Cheaper Solutions to ERP?

  • PDF

An ideal ERP system provides customized control and flexibility with an affordable price tag. Reality, however, shows that large ERP vendors carry high costs that many businesses can’t afford. Luckily, there is a cheaper solution to gaining the features of an ERP system—Open Source. And like all systems, it carries its own advantages and risks.

Open Source = Affordable Customization

No two businesses are alike. Small companies have the same need for customized applications as large enterprises. Open source ERP is an alternative solution to meeting a company’s specific needs within a much affordable price range. Here are some of its advantages—

Ideal for Small to Midsize Businesses: Like most software scenarios, small to midsize companies may be overwhelmed by the fees and rigidity of vendors that appear to cater more to large enterprise accounts. If you feel neglected by commercial software providers, open source may be your solution.
No License Fee: Open source allows you to save money on software licensing fees and to redirect your finance to customized functionalities.
Source Code Ownership: This allows a company to make any desired configurations, customization to the max. Aside from the control you get with customized applications, open source software has little to no copyright restrictions from the product manufacturer.
Flexibility: While many large ERP vendors require a lock-in contract that includes continued maintenance and upgrade fees, open source providers are less rigid. If you are unhappy with your service, you have greater flexibility in changing vendors.
Unlimited Customization: In terms of customization, there are no limitations with open source software. Mix, match, create, weave—ask and you may receive.

So What's The Catch?

By this point you’re probably saying, “Wait a minute. If open source is all that great, why isn’t everyone jumping on this wagon?” Well, open source has its risks and fallbacks. Let’s take a look at its cons—

Liability:Open source does not assume responsibility for legal and conformity issues. If you are unhappy with your service, your only option may be to move to another vendor.
Shaky Longevity: In comparison to large software vendors, open source has less stability and funds for longevity. This means that if you sign up with open source, you will not know whether they’ll be around in five years.
Maintenance: While you can customize as much as you want, you will in turn need a team to maintain and update all customized applications. If your open source provider evaporates in three years, however, you will have to start all over again with a new vendor.
Service Costs: Open source is cheaper for its lack of license fees, but because it doesn’t come as a packaged solution with typical commercial applications, you will have to pay extra for services. In the end, however, open source still costs less than high-end software companies.
Cries for Help may be Ignored: Open source vendors are not obligated to provide help 24/7. In addition, its software may not even include a manual that shows basic steps on implementation and use.

Is there an Alternative Solution to Commercial ERP Vendors and Open Source?

If you’re reluctant to invest in the risks associated with open source tools, you may find a vendor funded by large commercial software companies.

I read through all I have to know about ERP, but I still don’t know what to do. In fact, I’m too busy to research which vendor or ERP will work well for my company. Is there someone who can take care of my dirty-work?

A successful implementation of ERP depends on the competence of the development and consulting resources—but the entire process can be overwhelming. JNC Solutions offers professional services in determining the best fit of open source vendor and ERP system for your company. In addition, JNC undertakes all the responsibilities related to vendors, ERP implementation/maintenance, and open source issues. JNC provides solutions to help businesses achieve their goals.