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Open Source ERP Software Solutions FAQ

Compiere is changing the economics of enterprise applications by making Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) easier. Easier to acquire. Easier to implement. Easier to extend. Easier to change.

Our innovative Model Driven Architecture gives you unprecedented adaptability, speed of deployment and low cost of ownership. The web user interface on Compiere ERP and CRM solution improves productivity, accelerates user adoption and expands accessibility.

Find out more about Compiere ERP

Compiere ERP Software FAQ

What is ERP software?

ERP stands for "Enterprise Resource Planning". ERP software integrates all of your major business processes, which helps ensure consistent data across all your functional departments. ERP applications typically consist of modules such as Marketing and Sales, Field Service, Production, Inventory Control, Procurement, Distribution, Human Resources, Finance, and Accounting.

Our Compiere ERP business solution fully integrates ERP and CRM (customer relationship management) capabilities to help you effectively manage a wide range of functions across your enterprise. Use Compiere business solutions software to automate all of your financial, distribution, sales and service processes... quickly, affordably and easily.

Learn more about using Compiere ERP business solutions software for:

  • Performance Management & Reporting — Report and manage the performance of your enterprise business solutions.
  • Purchasing — Automate the steps from procurement to payment.
  • Materials Management — Manage inventory receipts, shipments, moves and counts across your warehouses, suppliers and customers.
  • Manufacturing — Control Manufacturing operations with material planning, production scheduling and shop floor execution capabilities.
  • Order Management — Create quotes, book orders, manage materials, generate invoices and collect cash.
  • Sales — Control your valuable customer relationship management solutions.
  • Service — Manage the entire Service delivery lifecycle.
  • E-Commerce — Create and run a secure web store front.
  • Point of Sale — Automate cash sales and inventory management.
  • Financial Management — One system automates the processes of your business solution and manages your financial records.
  • Projects — Project management, planning and execution. Track costs associated with multi-phase projects across your business solution.

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What makes Compiere open source ERP software better?

Fast and Flexible ERP Implementation

Compiere employs a Model Driven Architecture (MDA) to enable broader application adaptability, faster deployments and lower cost of ownership than is possible with products utilizing earlier generation enterprise software architectures.

Without procedural coding or crafting of SQL commands Compiere's Model-driven Architecture enables rapid application customizations such as:

  • Add a new column to a table
  • Add optional validation rules (list of values, range, etc.)
  • Redesign an application window to display the new column
  • Enter data into the new column through the application window
  • Create a report which includes the new column or uses the new column as a query parameter

What's more, you can complete all of these changes on your production system without any downtime in as little as five minutes. Complex customizations are also possible with Compiere. For example, Compiere supports field-, column- or record-level security, workflow, and multi-step transactions, but it may take a bit longer to implement these capabilities. Contact Us or one of our many international Compiere Partners to discuss your customization needs.

Commercial Open Source ERP Software

Open Source solutions like Compiere offer numerous benefits over traditional ERP software, like low cost of ownership and unparalleled product control. Compiere is true open source. This means that Compiere ERP software is available free for everyone to download, and it cannot be bought or merged out of existence - ever. This gives freedom from vendor lock-in, and the security of knowing your investment in Compiere will last as long as you want it to.

Compiere pairs those open source benefits with professional training and services. Our rapidly growing, worldwide network of Compiere Certified Partners provide a wide variety of enterprise resource planning services, including: turnkey solutions, ERP implementation, customizations and extensions, maintenance, upgrades and version migration.

Model-driven Architecture Puts You in Control

Compiere's Model Driven Architecture equips your organization to adapt your Compiere solution quickly and easily to the inevitable changes your business will face. Compiere provides:

  • Rapid customization of applications to specific business needs
  • Greater stability because windows and reports are generated from rules stored in an active Application Dictionary rather than programmed using 3GL code
  • Higher productivity for developers and users alike
  • Affordable customization of applications at any time without specialized programming staff
  • Preservation of customizations when upgrading

The Compiere platform embodies the promise of rapid application development and rapid customization. No big bang deliverables. No lengthy trial and error designs. No costly interruptions to your business. Change the system and immediately get confirmation from the user that you delivered what they want.

