Unless this is the first article you've read about Odoo, you'll know by now that Odoo is a business management platform designed to house all of your business functions in a single app. Whether that's sales, purchases, manufacturing, HR, events or e-learning, Odoo has you covered. But Odoo isn't the onle player in this game. Big names like SAP and NetSuite have been successful for years, so what makes Odoo so special, and why have I chosen it as my preferred platform?
Customisation at its Core
To me Odoo is so much more than just an ERP or CRM, it's a framework to build business processes. And that's what I love about it. It's about doing things your way.
To put that into perspective, I'll use my uni job as an example, because this is something I think everyone can connect with. I was a bartender, and like most other bars we had a point of sale computer. We'd key in the order and then go make the drinks. But if you get an order you don't know how to make, out the back you went to look through the recipe book. To me this was always time consuming and just unprofessional.
Imagine now we were working with Odoo and we wanted to make that process better. Now when I key in a drink to add it to the order, a recipe button could show next to the drink allowing me access to a full ingredient and method list. I don't have to remember that a Manhattan has 3/4 ounce of sweet vermouth, the info is right there for me with just a touch of a button. No more walking out back, no more flipping through the pages.
This is the value that I see Odoo. It's those little tools that make a big difference to one company. Now obviously cocktails mean nothing to most businesses, but every business has their way of doing things that no software suite can give them out of the box. And often times it's these processes that are your business advantage. After all, if you're the same as every other business, why would customers choose you.
How it Dominates
As a designer of custom workflows, why is Odoo more powerful than anything on the market? Well the reason it can be customised so well is two fold.
Firstly, Odoo is Open Source. That means right now you can go online, get every line of code for Odoo Community free of charge. You can see why it does what it does, there's nothing hidden from view. For developers, this is hands down the most helpful tool when creating modules. We don't need to rely on documentation to tell us the details, we can see everything. We know exactly what the flow is, and where we should put our code in that flow to get you the results you want. Odoo partners also get this luxury with Odoo Enterprise. So even though it's proprietary software, we still get access to play around and dissect every line.
The second reason is that a vast majority of Odoo is built as modules, in the exact same way our customisation are. Odoo's inbuilt sales module is no different to any of the 10,000 apps on the app store. The system doesn't look at them any differently, they're just modules.
Most systems don't work this way. Platforms like NetSuite build their entire system as first class, then they treat customisations as second class. These customisations are often written in a proprietary programming language such as NetSuite's SuiteScript that control what you're allowed to do. Generally this means we can't make the same level of changes to the system as you would be able to in Odoo. For instance, you may be able to add extra steps to a process, but can't remove an inbuilt step because it is first class.
At the end of the day, there is nothing that is impossible to do in Odoo, just that which is too difficult and too expensive for the benefit you'll get. So if Odoo is something you're interested in, have a think about what customisations would help your business flourish.