Open Source ERP Software

Open Source ERP Software


Putra Imanuel Harefa, Rizaldy Syahputra

Information System Student of Universitas Indonesia

February 2013


Thinking in terms of business processes that integrate the functional areas leads to improvements in communication, workflow, and success of company, each organization needs to share information between functions and functional areas and ERP software provides this capability by means of a single common database. ERP systems provided seamless integration of all information flows in the company: financial accounting, human resource, supply chain management and customer information. There are so many ERP software currently available, both licensed paid and open source. The open source one like Open Bravo 3.0, Opentaps, Open ERP, and ERP5, they have each architecture, functionality/modules, advantages and disadvantages.

Key Words: ERP, software, open source.




1.1 Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a software application which united to support all of business processes. ERP provides integratedly all information through its functionality: marketing and sales, field service, product design and development, production and inventory control, procurement, distribution, industrial facilities management, process design and development, manufacturing, quality, human resources, finance and accounting, and information services.

The ERP concept is to empowerement the manager and employee. That means, they no need to waste a lot of time to do the processes of an administrative nature (non-value added activities), but can spend more time to think about things that are strategic, such as: how to grow the company, how to find new sources of revenue, how to find more customers, how to build better relationships with business partners, and others.

1.2 Open Source ERP Software

There are two types of ERP in terms of use, which are paid (propietary) and free (open source). For paid ERP softwares, you have to reach deep into your pocket to get this software, plus payments for services and additional features. This kind of ERP is typically used by a large complex companies. If your company is not overly complex and funds are mediocre, free (open source) ERP softwares could be a solution to your business.

There are many of open source ERP softwares spread in cyberspace, but there are four of them that will be explained and compared here. They are: Open Bravo 3.0, Opentaps, Open ERP, and ERP5.



2.1 Openbravo 3.0

A. Description and Arhitecture

Openbravo 3.0 , the agile ERP, is a modular, ready to use, 100% web-based open source and free business management system written in Java, that automates all of the core business processes for small and mid-sized companies. This makes an appealing alternative to SMEs. Openbravo is built on proven MVC & MDD framework that facilitate customization & maintenance of code. Openbravo already enjoys a growing customer clientele.

B. Functionality/Modules

The Openbravo 3.0 architecture is implemented using Openbravo Core and several related modules:

a. The JSON module provides the JSON REST web service, it is used for the client-server data communication

b. The Weld module provides dependency injection and component management

c. The Kernel module takes care of infrastructure tasks as request processing, event handling, compression and caching

d. The DataSource module uses the JSON module and provides higher level data request functionality for querying and data related actions

e. The Smartclient module provides the Smartclient user interface library

f. The Application module contains the implementation of the navigation bar, grids and forms and other application oriented client and server side code.

C. Advantages and Disadvantages

These are several advantages of using Openbravo 3.0 on your enterpise’s database:

a. It includes necessary functionality for complex retail management process,

b. It allows for integration with Point of Sale equipment (barcode system, touch screens, fiscal printers, card readers etc.), which improves sale process,

c. No license charge – Openbravo POS is available under Open Source license, what makes it a completely free retail system; eVolpe Consulting Group charges only the implementation, IT training and system extension,

d. Open source code allows for optimization of the functionality to fulfil your needs and raise the efficiency of your company,

e. Dynamic development – your software will always follow the current business trends due to free access to the latest updates,

f. Simple, intuitive and aesthetic graphic interface – you and your employees will not have any difficulties in getting familiar and using the software during your daily tasks,

g. Compatibility with Windows and free operation system Linux,

h. Detailed documentation – it allows for extending the system by any programmer, who is familiar with Java technologies,

i. Easy integration with free ERP software – Openbravo ERP,

j. Scalability – the system does not lose efficiency, even when its complexity grows.


But it also have several disadvantages:

a. The support system and documentation are inadequate.

b. Some users complain that the system crashes a lot.

c. There is another common complaint. If the Openbravo user is not an admin what’s the point downloading and installing something if you don’t have the admin privileges.


