An ERP is one of the most important softwares a company may ever choose to adopt, because it connects, streamlines and optimizes their core business processes. This leads to more efficient and accurate access to data across the company, faster order fulfillment and a general uptick in organizational efficiency that just wasn’t possible before the ERP integration.
Because of this, the global enterprise resource planning software market was forecast to grow at a five-year CAGR of 7% to reach $44 billion in 2022. While Markets and Markets predict the total cloud-based market could reach $832.1 billion by 2025. ERP is used across multiple industries such as manufacturing, health care, education, agriculture, non-profit, hospitality, and so many more.
As you can see, ERP is clearly not going away; however, it will evolve (as all technology does and should), and cloud-based software is now considered a better choice for businesses looking for an ERP system. Cloud based software is exactly that: software that is accessible via the cloud. Historically, software had to be installed on an actual computer. But now, with cloud-based software, all you need is an internet connection.
Similarly, if you’re looking to evolve your business and stay technologically updated with an ERP, open source is the better option now, and will continue to be as the technology progresses. Here are five reasons why:
While there are basic, foundational principles that govern the general practice of business, the reality is that every business is unique. From a company’s culture to their yearly goals, specific quarterly initiatives and operations, each business is its own entity with specific needs that are dependent on where that company currently sits in its trajectory of growth and development.
Typically, when a company decides to adopt an ERP system, they are at a point in their journey where the needs of the organization are greater than their current operational capacity. By adding an ERP to their technology infrastructure, the business is able to effectively operate and scale in a way they weren’t able to before.
If every business and every function within each business is unique, wouldn’t it make sense to integrate with an ERP solution that properly meets the unique and specific needs of each particular business? Otherwise, you can find yourself stuck with a solution that isn’t actually a solution, but rather a half solution that presents new and different problems even as it solves others. And that’s what often happens when an org chooses a standard ERP solution that doesn’t have the inherent flexibility needed to scale with their business like an open source solution does.
In fact, most companies have to change the standard ERP they’ve chosen once they’ve been onboarded. That’s a lot of extra work and hassle! Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. An open source ERP can be altered to suit the unique demands of your business. And those changes can continue as your business grows and evolves.
Access to the source code
Open source means you have full access to the source code of the software you’re using, which is great because that allows you to adjust the code to suit your specific needs and assist in your company’s growth without restrictions. This is different than proprietary software, which has source code that’s hidden from all except the vendor. This means that whatever the software creator did and didn’t put into the source code determines what solutions you do and don’t get to benefit from.
A significant restriction you’ll face with a standard ERP is time. The time to rework the system, the time to contact the provider and hash out the specifications that you need to be changed in the ERP to suit your business. With open source, you have the code, and you make the adjustments you need on your timeline without any restrictions.
While it might sound simple, access to the source code is an absolute game changer as well as a defining factor in what makes an open source ERP so much more helpful in powering your business forward to grow and succeed in an ever-changing business and technology environment.
Access to innovation
As your business grows, it needs to be adaptable enough to respond to changes in the market, talent shortages, supply chain interruptions, and internal issues related to communications, operations and company culture. Part of that adaptability will come from leadership, and another part will come from the tools (like an ERP) your business uses. If you employ a tool that has inherent limitations, like those that come from closed source software, those limitations will inevitably affect your business.
With open source software, you can change, modify, and innovate your ERP with ease. Instead of being limited by the code, you’re set free because of it. To be a contender for your business, every system within your ERP has got to be tailor-fitted to your specifications. It has to function for your unique business and fit your specific needs. This only happens with open source technology. As your business grows and evolves, your ERP will keep up and evolve along with it. There’s no need for a new ERP system, new software, or more money; an open source ERP innovates with your needs.
One of the coolest things about open source software is that, unlike standard options that are only accessible through the mediation of a vendor, open source software is just that- more open. And because of that open-ness, there’s an entire community you have access to for real support and insight. With a standard ERP, you can spend hours, even days, trying to get tech support to help you, and even when they do, their knowledge is often general, almost theoretical.
With the open source community, you deal with developers who are using the ERP in the real world and have practical experience across a wide range of industries who can address an expansive list of questions and problems. The ERP community forums are a font of information and ideas. These forums provide discussions, feedback, industry news on ERP technologies, and much more. The support of the open source software community is priceless.
Ability to scale
This may seem repetitive, but it’s so important that it bears repeating. A true open source ERP will help your company grow, and it will grow with you. As your company’s requirements grow and evolve, using open source ERP software can increase capacity in all areas of your business.
This allows you to start integrating it with other platforms, include more complex features, run advanced reports, and so much more. This type of growth potential, flexibility, and scalability is vital to any business looking to stay on top of its game now and into the future.
That’s five, just enough to whet your appetite and get you seriously thinking about adopting an open source ERP for your company. But there are also more reasons, such as the cost, which is much lower than adopting a standard ERP system because you don’t have to pay recurring license fees.
Another benefit of the open source ERP is you don’t have to deal with vendor lock-in. With a standard, commercial ERP, if you decide you need to switch vendors, you can’t do that on your own; the vendor must be involved every step of the way. With open source ERP software, you can move your data when you want and how you want. The freedom of that is worth the price of admission.
Currently, tech analysts are singing the praises of open source software and saying you might want to think about it for your company, see if it could work, might fit, and so on. That kind of tentative language belies the strength and opportunities that come with an open source ERP. There is no ‘might’ or ‘maybe’ involved; open source software and its adjoining communities will be the standard, and getting on board now is the best choice you can make for your company now, and for years to come.