A Survey of Free and Open Source Business Software

This blog is sponsored by Fred Blauer and Associates

Background

After implementing many mid level ERP software systems for businesses in different industries, I found myself working on Systems Audit and Sarbanes, Oxley compliance projects for a number of years. When I returned to this space, after my mandates were completed, I decided to investigate and see if the open source development model had infiltrated into the business application areas like accounting, ERP, vertical and horizontal markets, and other business areas like productivity etc. I found that Open Office was dominant in the productivity class, but most of the other areas were fragmented and had a lot of players. I started my research by looking for a short list or “best of breed” in each area that I could spend some time installing and evaluating. There were too many alternatives to look at everything. I created a data base, and classified systems into small, medium, and large, and then by industry or type of product. One of the most important criteria for selection was the strength of the community behind the product, support and commercial backing.
I found some very interesting programs in the accounting and ERP space, and also for various industry sectors like manufacturing, distribution and wholesale, Retail/POS, Non-profit, Services, Real Estate etc. There were also a lot of good ones in the domains of Business intelligence, Human resources, eCommerce, CRM, Workflow, budgeting, Integration tools etc.
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LIAM MULLANEY (FORMER CEO SAGE IRELAND) TO LEAD VERSACCOUNTS EXPANSION IN EUROPE

Portland OR USA and Dublin, Ireland. August 21st , 2014 VersAccounts* Ltd.

http://www.versaccounts.com today announced that former Sage UK/Ireland executive Liam Mullaney will lead the expansion of VersAccounts, a provider of small business mobile cloud ERP and accounting solutions, into Europe. Liam Mullaney, former CEO Sage Ireland, is accredited with growing Sage to be the dominant market leader for business management solutions in Ireland. A longtime supporter of cloud technologies, he also pioneered the development of Sage’s cloud payroll solution for the UK and Ireland using the Ruby on Rails platform.

“We are really thrilled to have an executive of Liam’s caliber and seniority join the VersAccounts team,” said Sunil Pande, CEO of VersAccounts Ltd. He has the deep experience that VersAccounts needs to grow its business globally. More important, though, is Liam’s creative and lateral thinking and his culture of always focusing on the customer. These qualities perfectly match the VersAccounts way of doing business.”

“I am really excited about helping VersAccounts meet the needs of the $2.5B small business ERP market that remains poorly served today,” said Liam Mullaney. “These are rapidly growing companies that have complex operations. They need a full function ERP but can’t afford it. So they make do with accounting software, spreadsheets and manual processes. VersAccounts’ mission is to change this by disrupting the traditional pricing of ERP systems and making them affordable to these small businesses through the use of cloud and mobile technologies.”

The pricing model is disruptive and so too is the route to market: VersAccounts will only operate through a partner channel and it’s 50/50 all the way. “It’s so refreshing to operate a simple pricing and partner model with no channel conflict and a customer first approach every time!” said Liam Mullaney.

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Can Xero Bring Clarity to the Chaos of Add-Ons?

News: Xero Expands Add-on Directory into Software Marketplace

Xero has 350 add-on programs with nine new ones added in the past three weeks. That is three new programs each week!

It is virtually impossible for accountants to keep on top of new add-ons and have time left to do their accounting too.

The updated marketplace and a better search option are a welcome addition, but will it make a substantial difference?

Yes – if you have the time, you can test features and functionality by getting a trial account. But you will find it quite hard to access critical factors.

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Why Enterprise Cloud is Just the Warm-Up

For years, headlines about cloud computing have focused on infrastructure for the enterprise. Stories typically focus on the vendors – Amazon Web Services, Azure, Google App Engine, OpenStack, etc. – or on the benefits such as scalability, reliability, cost efficiency and of course that enterprise buzzword, “agility”.

But there’s an equally large, if not larger revolution occurring in small business where the catalyst is cloud software more than infrastructure-as-a-service. The greatest improvement over desktop or server software is this – the cloud promises easy access to the latest business technology.

What does this mean? In practical terms, a business owner armed with just a credit card and an internet connection can use nearly any cloud program in the world. Often for free on a 30-day trial. The implication of this commonly accepted fact is so enormous that many fail to see the significance.

Think about the hurdles an SME faced in the past if it wanted to trial a customer database or inventory program. A test server had to be ordered and installed by a consultant paid on an hourly rate. The software itself needed to be requested separately and loaded onto the machine, with data exported from the existing application and imported into the new one.

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QuickBooks Bitcoin Payments

Intuit Is Now Testing Bitcoin

There are two major barriers that prevent typical small businesses from taking bitcoin payments:

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OpenERP Becomes Odoo and Closes $10 Million in Funding

SAN FRANCISCO, May 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –

OpenERP has raised $10 million dollars in funding to support its R&D efforts and commercial growth. As part of the growth strategy OpenERP is rebranding to Odoo, to better reflect its expanded areas of focus in CMS & Ecommerce and POS applications beyond the core ERP function. Odoo has improved its pricing and included a free version for up to two users for very small businesses to enjoy a completely integrated suite of business solutions.