2.2 Opentaps

A. Description and Architecture

Opentaps Open Source ERP + CRM is a fully integrated application suite that brings together top-tier open source projects to help you manage your business more effectively. Today, Opentaps supports e-commerce, Customer Relationship Management, Warehouse and Inventory Management, Supply Chain Management, and Financial Management to Business Intelligence and mobility integration out-of-the-box. Opentaps have a robust and simple architecture. It basically follows a 3-Tier Web Architecture and the application server layer contains three layers namely:

1. Presentation layer.

2. Business Logic Layer and

3. Data layer.

The Data layer consists of an entity engine for handling the data access and persistence via data models which is defined in XML files which can act as an interface with the database. In the Business logic layer, small reusable pieces of code which can be written in various high level scripting language or XML which acts as services. One can define a workflow in an XPDL (XML programming defined language) format. Various services are then integrated to form a service engine. This service engine can be then called directly via web services using SOAP and RMI (EJB or enterprise Java Bean is a type of RMI).

Above the business logic layer consists of presentation layer which uses Model View Controller (MVC) pattern which then allows reusing the design elements, viewing the logic and forming an action.

B. Functionalities/Modules These are the modules of Opentaps:

a. eCommerce Online Store

b. CRM Features

c. Warehouse and Manufacturing Features

d. Financial Management and Accounting Features

e. Purchasing and Supply Chain management

f. Business Intelligence and Reporting

g. Technical Highlights

h. Project management

i. Human resources

j. Fixed asset management

k. Outlook and mobile phone integration with Funambol

l. Integration with eBay, Google base, Google check out

m. Content management

n. Point Of Sales

o. Magento ecommerce integration

p. Enhanced Financials module

q. VAT module

r. GetResponse email marketing integration

C. Advantages and Disadvantages

The main advantages of Opentaps is it has lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) that explained below:

a. Zero License Fees: OFBiz Apache 2.0 license requires zero license fees and no reciprocity clauses.

b. Open Source: Access to the source code guarantees your software framework investment can be developed independently from a third party vendor or integrator.

c. Standards Support: Support for standards ensures that OFBiz remains vendor-neutral and maximizes existing technologies and infrastructure. OFBiz supports the following standards: Java, JEE, SOAP / REST Web Services, MVC.

d. High Compatibility: Opentaps’s compatibility with numerous application servers, database servers, and operating systems drastically reduces the initial hardware and software investment required by your Opentaps initiative.

e. Many Application Functions Pre-Built: Over 100 function points are included with opentaps, reducing the customisation costs required by your implementation. Some users can deploy straight out of the box.


Besides, its also has advantages. Opentaps does provide a macro-based model to simplify the OFBiz Java code. The Opentaps API provides form widgets, tables and Ajax-based page refreshes. But technical documentation is poor at best. The reference material, code samples and module testing are better suited for quality assurance testers. Opentaps mixes OFBiz developer-centric documents with its application API. Reviewers analyzed some of the JavaDocs application APIs and found almost no information on class and method usage.


2.3 Open ERP

A. Description and Arhitecture

Open ERP is a complete and modular system with about 700 modules. ERP software has a strong MVC architecture with an object database, a dynamic GUI, distributed server, flexible workflows, and reports. PostgreSQL Database and server part is written in Python. This is a complete open source ERP software, which is designed to address the needs of the company and the process.

Open ERP also offering separate client and server components and the XML-RPC interface. The server runs separately from the client. It handles the business logic and communicates with the database application. The client presents information to users and allow them to inter-operate with the server. Multiple client applications are available. In addition to Linux, Windows and Mac interfaces, OpenERP has eTiny web interface is also available for TurboGears web framework. OpenERP is widely used by customers seeking to automate their sales processes effectively.

