Top 5 Open Source Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software for Small to Medium-sized Businesses (SMB)

By Partho, Gaea News Network
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The current decade has witnessed a decline in IT spending levels, and revenue contraction, largely affecting the future of ERP software industry. There are also a number of things to be optimistic about . The cost of implementing ERP software is beyond the budget of small and medium enterprises. To escape the situation, those with low-budget can resort to the open source ERP software. The open source ERP software suffice the platform software components (operating systems, tools, databases). Unlike the other organizations, which purchase commercial application software or build custom solutions themselves, Open source ERP systems offer several third party alternatives. After an extensive research, we have assembled a list of top 5 open source ERP software for SMBs.

1. Openbravo

This open source ERp software has been designed to meet the needs, and improve the performance of SMEs. Openbravo ERP has several features that make it perfect business software. It  includes the entire information of the company that includes inventory, customer information, order tracking and workflow information. The functional areas of ERP software encompasses all the features of integrated management system. In addition, it seamlessly integrates with other areas such as helping clients with their CRM and BI (business intelligence).

Openbravo accompanies wide ranging features that makes it easier to handle for the end users. It’s key feature includes dimensional reporting, alerts, email, keyboard navigation. It is easily configurable and can be configured for the existing functionality and business rules, and add new functionality without any programming.

Openbravo ERP software comes with better compatibility and sharing. It allows export of single file or a collection of files to Excel, CSV or PDF directly from the application. With this software users can easily create third-party modules and plugins. They can even browse the directory and choose a shared functionality developed by other users to install. It allows high scalability enabling deployment in single server or on a cluster of them and serve thousand of users. The ERP solution can be deployed in a single server or on a cluster of them.

Some of its key features, Alerts, Linked items, Dimensional reporting, Compatibility and Sharing , Email, Keyboard Navigation, Modular, Easily configurable, Roles, and Scalability


Lacks out-of-the-box functionality such as web store.


2. Apache OFBiz

Open For Business (OFBiz) is a secure and scalable enterprise solution. Apache OFBiz can be used either out-of-the-box or customized to meet the needs of business. OFBiz can be started right away and doesn’t involve huge deployment and maintenance costs of traditional enterprise automation systems.

The open source ERP software runs under the Apache 2.0 license and is driven by the community Apache OFBiz. It offers both flexibility by design and by access to code and a solution that allows an integrated working environment.

Key features

  • advanced e-commerce
  • catalog management
  • promotion & pricing management
  • order management (sales & purchase)
  • customer management (part of general party management)
  • warehouse management
  • fulfillment (auto stock moves, batched pick, pack & ship)
  • accounting (invoice, payment & billing accounts, fixed assets)
  • manufacturing management
  • general work effort management (events, tasks, projects, requests, etc)
  • content management (for product content, web sites, general content, blogging, forums, etc)


  • OFBiz involves many complexities. This is due to the fact that OFBiz attempts to offer a generic solution to complex businesses processes.
  • OFBiz is poorly documented that hinders the insight at technical level.


3. xTuple

xTuple PostBooks is a fully featured, integrated ERP, CRM and accounting system enclosing the xTuple ERP Suite. The ERP system is built with open source PostSQL database and open source Qt framework for C++. The ERP solution covers a wide range of bases that are the focus of QuickBooks and other small and mid-market accounting systems. It also provides a well-documented and easy to use API for common functions like invoicing and getting client information. This is a significant plus for ISP’s and other companies providing online services. It’s easy to plug in to the accounting application to create bills and related things.

  • Accounting: general ledger, accounts receivable and payable, bank reconciliation, financial reporting
  • Sales: quotes, order entry, sales reporting, shipping
  • Product Definition: items, infinite-level bills of material (BOM)
  • CRM: universal address book, incident management, opportunity management, to-do lists, project management
  • OpenRPT: open source report writer
  • Inventory: multiple locations, other advanced warehouse features
  • Light Manufacturing: work orders, strong support for make to order
  • Purchasing: purchase orders, receiving, vendor reporting

The price is a concern, especially with respect to the functionality.


4.  Compiere

Compiere is a fully integrated ERP software for Small Medium Enterprises involved in distribution, retail, service and manufacturing. Compiere continues expansion of ERP solution with more than 50 enhancements to offer scalability, usability and functionality.  This open source ERP software comes with an integrated CRM solution. It is a free Java based ERP/CRM system that offers ready made solution. It is a comprehensive solution that automates your financial, distribution and service functions. The Compiere ERP software include the following modules - Quote to Cash, Requisition-to-Pay, Partner Relations Management, Supply Chain Management, Performance Analysis, Warehouse, Double-entry Book-keeping, Work-flow-Management, Customer relationship management and Web Store.

Compiere is a Model Driven Architecture development, deployment and maintenance framework designed with the intention of following changes as business evolves. At any time customers can change the information structure, adjusting to new information needs. Compiere provides flexibility and integration of supplemental external information. Compiere has been developed in with Java EE.

Compiere offers Enterprise Edition, Professional Edition, Standard Edition and Community Edition based on specific needs of each class and size of enterprises.

  • The ERP software is free but the database management has a cost.
  • All the clients for Compiere are not listed, other than Compiere partners who are loyal to the Compiere ERP/CRM product.


5. OpenERP

It is one of the most complete and feature rich open source ERP software. OpenERP features separate client and server components. XML-RPC interfaces. The key features of OpenERP are management accounting, financial accounting, inventory management, sales and purchase management, tasks automation, Human Resource Management, marketing campaigns, help desk, and point of sale. Apart from Linux, Windows and Mac interfaces, users can also access a web interface, eTiny using the Turbogears web framework. There is also a KDE user interface. The latest version of Open ERP (5.0) provides dynamic Gantt charts, shared calendars, an integrated BPM view, a workflow editor as well as a screen designer.

OpenERP is based on a strong MVC architecture with a flexible workflow, distributed server, an object database, a dynamic GUI, an XML-RPC interface and customizable reporting system that comes with integrated

One of its major shortfall is the lack of an integrated development environment. The Python code has to be edited in an external editor.


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