ERP Applications Designed for the Global Economy

Traditional ERP applications weren't developed for the complexities of the global market. Gaps in functionality arise when these features are simply layered on top of existing code. Compiere was designed with global markets in mind, featuring multi-currency, multi-tax, multi-costing, multi-accounting and multi-organizational functionalities. Our accounting solutions cater to the needs of your enterprise, no matter what currency or accounting schema you use. Compiere business solutions even provide the flexibility to account in one or more accounting schema in parallel. Compiere also features language packs and the ability to customize both the Web Store and the application itself to suit your language requirements.

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Does my enterprise need an ERP software solution?

For years only very large corporations have been able to enjoy the benefits of enterprise resource planning applications. Now, Compiere ERP and CRM puts the power of timely and consistent communications within reach of all businesses by offering a superior ERP solution that is affordable, adaptable, and scalable.

Is your company burdened by multiple data sources that you can't integrate? Are you losing time and money by duplicating order entries and business processes throughout your enterprise? Are timely customer delivery and inventory stocking procedures getting to be more than your current ERP system can handle? Do you have multiple warehouses that share resources or do you frequently do business in a multi-currency, multi-tax environment? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, then your enterprise may want to consider investing in Compiere ERP.

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Can ERP software improve business performance?

ERP solutions give you the ability to save time and money across your entire enterprise. With ERP software you need only input customer, vendor, and order data once and then share it across your functional departments. You can automate inventory and warehouse procedures as well as billing and accounting procedures. You can use ERP applications to create reports and analyze enterprise trends quickly and easily, allowing you to respond quickly to shifts in the market. Compiere also helps make e-commerce easy. The information in our Web Store is shared with the standard application, so no synchronization or extra integration work is required.

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Will an ERP application fit the way I do business?

With traditional ERP solutions, this question was vital. ERP applications normally come with a built-in system of "Best Practices" whose restrictive rules limit your business processes. That is not the case with Compiere. Our open source ERP system was built to adapt to your business structure because we know that every company has unique needs. Compiere is not only easy to customize, we also make it easy to change your ERP implementation decisions at a later time. We know that every company grows and changes and we created ERP software that can adapt with you.

Compiere employs a Model Driven Architecture (MDA) to enable broader application adaptability, faster deployments and lower cost of ownership than is possible with products utilizing earlier generation enterprise software architectures.

Without procedural coding or crafting of SQL commands Compiere's Model-driven Architecture enables rapid application customizations such as:

  • Add a new column to a table
  • Add optional validation rules (list of values, range, etc.)
  • Redesign an application window to display the new column
  • Enter data into the new column through the application window
  • Create a report which includes the new column or uses the new column as a query parameter

What's more, you can complete all of these changes on your production system without any downtime in as little as five minutes. Complex customizations are also possible with Compiere. For example, Compiere supports field-, column- or record-level security, workflow, and multi-step transactions, but it may take a bit longer to implement these capabilities. Contact Us or one of our many international Compiere Partners to discuss your customization needs.

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Can ERP applications help with my integration problems?

One of the reasons businesses look into ERP applications is that their enterprise is experiencing difficulty in integrating the information they have stored in widely diverse applications that can't "talk" to one another. Organizations within a company may even use different programs to perform the same functions. When you install an ERP application you solve many of your information integration problems. Compiere ERP is an integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relations Management (CRM) software solution that combines the power of point of sales (POS), distribution and inventory, e-commerce, accounting, and workflow systems within one robust application. With an ERP system you have better data quality, since information need only be entered once to be available to the entire company. You are also able to easily run reports using enterprise-wide data, allowing you to quickly see trends developing within specific organizations or across your entire company. If you require industry specific software that requires integration with your ERP system you may wish to speak with one of our Compiere Partners worldwide for assistance.

