erpNext: Why another open source, saas, based erp?

Why i am at erpnext and working on online saas-based open-source erp?

These are the 2 questions that have been occupying me over the last couple of months. I believe the answer to the first is clear (i love open-source, the idea of being able to open and poke around stuff i own/have is the most rewarding experience , i have ever had in my life.) At erpnext, i am able to do both that’s why.

So the next question stands as why online saas-based,open-source erp? Am gonna make an attempt.

And perhaps the reason for me to attempt at writing this post. Now i don’t really like to write, but do it mostly do so, only because my head does have limitations and i can’t keep all thoughts there without using circular logic and getting lost.

 

The short and quick answer is this:

The original goal of erp was to free the business from concerns over legal issues, auditing,accounting, tracking inventory,bookkeeping etc and focus on the core product/service.

I believe in current practice, erp has become entangled in a lot of IP, process innovations  and lost the focus on core product/service.

Anyway, here are my long answers:

a, As much as i have been wary of going into erp, i have already been curious about, and trying out open-source erps on and off over the last year.

b, I think ERP-customization(mostly an innovation in the business process to gain a minor edge over competition) is given an over-rated importance and that attention,time and energy if spent on product innovations, will result in a better world for all of us.

c, We are trying to do to erp what Linus torvalds did to OS.This is not to claim greatness, but an analogy to define what is our world view of current state of erp software and how we want it to be.

In other words, to free and standardize business processes from the clutches of closed,IP paranoid bunch.

The natural question that arises, then is why wnframework/erpnext? There already are quite a few open-source erp’s out there like erp5,openerp etc.

Some of the answers that spring to the mind, (nay fingers)  instantaneously are:

0, All these have started with a fairly set idea of what is erp based on a lot of closed-source implementations.(read, Big corporations’ ideas of what an erp should be)

1,AFAIK, these projects have retained the line between developers and erp functional experts. Not to say that they ignore the functional viewpoint, but they are mostly made of developers with ERP experience. erpNext attempts to blur/erase the line between these two with the metadata approach to generating new functionality and code.

2. The metadata approach means enabling the user to create a new business process with as little coding as possible.

3.  Now hosting it on a cloud, is how we aim to pay our bills. I know that sounds contradictory to the original idea of freeing the business process, especially if you read Richard M Stallman’s view of cloud computing. In response to that, I would say, we realize that erp/business processes being what they are at the moment, there need to be a benevolent dictatorship. The model that we are targeting is a lot like the python  development community or the principle behind giveindia.org(http://www.giveindia.org/t-abtus_mission.aspx#OM).

P.S: I know it is not a very coherent post. But i got the crux out on my laptop a couple of weeks ago and it has been interferring with my work ever since. Please write back and comment on improvements.

UPDATE:  As of Apr-2016, I’ve moved on from erpnext and work somewhere else.

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