My ERP Love Affair – the next chapter

ERP Software SME Odoo Business Central Dynamics NAV stock system accounts

To someone like me that sees the world in systems, there’s only one thing better than a well-designed, automated system and that’s a well-designed, automated, integrated  system.  I love figuring out how to kill two birds with one stone and then finding a way to get software to do the heavy lifting.   After a 17-year love affair with Microsoft Business Central (it will always been Dynamics NAV, to me #sorrynotsorry) constantly finding ways to use it for best practice, it felt like two-timing when I started messing around with Odoo. 

For those reading this and wondering, these are both examples of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.  You might have heard of SAP, one of the big players in the market.  ERP systems integrate the accounts system with as many other aspects of your business that you choose.  It might mean any combination of modules such as manufacturing, inventory, HR, ecommerce, marketing, CRM, point-of-sale or project management or more.  What interests me especially is how these systems can be used in SMEs to help take some of the pain of ‘wearing all the hats’ from the staff.  A small business does not mean a business with less moving parts; it often really means a business with less people to move all the parts.

Over the last couple of years, visiting clients for lean and mentoring assignments, I came across Odoo frequently enough for it to catch my eye and want to look a bit closer.  At first, I thought it would be just a matter of reprogramming my NAV brain for Odoo but I realised pretty quickly that that was a bit of an underestimation.  I did enough tutorials that Odoo sent me a complimentary mug for my troubles and yesterday I sat their Certification exam and passed. Truth be told, when I signed up for it, I thought it would be a lot easier than it turned out to be but I survived.

While I was used to the customisability of Dynamics NAV (sorry, Business Central), Odoo is open-source, built on Python and brings it to another level.  I know these two systems are not in direct competition (the Odoo price point is far below Business Central, for a start) and there are plenty of features I was used to that Odoo could benefit from.  However, in my opinion, Odoo is a system you would be crazy NOT to consider if you are thinking of upgrading from a simple accounts-and-stock system or are having issues with a couple of systems ‘not talking to each other’.

Business Central will always be my first love but I’m really looking forward to getting even closer to Odoo. 

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