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What are the costs associated with ERP implementation?

Compiere's commercial open source ERP software frees you from the burden of the initial product licensing fees that accompany all traditional ERP applications. You can feel confident that Compiere provides you the best enterprise resource planning business solution at the lowest total cost of ownership. Our business solution is easy to install and the Model Based Architecture provides rapid application development and rapid customization - which means no big bang deliverables, no lengthy trial and error designs, and no costly interruptions to your business.

Unlike many open source software products Compiere ERP offers support service for your business. The right support edition for your business depends on a number of factors such as the size of your organization and the support services your business requires. Four Compiere editions deliver exceptional business value and meet a broad variety of ERP functionality and support needs.

Compiere Enterprise Edition is for companies that need the most sophisticated enterprise-class functionality, usability and support from their Compiere ERP solution. Enterprise Edition includes complete Community Edition functionality plus Multi-server support, Management Dashboards, Visual Dictionary Editor, and Dynamic Web Services support.

Compiere Community Edition is for ERP and Java developers who want to take advantage of Compiere's adaptable open source ERP software. Compiere Community Edition binary and source code are freely distributed. The Community Edition does not include migration tools or support from Compiere, Inc. or Compiere Authorized Partners. Compiere Community Edition is distributed under a GPL open source license.

Find out more details and a view a comparison chart of our Compiere Editions.

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How long do ERP implementations take?

The actual installation of Compiere ERP software can be done in a day or two by experienced IT staff. However, keep in mind that implementation of any ERP solution also includes importing old data from various sources into the new system, the integration and testing of the ERP system with existing corporate software, the training of employees on the use of the new system, and the completion of any enterprise-specific customizations. Enterprises also usually find it worthwhile to take time at the beginning of the ERP implementation process to review their current business practices, seeing where they can be streamlined now that they are no longer be 'locked into' a specific business flow with a restrictive software package. The whole process traditionally takes several months to a year depending on the size and complexity of your business.

Compiere's flexibility makes the ERP installation process much easier than a similar installation with traditional ERP applications because, unlike other enterprise applications, with Compiere the decisions you make today can be changed tomorrow. All of the information provided during implementation can be adapted or modified at any time to meet the changing needs and demands of your company. Other ERP systems don't allow these on-the-fly changes. The result is that with these traditional ERP applications, changing anything - whether something complex, like your chart of accounts or even something as simple as a product search key - can require expensive and time consuming modifications or even complete product reinstallations.

The Compiere ERP platform embodies the promise of rapid application development and rapid customization. No big bang deliverables. No lengthy trial and error designs. No costly interruptions to your business. Change the system and immediately get confirmation from the user that you delivered what they want.

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How do companies organize their ERP projects?

There are three common approaches to installing a new ERP system in an enterprise:

  1. Enterprise-wide full installation - This approach was very common in the early days of enterprise resource planning software installations as, at the time, many large corporations were trying to quickly become Y2K compliant. The biggest challenge usually encountered was getting employees to cooperate and accept a new software system. If you are leaning towards this method of installation, make the transition easier by clearly outlining the ways that the new ERP software will be an improvement over existing software. Provide training for your employees to increase their comfort level with the new system. If your top level staff members are solidly behind the new ERP system and you take the time to help transition your staff to the change, you will go a long way towards helping your company achieve a successful ERP installation.
  2. Unit by Unit - This is common approach among large or diverse companies where there are not many common processes across business units. Management will locate a particularly open-minded and flexible team and install a pilot ERP system in that department. Some process that don't vary much across the company, such as financials, bookkeeping, and HR may be installed across the entire enterprise, but the pilot department has it's own separate ERP system and database, or "instance". Once the company feels comfortable with the success of the installation, the pilot team is used as an in-house customer reference to sell other units on the ERP business solution. This process can be somewhat time consuming, but does often lead to increased employee acceptance of the new ERP application as they hear testimonials from peers on the benefits of the new system. More departments may be added over time with their own discreet instances of the ERP application, or the company may try to consolidate them into a handful of different instances or perhaps even into a single ERP instance for the entire enterprise.
  3. Key-Process Installation - Smaller companies often opt to focus on a few key processes for their initial ERP installation. For instance, they may decide to start out using the ERP application's financial module and add other features as the company grows. Since Compiere provides companies a fully integrated ERP system rather than requiring a company to purchase separate modules, it's easy for a company to add additional processes as the company desires new functionality. Traditional ERP software often caused problems down the road for this type of installation since they required choices to be made at the time of the initial installation that could not easily be changed at a later date. You won't face that problem with Compiere ERP software. Compiere is designed to change with your company now and in the future. Be aware, though, that an ERP implementation isn't really successful until it is in use by employees. You must still expect to devote some time and energy to training employees on new features as they are implemented.

