What is Odoo Open Source ERP?

Drew Robb

Updated · Sep 15, 2011

Belgium-based Odoo made a name for itself under its previous name of OpenERP, with an open source ERP application that gained traction, especially in Europe. Over the past few years, the company has expanded into more areas of the enterprise application landscape.

Fabian Pinckaers, the company's CEO, said Odoo is used by large companies, small businesses, associations and other types of organizations. OpenERP changed its name to Odoo as Pinckaers saw that it was moving into new territories, beyond ERP. With content management, e-commerce and business intelligence (BI) gaining prominence, the ERP moniker was no longer broad enough. 

“Integrating your sales floor with inventory, accounting and manufacturing is one thing, but we think modern companies deserve more than this,” said Pinckaers.

He boasts of the company's 3.000-plus apps and its out-of-the-box integration. For example, it integrates point-of-sale, e-commerce, sales, reporting, CRM, project management, timesheets, financial and accounting.

[Read about 10 open source ERP options, including Odoo: 10 Open Source ERP Options]

The Odoo name is based partly on whim and partly on an analysis of startups names; apparently, the more Os you have in your name, the more successful you tend to be. Think Microsoft, Google and Yahoo! to name a few.

What Is New in Odoo ERP?

Odoo is on version 9. Recently added features include a streamlined point-of-sale (POS). The previous version was a little complex when it came to setting up external hardware, and users had to buy expensive wireless scanners and printers. Odoo's new PosBox peripheral is about the size of a cellphone and easily connects to the network, simplifying setup. It works with any laptop, PC or tablet. Wireless support lets you move around freely while running the application.

Odoo 9's new features are split into four general categories:

  • Websites: Odoo revised the website builder to make it easier to design pages and to improve usability. In addition to websites, there are tools for forums, e-commerce, blogs, slides and an app that optimizes Google AdWords performance and is said to increase clicks and leads by over 40 percent.
  • Sales: This category encompasses sales, CRM, invoicing, POS, subscriptions and a tool to transmit, sign and approved documents online.
  • Operations: This is the heart of the old OpenERP suite, though it has been updated considerably. Modules include accounting, project management, human resources (HR), inventory, purchasing and manufacturing.
  • Productivity: These tools include communication, timesheet, email marketing, surveys and live chat.

Due to Odoo's open source model, it leverages thousands of developers to build over three hundred new apps per month in 23 languages. The company claims 2 million business users, with Toyota among them.

Odoo Versions: Free, Online or Enterprise

There are several versions of Odoo available.

  • Free: This is meant for those with less than 50 users and only covers one app. However, the single app can be used for unlimited users. As it is self-service, it may not be practical to attempt to use it with too many users. That said, all Odoo apps are now free on Odoo Online, as long as you use only one app. This includes unlimited users on the cloud.
  • Online: This costs $25 per user, per month. Again, this is meant for less than 50 users. In this case, it is serviced by Odoo using a pay-as-you-grow model.
  • Enterprise: This costs $25 per user, per month and is aimed at organizations with 500 or more users. Service is provided by an Odoo partner.

Compared to the other two versions, the free community version lacks version upgrades, big-fix guarantees, mobile functionality and various enterprise accounting features (dashboard, dynamic reports, bank interfaces, statement imports, check printing). In general, it offers “light” versions of many Odoo apps.

Odoo Community

Odoo is helped by the Odoo Community Association (OCA), a nonprofit with the purpose of promoting the widespread use of Odoo and supporting collaborative development of features. It also provides financial, organizational and legal support to the Odoo Open Source community.

This community offers online demos, downloads, a fast way to compare the various editions, a help desk, a forum, user guides and more for those who use the apps. There are also specific sections for developers and partners engaged with the company.

Odoo Expansion Plans

With the availability of hundreds of free Odoo apps in the cloud, the company intends to take on many of the big boys of the enterprise application landscape and move its user base from 2 million up to 10 million, according to its CEO.

 “Before Odoo, the only options to integrate all your applications were complex implementation projects through services such as SAP, Oracle or Microsoft Dynamics,” said Pinckaers. “Now you can integrate all your business apps. The quality of most Odoo applications outperforms the top players in each category.”

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  • Drew Robb
    Drew Robb

    Drew Robb is a writer who has been writing about IT, engineering, and other topics. Originating from Scotland, he currently resides in Florida. Highly skilled in rapid prototyping innovative and reliable systems. He has been an editor and professional writer full-time for more than 20 years. He works as a freelancer at Enterprise Apps Today, CIO Insight and other IT publications. He is also an editor-in chief of an international engineering journal. He enjoys solving data problems and learning abstractions that will allow for better infrastructure.

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