Expanding the ERP Universe via Open Source

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When it comes to ERP applications, the conventional wisdom is that this class of software was traditionally the province of mid-to-large-scale enterprises.

But the folks at OpenERP are reporting that ever since they made available an open source version of ERP software, interest from across the corporate landscape has been high. According to OpenERP COO Marc Laporte, more companies than most people think see value in ERP software, but the industry never came up with an offering that made this class of software truly accessible to them.

Laporte says OpenERP, which just opened an office in the U.S., is seeing about 1,000 downloads a day of its software, which Laporte attributes to the fact that, for many companies, OpenERP is easy to acquire when compared to the process of dealing with Microsoft, SAP, Oracle or any other provider of commercial ERP software.

We've already seen a fair amount of adoption of open source software in the business intelligence space, so it may only follow that ERP will be the next big category to witness a wave of open source adoption. In fact, a recent survey from Accenture found that large companies are fairly committed to open source for mission-critical software. Laporte contends that there is no reason smaller companies, many of which never bought ERP software in the first place, should be any different.



Of course, open source downloads don't always translate into actual adoption. But given the state of the economy and the fact that many customers don't want to go through a protracted sales process, growing interest in open source ERP software might not be that surprising after all.