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A REVIEW : Top Open Source ERP Systems

The big guns in that space are Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft Dynamics. Their offerings are comprehensive, but also expensive. What happens if your business can’t afford one of those big implementations or if your needs are simple? You turn to the open source alternatives.

There are a number of flexible, feature-rich, and cost effective open source ERP systems out there. Here is a look at four of them. 

What to look for in an ERP system

Obviously, you will want a system that suits your needs. Depending on those needs,more features doesn’t always mean betterHowever, you needs might change as your business grows so you’ll want to find an ERP system that can expand to meet your new needs. That could mean the system has additional modules, or just supports plugins and add-ons.

Most open source ERP systems are web applications. You can dowload and install them on your server. But if you don’t want to, or don’t have the skills or staff to, maintain a system yourself then make sure there’s a hosted version of the application available.

Finally, you’ll want to make sure that the application has good documentation and good support—either in the form of paid support or an active user community.

1. Odoo

Odoo is an integrated suite of applications that includes modules for project management, billing, accounting, inventory management, manufacturing, and purchasing. Those modules can communicate with each other to
efficiently and seamlessly exchange information.

While ERP can be complex, Odoo makes it friendlier with a simple, almost spartan interface. The interface is reminiscent of Google Drive, with just the functions you need visible.

Odoo is a web-based tool. Subscriptions to individual modules will set you back $20 (USD) a month for each one. You can also download it or grab the source code from GitHub.

2. iDempiere

iDempiere is a full-fledged ERP, with everything from invoicing to POS integration to warehouse management to forecasting. While iDempiere is open source, installing an ERP is never truly free. Chuck Boecking, an ERP specialist, suggestsbudgeting between $20 thousand and $100 thousand for businesses earning $10 million to $100 million.

iDempiere, like most open source programs, relies on community support for troubleshooting. Businesses may also call in specialists with experience in iDempiere.

The software provides just about everything an ERP could, including product planning, warehouse management, and payroll, among many others. While it requires more setup than some of the other options on this list, iDempiere is one of the most robust open source options available.

3. ERPNext

ERPNext was featured on last November, and it’s one of those classic open source projects. It was
designed to scratch a particular itch, in this case replacing a creaky and expensive proprietary ERP implementation.

ERPNext was built for small and medium-sized businesses. It includes modules for accounting, managing inventory, sales, purchase, and project management. The applications that make up ERPNext are form-driven—you fill information in a set of fields and let the application do the rest. The whole suite is easy to use.

If you’re interested, you can test drive ERPNext before taking the plunge and downloading it or buying a subscription to the hosted service.

4. webERP

webERP is hosted completely online. It can be accessed from any device that has a browser and a PDF reader. The software is installed on a web server, which can either be owned and managed by the company or provided by a third party.

Some reviewers have mentioned that the simple nature of webERP leads to some drawbacks in functionality. webERP is specifically designed to be used and expanded by less technical businesses, with code that’s supposed to be readable and editable more easily.

All of that adds up to a system that can be put in place quickly and cheaply, but which may end up needing expansion later on.

5. Dolibarr

Like ERPNext, Dolibarr is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. It offers end-to-end management of your business from keeping track of invoices, contracts, inventory, orders, and payments to managing documents and supporting electronic point-of-sale system. It’s all wrapped in fairly clean interface.

If you’re wondering what Dolibarr can’t do, here’s some documentation about that

In addition to an online demo, Dolibarr also has an add-ons store from which you can buy software that extends Dolibarr’s features.

6. Openbravo

Openbravo is a web-based ERP based on a modular system. The software comes in three “flavors” depending on the needs of your organization. Openbravo Community edition is the free release, offering a stripped down version of the paid Enterprise and Professional editions. These editions include some premium, commercial modules — like financial management and inventory management — that many businesses find necessary.

Moving up to the Professional edition will cost you $4,500 per year while the Enterprise edition runs $22,000 per year.

Like Odoo, Openbravo’s open source meets commercialized product approach gives users a place to go for support besides just community forums. Of course, support comes at a cost, which can put a damper on the lower cost option that open source often offers.

7. Opentaps

Unlike the other ERP systems that this article discusses, Opentaps is designed for larger businesses. To that end, it packs a lot of power and flexibility.

You get the expected set of modules that help you manage inventory, manufacturing, financials, and purchasing. You also get an analytics feature that helps you analyze all aspects of your business. You can use that information to better plan into the future. Opentaps also packs a powerful reporting function.

On top of that, you can buy add-ons and additional modules to enhance Opentaps’ capabilities. There are only a handful available right now, but they include integration with Amazon Marketplace Services and FedEx.

8. VIENNA Advantage Community Edition

VIENNA Advantage is an open source ERP out of Germany. The core product includes an ERP and CRM that the rest of the solutions revolve around. The platform is web-based, so you can access it across devices and without having to worry about some of the nitpicky compatibility issues that plague small businesses.

The Community Edition is a free option for “developers, technical companies and micro enterprises looking to deploy a basic set of features.” There is no built-in support for this edition and you’ll have to have someone with strong technical skills on-hand to get things running smoothly.

That said, once installed, you’ll have access to a ton of free modules. These include document management, accounting, and reporting tools.

If you end up loving the product and want to move management over to someone else, Vienna offers two a cloud-based, hosted solutions. One for small-medium businesses and one for enterprise clients.


The range of open source ERP options should offer a solution for almost any business. While implementations can go awry, making clear plans and having an understanding of the problems that you’re trying to solve with an ERP can take a lot of the sting out of putting one into place.

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