upgrade. What’s more is that having your source code means that you are in control, and can choose to take your customized software elsewhere at any point in time. For Odoo, the core source code is maintained and updated by Odoo, ensuring the stability of the software.
Integration. With some proprietary softwares, it is possible to get locked into only one kind of system. OSS allows you to integrate several different kinds of systems together without worrying about vendor-locking. This interoperability gives you flexibility that may not always be available with proprietary systems.
Auditability. With open-source software, the source code is publicly available, and any modifications made to the software is visible to the implementor. You, as a business owner, are able to verify and account for any changes, and you can trust that what you see (your software’s source code) is what you get (your developed, customized software).
Scalability. As your business grows, your open-source software grows with you. Odoo is known for offering the possibility to be build piece by piece. We at Elico have adopted an agile approach for implementation: customisation and set up of core features in a first phase, and addition of other modules as your business needs it. It is therefore reliable and quick to implement.
Almost two-thirds of respondents in the 2015 Future of Open Source survey (conducted by North Bridge) believe that open-source provides better reliability and scalability.
Cost-effectiveness. Finally, open-source software is known to be a cheaper alternative to many other proprietary software. Even better, OSS lets you try before you buy, meaning that, depending on your capacity to develop and implement the software on your own, looking for paid support options will only come much later in the game.
Despite all these advantages open-source software can bring, it is extremely important to understand whether your business has the capacity to adopt this kind of platform. Evaluating both your business needs and your team’s ability to develop and implement your choice OSS around these needs.
Stay tuned for an upcoming article from us on the important criteria to be considered when implementing an open-source ERP software for your business.