B. Functionality/Modules

OpenERP is a full suite of business software, including the following modules:

a. Accounting: Record your operations in a few clicks and manage all your financial activities in one place.

b. Application Builder: The OpenERP application builder lets you customize every module of OpenERP directly from the web interface without any development required.

c. CRM: Track leads and opportunities customized your sales cycle, controls statistics and forecasts and marketing campaign automation to improve your sales performance.

d. Human Resources: The module is for personnel information management, leave, time tracking, attendance‚ expenses, payroll, periodic evaluations and recruitment.

e. Invoicing: Create and supervise your entire supplier and customer invoices.

f. Manufacturing: Plan and control your supply chain through different applications in the Manufacturing module.

g. Marketing: Marketing campaigns can help you automate email and email sending, qualify leads and encourage customers to contact the right department.

h. Point of Sale: The OpenERP touchscreen point of sale allows you to manage your shop sales. It’s fully web-based so you don’t need to install or deploy any software.

i. Project Management: Keep track and manage your projects using tasks for short term project execution or plan phases for long term planning.

j. Purchase: Create and track your purchase orders, manage your suppliers’ info, control your products reception process and check suppliers’ invoices.

k. Warehouse Management: An inventory management system to easily manage complex needs: tracking stocks of suppliers/customers, full traceability, accounting links, and more. OpenERP supports multi-warehouse management based on hierarchical locational structure.

C. Advantages and Disadvantages

Open ERP is a cost-effective solution ERP softwares and also downloadable from the Internet hence it can be used in any business environment. Open ERP also doesn’t require a license fee before it can be implemented and it can be easily installed and used, starting to work for the business immediately. For several businesses, this is the best and the simplest as well as the most cost-effective way of streamlining their business operations.

Nevertheless, there are disadvantages of using open ERP. One of the key disadvantages of this application is that the business may not be able to maximize the use of the application. The reason behind this is that licensed ERP software is equipped with other features included in the package. These extra features are provided by the vendor hence the business may completely focus its attention on the core business operation independently.

As such, if the small or medium enterprise has no technical capabilities to address even simple errors that open ERP encountered, it may lead to disastrous effects. Professional assistance could not be achieved but the efforts to learn from own mistakes would be apparent.

Yet another disadvantage of open source ERP is its limitations. The features are very standardized so they may not be applicable to all companies or businesses. There could be the need to modify the current systems to accommodate the features of the open source ERP.


2.4 ERP5

A. Description and Arhitecture

ERP systems are quite complicated – they have to implement as most as possible of business logic in company. ERP5 distinguish from other ERP systems (open and closed source) with its coherency from lowest – theoretical – level. It is based on well developed theoretical model and to understand key concepts of ERP5 it is needed to understand briefly that model. Of course basic understanding of technical aspects is needed too.

The ERP5 abstract model is based on 5 classes:

a. Resource

b. Node

c. Movements

d. Path

e. Item

B. Functionalities/Modules

ERP5 is an Open Source framework and solution which covers all features of a modern ERP system:

a. Product Design Management (PDM) allows to build a consistent product database and manage though custom workflows the design process of complex products, including BOM and multimedia documentation.

b. Supply Chain Management (SCM) allows to manage orders, packing list, product referencing and warehouse with intelligent sourcing policies.

c. Movement Resource Planning (MRP) allows to plan production of complex products and its

impact on supply requirement and resource capacities.

d. Client Relation Management (CRM) allows to keep track of client/vendor interaction and sale / purchase opportunities.

e. Human Resources (HR) allows to manage personnel careers, assignments and payroll.

f. General Account Management (GAM) provides a general multi-multi ledger with group accounting support, invoicing, and advanced multi-key analysis.

g. eCommerce allows to implement online ordering, sales and RMA synchronized with ERP5 SCM and MRP.

h. Content Management System (CMS) thanks to the integration of the CPS Project to the ERP5 architecture allows to manage content rich documents with versioning and multi-lingual content.

