Open Source Pushes Further into ERP

Michael Vizard

The trouble that many companies have with packaged ERP applications comes down to two issues: cost and complexity.

Openbravo wants to take on both of those issues with the release of version 3.0 of its namesake ERP software, an open source suite of applications that is based on a modular architecture that Openbravo CEO Paolo Juvara says makes the overall environment simpler to manage than traditional commercial ERP applications.

Based in Spain, Openbravo is opening its first U.S. office in San Francisco as part of an ongoing global expansion that has already seen 2,800 deployments of the company's software in the U.S. Juvara says that although there are companies everywhere that can benefit from ERP applications, many of them have resisted adopting ERP applications because of the complexity involved in managing them and a lack of control over the upgrade process.



To address these issues, Juvara says customers need an agile ERP environment based on a modular architecture that gives IT organizations more control over when to upgrade various components of the system.

As interest in all things open source continues to grow, the number of vendors targeting the application layer of IT with open source offerings has grown. In fact, Openbravo joins OpenERP in recently targeting U.S. customers after establishing a significant presence in Europe. In the case of Openbravo, the core software is free while the company focuses on commercial offerings targeted at specific vertical industries based on the code in the core Openbravo application.

How much pressure these companies will put on SAP, Oracle and others remains to be seen. But many U.S. companies are still smarting over ERP maintenance fees so the climate for open source ERP software may be fairly good.

The question is whether open source ERP applications will be limited to customers that previously never had an ERP application installed or whether companies with installed commercial ERP applications are looking to switch to a more flexible open source model that happens to also be less expensive.

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