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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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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Head in the cloud …… feet very much on the ground!

fblauer:

Good reading

Originally posted on Business Accountant:

cloud-computing

I’m a director of a software development business which develops ‘cloud’ based applications. Of course, when we started in 2005, I was quite unaware of this, but then the marketing men seized on the ‘latest idea’, gave it a label so that they could sell it more easily, and hey-presto, ‘the cloud’ was born.

So if we set aside all the marketing hype, what exactly is ‘cloud computing’?

I’m not an ‘IT Professional’ so forgive me if I reduce this to more simplistic terms but actually it is quite straightforward, and in many ways something of a natural progression in a trend that has gained momentum over the last few decades.

If I can go back further for a moment, I can recall managing the new IT department of a large manufacturing operation in the early 1980′s (the directors didn’t really know where it should sit within the organisation so…

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2014 ERP key trends

From Bista Solutions blog: (reference below)

There has been a significant evolution in enterprise software over the past couple of years. The year 2013 marked a maximum number of ERP implementations. With the onset of 2014, it becomes customary to predict what might unfold in the years ahead.

Listed below are 6 key trends for 2014, which have been a hot topic of discussion lately amongst industry professionals:

  • Cloud ERP to gain higher market share: Cloud based ERP will continue to gain velocity in the coming year, in both private as well as public sectors. As per prediction by IT experts, the cloud will dominate IT spending by end of 2016.Lured by lower costs and better speed, the year 2013 saw an increasing number of users adopting cloud based-solutions.
  • Hype surrounding social media: With the ongoing hype around social media integration with ERP, modern day vendors have promptly capitalized on this initiative, by including social media integrations in their ERP systems. Thus, 2014 will witness the rise of social collaboration tools in ERP systems.
  • Competition: Top ERP software providers will face stiff competition from tier-2 vendors, in 2014.With tier-2 vendors having increased monetary assistance, regaining market share will be a cumbersome task for their tier-1 counterparts.
  • Growth of mobile BI: As witnessed in 2013, a number of businesses adopted business intelligence tools, in an attempt to increase their return on investment. There is an increasing likelihood of this trend continuing in 2014.
  • Mobile ERP: Off late, employees have replaced their computers with smart phones and tablets. Thus modern-day vendors have come up with feasible methods for employees to accomplish this, thus promoting increasing adoption of mobile solutions. Thus, forthcoming businesses will adopt mobile ERP, not just for viewing reports and dashboards, but also for conducting crucial business processes.
  • Educated buyers: Today users carry out adequate research on products  and services on the Internet before making a purchase decision. Thus, in the coming years, buyers will be more knowledgeable about solutions.

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4 reasons companies say yes to open source

Open source isn’t just about saving money — enterprises are adopting it to develop applications faster, with higher quality components.

By Howard Baldwin
January 6, 2014 06:30 AM ET
open source

Computerworld – When individual developers think of open source, they think “free.” And with good cause: Who in their right mind wouldn’t be interested in technology that they can get at no cost and use with few licensing restrictions?

When companies think of open source, these days they think “business agility,” a quality they increasingly value above all others in the fast-changing marketplace.

The ability to create new applications quickly, reliably and economically is drawing businesses big and small to open source and emboldening them to use it for ever-larger projects, IT practitioners say.

Which is likely why open source’s popularity is booming (with a few holdouts). According to the Forrester Research report “Development Landscape: 2013,” 76% of developers have used open-source technology “at some level,” says Jeffrey Hammond, a Forrester analyst specializing in application development and delivery.

Here are four key reasons why organizations of all sizes are taking open source seriously.

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xTuple Revolutionizes eCommerce with New Web Portal Offering and Expanded Team

Award-winning Web development firm joins ERP leader xTuple to deliver fully integrated customer-facing business solutions – for consumer and trade online sales.

xTupleCommerce - ERP-integrated websites - technology stack
Adding a beautiful and powerful eCommerce website which binds directly with a company’s ERP system in real-time is a rarity in the software industry and will be game-changer in xTuple customer’s future growth and success…

Norfolk, VA (PRWEB) December 03, 2013

xTuple, makers of the world’s #1 open source enterprise resource planning (ERP) software solutions, announces the availability of xTupleCommerce – version 2.0 of its eCommerce Web Portal – and the acquisition of a notable Web consultancy to support exploding customer demand for the online business solution.

Joining xTuple, effective today, are two principals of internationally renowned Web design and development company Artsmith Media. With special expertise in the Drupal content management system, Artsmith’s founding president Josh Fischer leads the new xTupleCommerce team tasked with delivering ERP-powered website solutions. Andrey Mikheychik, Artsmith’s lead developer, brings deep expertise in cutting-edge Web technologies to that team – which includes a global network of consultants and engineers available to support xTuple customers. Additionally, current Artsmith customers now have access to an expanded array of products and services from xTuple, including the new eCommerce Web Portal.

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What Is The Cloud? (And Why Small Businesses Need To Care)

By Christine Hall
Posted: 11/06/2013 9:21 am EST

Cloud computing has come a long way to become a mainstream technology tool for business.

Earlier this year, Parallels, a software company that enables companies like GoDaddy.com and Sprint to offer cloud services to small and medium businesses (SMB), reported that the cloud services industry grew to $45 billion worldwide last year. Helping to drive that were 6 million SMBs purchasing their first cloud service last year.

And, the report projects that the market is expected to grow annually at a rate of 28 percent through 2015 to be a $95 billion industry.

The cloud does for IT what companies like UPS and Federal Express did for the shipping industry, Stephen Braat, senior director and general manager of cloud and managed solutions for CDW, said.

“When it comes to getting product to customers, their technology enables them to do it on a larger scale at a lower cost,” he said. “The cloud is the great technology equalizer.”

Technology is a huge driver of competitive advantage, and historically, technology that larger companies used was not available to smaller companies, who typically have 50 employees or less.

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