After years of rapid growth OpenERP, the leading integrated open source business software, is happy to announce it has secured a new round of USD 10 Millions of financing, jointly provided by leading venture capital firms XAnge (France), SRIW (Belgium), Sofinnova Partners (France), and the management team. The new financing will support the acceleration of outstanding growth the company has seen, doubling its sales during the period 2011-13, and growing R&D staff to over 100 people.

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Innovation and Steady Growth in 2013 for Open Source ERP xTuple

Norfolk, VA, USA (PRWEB) February 19, 2014

xTuple, widely recognized as the world’s leading open source ERP software provider, posted another record year in 2013, with a double-digit increase in revenue from a very strong 2012, and major breakthroughs in next-generation product development.

“We are constantly amazed at the rapid pace of innovation that our embrace of open source affords us,” said CEO Ned Lilly. “But as we like to say, open source is not the ‘what’ – it’s the ‘how.’ How we are able to bring game-changing new products to market so quickly, and integrate seamlessly with other technologies, new and old. Moving into 2014, we are reaffirming our commitment to leverage this open source advantage to bring advanced ERP functionality to customers of all sizes – with a special focus on supply chain-focused businesses in manufacturing and distribution.”

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Linux should be a part of School Education

In most countries these days, kids start learning computers at a very early age in school and even in still developing countries, computer education is a top priority. Computers are as important part of our daily lives as food and clothes are. Computer Education is considered a very vital part of our kids education today but are we doing it right ?

The very first thing a kid learn after learning the word ‘Computers’ is, Windows. Schools teach Windows as it is a synonym to Computers. The very foundation of the computer education is owned by Microsoft and we need to do something.

Schools have to pay a large sum of money to use Windows in schools. Even after useless school discounts it still cost a fortune thus resulting in higher cost of education. On other hand Linux is free and wide adoption of Linux among schools will bring down the cost of education drastically.

Especially in still developing countries where school education is still not at the same level as compared to western countries, by using Linux, literacy rate in such countries can be improved while decreasing the overall education cost further helping in development of the country overall.

Linux is used everywhere but in education systems, the exact opposite is true. Education system needs to be neutral, a computer OS has to be taught as a computer OS and nothing more than that. I understand that one OS has to be taken as a base and alternatives are still taught but why Windows has to be the one when it is owned by a private company, filling their bank accounts with cash and gives nothing back.

Education system is too vital to depend on a private company, imagine if Microsoft goes bankrupt and vanishes tomorrow,  the entire education system will be in jeopardy for what to teach.

Linux on other hand is Open and encourages sharing.  A class of 50 students can use Linux and share what they do whereas in case of Windows, each student has to spend a lot of money to buy Windows and not all of them can afford to. Those students are either left behind or they can always use pirated software. This way a student is forced to use pirated software even if he don’t want to, because he is forced to use Windows in his school.

Forcing students to use windows should be a legal offense as students either have to pay money for it and if they cannot they can just deal with it or use pirated software, it is a root cause among them to use pirated software. This kind of thing is being forced on students over the world and no one even care’s about it.  Linux should be the base of computer education in schools and there should be alternatives if students wants to learn other things.

One thing leads to another, if we start using Linux in our education system it can help in eradicating the Microsoft mess sooner. Linux in schools can increase the adoption rate in home users and from there Linux can start growing in the corporate world where we are already doing pretty fine.

Microsoft spend a lot of resources to maintain its global monopoly but the education system is fusing that monopoly and corruption in younger generation from the very beginning and they don’t have a slightest idea how much damage can it cause to the future world.

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Fred Blauer and Associates now accepting Bitcoin payments for services

Thanks to a workshop I took last week, at the Montreal Bitcoin Embassy, we are now accepting bitcoin payments for services. Our public key address is here:

https://sites.google.com/a/openacct.ca/fba/home/contact

Some good Bitcoin resources and references:

Montreal Gazette Article

Why Bitcoin matters (By Marc Andreeson – from the New York Times)

Pay your bills with Bitcoin (Montreal Company Bylls)

Bitcoin Embassy in Montreal

 

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UK government plans switch from Microsoft Office to open source

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude plans to standardise on open formats to cut costs on Office suite and break ‘oligopoly’ of IT suppliers

Microsoft Office costs the UK government significant amounts every year, says Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude. 

Ministers are looking at saving tens of millions of pounds a year by abandoning expensive software produced by firms such as Microsoft.

Some £200m has been spent by the public sector on the computer giant’s Office suite alone since 2010.

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Why Your Company May Dump QuickBooks This Year

Good article in Forbes – By Gene Marks – Jan 6, 2014

Believe it or not, your company is about to be part of an enormous wave of change in the next few years.

That’s because, if you’re like most small and medium sized businesses, you’re likely using an on-premise accounting application. And most likely that on-premise solution is QuickBooks.  QuickBooks is by far the most popular accounting application for SMBs and deservedly so – it’s full featured, easy to use and well supported by Intuit. My company is an Intuitpartner. We sell QuickBooks. But this year we’re going to look into selling other products as well. Why? Because as good as QuickBooks is, I believe that many of my clients are going to dump it starting this year and over the next few years. You too.

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