C. Advantages and Disadvantages

These are several advantages of using ERP5:

a. Feature Advantages: ERP5 is a full featured ERP including customer relationship management (CRM), production management (MRP), supply chain management (SCM), product design management (PDM), accounting, human resources and e-commerce

b. Innovative Design: The design of ERP5 is quite unique and innovative. ERP5 uses a document oriented approach and represents all the flows of information with a unified business model which provides a consistent and robust application.

c. Technology Advantages: ERP5 is a recent and modern ERP solution which uses the latest information technologies.

But it also have several disadvantages:

a. Framework is often too low-level, if you want to test a feature closer to the user.

b. Selenium is basically one-directional, thus you cannot put complex expressions in it. Therefore, it is often necessary to write Python Scripts separately, and call them from tests.



With open-source ERP deployments now starting to take more hold, Openbravo is quickly gaining international penetration. Openbravo is gearing its open source software mainly to SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) and government agencies, which are less able to afford products and services from commercial ERP giants.

Meanwhile, because OpenERP is open source and backed by a large community, you can take advantage of more than 700 OpenERP modules on the OpenERP Apps website. But you do not need to use all the business apps. You can choose only the modules that you need for your business from the suite (e.g. just CRM or CRM and invoicing). This keeps your OpenERP tidy and less overwhelming if you do not need all the business apps. You can add additional modules (at no cost) as you need them.

Behind Opentaps stands not just one organization, but a community of users and developers worldwide and the global open source community, innovating together. And they also offer users the unlimited flexibility and innovation that comes with free access to the source code, along with the expertise and professional support of high quality commercial software. Opentaps is used by a number of organizations ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to startups.

ERP5 distinguish from other ERP systems (open and closed source) with its coherency from lowest – theoretical – level. It is based on well developed theoretical model and to understand key concepts of ERP5 it is needed to understand briefly that model.


Baller, Alfian. Pengertian ERP dan beberapa jenis software untuk menjalankan ERP. Accessed on 23 February 2013.

Beal, Vangie. (2011). What is OpenERP? Open Source ERP Software Explained. Accessed on 24 February 2013.

eBizz Asia. Implementasi ERP berakibat PHK. Rubrik Tanya Jawab E-business Volume II No 15 – Maret 2004.,0215.html. Accessed on 16 February 2013.

Enterprise Software. Review of Openbravo, a Web based ERP Solution. Accessed on 20 February 2013.

Evolpe Enterprise Resource Planning. Manage your enterprise with Openbravo ERP. Accessed on 16 February 2013.

H, Kristine. (2011). Open Source or Proprietary ERP Solutions?. Accessed on 24 February 2013.

Low, Terry. (2012). OpenERP. Accessed on 18 February 2013.

Miftah dan Didi. 10 Software ERP Terbaik. Accessed on 23 February 2013.

Open ERP. Module Development. Accessed on 23 February 2013.

Review Software xTuple. Accessed on 20 February 2013.

Opentaps Main Page. Accessed on 23 February 2013.

Architecture of Opentaps. Accessed on 23 February 2013.

Review of Opentaps, an Open Source ERP + CRM Solution. Accessed on 23 February 2013.

ERP 5 Handbook/Print Version . Accessed on 24 February 2013.

ERP5 Enterprise Services. Accessed on 24 February 2013.

ERP5 Home Pages. Accessed on 24 February 2013


  1. Hi,
    A detailed analysis indeed. One other open source erp solutions that I need to bring to your attention is A1.iO, its got its niche in Public Sector, Supply Chain & Academia, but it does have the depth.

  2. Anytime OpenERP is considered as one of the best Open source ERP software implemented and customized by millions of companies worldwide

    Further being open source it helps you to customize the modules as per your business requirements. by the way they just renamed OpenERP as Odoo 🙂

    Globalteckz Team

  3. @Globalteckz OpenERP or Oddo is a good looking nice UI product…but its not an ERP more like a CMS/CRM product…It doesnt have much ERP functionality…even erpnext is better than that….OpenBravo is better….ino ERP is now setting the bar very high for all these products in terms of business functionality…But the thing is that none of this product will ever come close to Oracle/SAP..

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