Open Source ERP Systems for SMEs


Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems allow for a more streamlined process of managing finances, inventory, and human resources of companies. By choosing an open-source system, a company may adopt it to its own needs. Small and medium-sized businesses may especially benefit from utilizing such systems because they are often cost-efficient (Olson et al. 30). This paper will provide an overview of multiple open source ERP systems for SMEs through a literature review of relevant articles.


The first article describes the capabilities of ERPNext. It is one of the more recently released enterprise resource planning systems that is designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses. It consists of a multitude of modules. They include an inventory manager, accounting module, sales manager, project manager, and purchase management module. All the modules in the system are controlled by forms that the user is expected to fill out. The program is designed to be mostly automatic outside of data input. Accessibility is also high (Aversano et al. 924). The pricing is relatively high however with the cheapest option allowing for only 5 users, 5000 Emails, and 5 GB of space for a $300 yearly subscription. A free trial is available to allow the potential buyers to test the system before subscribing to it (Open Source Cloud ERP).


The second paper examines a system called Odoo. It is a similarly accessibility-focused ERP system but allows for a more powerful suite of applications. One of the more unique features of this system is the ability to subscribe to only the applications that the buyer requires. The Odoo company provides almost 30 applications from timesheet managers to invoicing modules and quality control programs, but the user may only need a limited set of features (Jewel and Evermann 187). To save money, the user may subscribe only to CRM, accounting, and sales modules, instead of paying for them in bulk. In addition, the ERP system allows integration into various delivery services such as UPS, DHL, FedEx, and others. The price varies depending on the purchased modules, but it is also high. However, hosting is free, and there are no limits on Emails (Odoo).


The third article examines a variety of ERP systems including Dolibarr. It is also an ERP system designed to be used by small and medium-sized businesses. It is a slightly less powerful system because it does not provide a payroll module, and does not allow for webmail services (Roumani et al. 256). However, unlike other systems, Dolibarr is designed to be a one-time purchase with additional add-ons that the user may buy to increase its functionality (DoliStore). The prices are also much lower than those of its competitors. The interface and the available modules (with the exception of payroll) are comparable to the previously discussed ERP systems. The majority of the process is also automated (Dolibarr).


The last examined paper presents the benefits of using Plex. It is a more specialized ERP system with a focus on manufacturing. It is designed around cloud storage and may be utilized by small, medium, and large-sized organizations. While the main focus of the system is in the manufacturing process, it provides several general-purpose business management applications such as accounting, human capital, sales, and other managers (Rodrigues et al. 1). One of the unique features of this system is the ability to synchronize production control in real-time with integral quality and inventory (Plex Systems). However, the paper points out that the simplicity of access in ERP systems comes with a serious downside. By relying on automated systems, the user allows bugs and malfunctions to affect all of the management paperwork. A small glitch may lead to serious consequences, which makes ERP systems, not a perfect solution.


ERP systems are powerful management tools that may assist the majority of organizations of various sizes. The majority are designed to be accessible and feature at least one unique aspect that makes them stand out from the competition. Judging by the modules that these systems provide, a company can streamline a lot of its operation if its management uses these tools correctly.

Works Cited

Aversano, Lerina, et al. “Understanding Enterprise Open Source Software Evolution.” Procedia Computer Science, vol. 64, 2015, pp. 924–31.

Dolibarr. Dolibarr, 2018. Web.

DoliStore. DoliStore, 2018. Web.

Jewer, Jennifer, and Joerg Evermann. “Enhancing Learning Outcomes through Experiential Learning: Using Open-Source Systems to Teach Enterprise Systems and Business Process Management.” Journal of Information Systems Education, vol. 26, no. 3, 2015, pp. 187–201.

Odoo. Odoo S.A., 2018. Web.

Olson, David L., et al. “Open Source ERP Business Model Framework.” Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, vol. 50, 2018, pp. 30–36.

Open Source Cloud ERP. ERPNext, 2018. Web.

Plex Systems. Plex Systems, 2018. Web.

Rodrigues, Jorge, et al. “Factors for Adopting ERP as SaaS amongst SMEs: The Customers vs. Vendor Point of View.” Information Resources Management Journal, vol. 29, no. 4, 2016, pp. 1–16.

Roumani, Yaman, et al. “Adopters’ Trust in Enterprise Open Source Vendors: An Empirical Examination.” Journal of Systems and Software, vol. 125, 2017, pp. 256–70.

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