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Is a "single instance" of ERP software better?

Although every business is unique, running only one instance of an ERP application provides several advantages. When running a single instance of ERP software, you save time and have better quality information across the company because you need only input that information once rather then multiple times. Running a single ERP instance also means all your financial data resides in one place which creates a simpler audit trail, eliminates consolidation errors, and saves time and money when closing your books. A single ERP instance also allows you to run comprehensive company-wide reports that allow executives to share resources more easily across the company and see where cross-promotional opportunities may be in order. Single ERP instances are generally less expensive to support, and migration to the newest Compiere ERP software release is quicker and easier, allowing you to take advantage of the latest features we have to offer in a timely manner.

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How difficult is it to upgrade ERP software?

Compiere presents another break-through in ERP software - an easily upgradeable application! While many traditional ERP vendors sold the promise of free upgrades, in reality hardly any businesses were able to take advantage of them because they had spent large sums of money customizing the software for their industry and thus had voided their support contract. But easy upgrades aren't just a sales pitch with Compiere ERP. Compiere was built to make customizations and extensions simple without impacting the migration process. Now you can keep up with all the latest product features without sacrificing your custom extensions. Upgrading to a newer version of the Compiere platform will not overwrite or undo previous customizations.

If you are using an older generation ERP system, any of the customizations described above will be significantly more difficult to complete. Changes will often require specialized personnel who have a deep understanding of previous customizations made to your system and who have expertise with a proprietary scripting language. Even then, applying the changes can take days and require downtime on your production system.

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How do ERP solutions work with e-commerce?

Compiere ERP systems can help your e-commerce business thrive. With the Compiere Web Store you can easily offer both physical and digital merchandise in a secure, customizable environment. The Web store components utilize cascading style sheets to ensure a consistent look-and-feel within the store and your external web site. Our Web store is fully integrated with our ERP solution so that it is always up to date with the latest products and inventory information. No synchronization or extra integration work is required. We also provide the ability to run sales, promotions, and discounts on either a global or per customer basis. With a Web store that's fully integrated into your ERP system, you'll feel comfortable knowing that your inventory, customer contact information and financial transaction information is always current and easily accessible across your entire enterprise.

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Can I use an ERP system to manage a global enterprise?

Compiere's enterprise resource planning software is an excellent solution for managing a global enterprise. Traditional ERP applications weren't developed for the complexities of the global market. Gaps in functionality arise when these features are simply layered on top of existing code. Compiere is ready for the global economy. A key part of Compiere's Model Driven Application Platform is the ability to customize your ERP system and accounting features to the realities of your global business, including support for one or many of:

Because of this global-ready design, your customized Compiere business solution is easier to maintain and to extend. Equally important, implementing global features at the platform level rather than at the application level results in greater stability and reliability for your application.

You'll experience the benefits of global-ready design immediately through lower implementation costs. Over time and as your business grows in many different directions, the global-ready capabilities enables significantly more functionality along with reduced maintenance costs.

Compiere allows users all over the world to connect with your ERP system, so geography is no barrier to your business. Plus Compiere ERP applications also feature language packs and the ability to customize both the Web Store and the application itself to suit your language requirements.

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