The Path to Open Source ERP Adoption

At first blush, Scott Rosa’s experience parallels that of other successful open-source ERP adopters. But the path to success wasn’t straight. The CTO of Prevention Partners, which manufactures and distributes posters, buttons and other health-related signage, says his company outgrew its vertical-market, Windows-based ERP system. So Rosa hired a consultant to customize the Open For Business open-source ERP software for his firm’s distribution arm.

But the project management spun out of control, causing the effort to go over budget. First problem: The consultant had no experience with Open For Business, and its learning curve was steeper than expected. Second problem: Because Open For Business is very customizable, both Prevention Partners and its consultant “got caught up” in much customization, Rosa recalls. And Open For Business is based on Java, which Rosa’s developers aren’t experienced in, so they couldn’t take over.

But Rosa didn’t move back to a commercial product. Instead, he adopted the WebERP open-source software to develop a custom version for his company’s manufacturing arm, which needed a quick and easily deployed ERP solution.

WebERP uses the PHP language, which his developers know, and Rosa can manage directly.

He plans on completing the Open For Business–based ERP effort as well. “I’ve got the code. I just need to find someone to finish it for us. I would not buy a proprietary solution,” Rosa says.

Ultimately, Rosa plans to migrate one business to the other’s ERP, but he hasn’t decided which of the two open-source options will prevail.

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