Enterprise E-Commerce and ERP: Common Questions Series Part 2

Mike BatesPublished: Updated:

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For HotWax Media an Apache OFBiz development firm, 2010 is delivering a great batch of new open source e-commerce and ERP projects. Whether from existing clients looking to invest in system enhancements or new clients ready to invest after a cautious 2009, HotWax Media is seeing a good deal of activity in the form of active projects and a healthy sales pipeline.

Along with a boost in free cash flow, this activity continues to generate great input from clients, which fits in nicely with my ongoing series discussing common questions related to open source e-commerce and ERP projects.

Enterprise eCommerce and ERP projects can have a lot of moving pieces. As businesses grow, old systems can limit potential. It can be painful for businesses to identify these limitations and understand the impact they are having on current profitability and future growth. At HotWax Media, it is our mission help our clients understand these problems, and then to make the problems go away.

Let’s dive into the next round of common questions and talk about answers. The answers here are meant to be relatively short and sweet. If you are looking for additional detail or are more interested in learning how HotWax Media can help you optimize your e-commerce and ERP for your business, contact us without delay!

The first questions pertains to both existing and new businesses who want to take a measured approach:

1. Can we do this in phases?

Yes. HotWax Media implements e-commerce and ERP systems using Apache OFBiz. OFBiz consists of a complete set of individual ERP applications, including a robust e-commerce system. The data model in OFBiz, furthermore, allows HotWax Media to account for just about anything that is going on in a given legacy system, and integrate where needed in order to facilitate a phased approach.

For example, if your business is running on NetSuite, but you want a better e-commerce solution, phase 1 of your project can consist of an affordable, powerful B2C e-commerce site upgrade that is completely integrated with your NetSuite back end. In subsequent phases, you can replace NetSuite completely — at your own pace, in discrete, manageable steps.

The second question usually comes from clients who have been burned in the past by irresponsible promises from proprietary software vendors:

2. Can we customize the system (without blowing our budget)?

Yes. As I mentioned above, HotWax Media implements ERP systems using Apache OFBiz. OFBiz is meant to be customized. As part of a standard OFBiz ERP implementation, HotWax Media works with clients to understand the nuances of their business requirements and workflows, and then implements a system that accommodates those specific needs.

It amazes me to hear from clients, as I have repeatedly, that they paid for an expensive proprietary ERP system only to learn later that it could not do what they needed it to do. And by the way, they do not own the system, and they are on the hook to pay recurring licensing fees in order to keep using it. Never mind the principle of it all — strategically, that sucks.

The nature of open source software in general, and of Apache OFBiz specifically, is to be transparent and customizable. My general statement to clients is, “If we can define a consistent set of requirements together, we can absolutely make OFBiz meet those requirements.”

The final question applies to everyone:

3. How many different companies will we need to work with in order to implement our system?

One. HotWax Media. We offer a complete set of e-commerce and ERP implementation services, ranging from business analysis through graphic design and UI to development and testing. We provide the project management and collaboration tools to accommodate all aspects of the project, and we will even handle hardware, infrastructure and hosting in partnership with our colleagues at Contegix.

Keeping your project under one roof improves quality and saves money. It’s that simple.

Feel free to let us know if you have other common questions you would like to see addressed in this series, or contact us today to learn more about how HotWax Media can help you build and grow your e-commerce business.

View my previous post where I covered other commonly asked questioned about Enterprise E-Commerce and ERP deployment or expansion.

– Mike

Mike Bates About Mike Bates
Mike Bates founded HotWax Systems in 1997 and is our chief executive. His career in web application sales, marketing, design and development spans two decades, and he is a long time open source software advocate. He has led high-profile web software projects for numerous national and global brands and has taught web development courses at the graduate level. Mike joins other HotWax employees and advisers in periodically posting thoughts here related to HotWax Commerce, OFBiz, digital commerce, and other topics.

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