Odoo Enterprise, a Netsuite Alternative or just simply a Quickbooks replacement?
The quest for a rock solid CRM/ERP system for the SMB
Odoo ERP software is one of the most popular Netsuite ERP alternatives and is a very powerful erp system in it’s own right. Odoo started as an open source erp and cloud based accounting system that was a completely free accounting solution that combined cloud based CRM, project management with a powerful online accounting software package, certainly much more than just a Quickbooks Replacement.
Approximately 12 years after Odoo open source, or OpenERP was released, they came out with an Odoo Enterprise version that incorporated an Odoo apps store that has grown to over 10,000 apps and modules. Since 2012 Odoo has become one of the best alternatives to Quickbooks and Quickbooks Online and a great option for those businesses that have outgrown simple needs from offerings like Zoho books, Freshbooks, and have an accountant bookkeeper that recommends an ERP solution, not JUST an accounting system.
There is also a little thing around price. Netsuite licenses alone can run up to 4-5x what Odoo licenses cost, depending on the number of users (after all, neither system offers unlimited users) and modules. Implementation I would grade at about even, though giving Odoo a slight edge because it does use mostly Python and XML to develop on it, and those skills are much more commonplace and commoditized, than the hard to find, seasoned suitescripter.
Odoo is a perfect fit for manufacturing companies, warehouse management, professional services and it is also an excellent Ecommerce solution as well.
Being in the ERP/CRM game for quite some time, and being a former user/developer/partner of Netsuite, and a current user/developer/partner of Odoo, I have to give the nod to Odoo for it’s modern look and feel, lightning fast performance, and great mobile app performance. Netsuite needs to revamp and modernize their solution, it is getting bloated and very slow and the UI needs updating.
How long does the implementation take and what can I expect?
Having worked with both systems for quite a long time, I can easily assess that Odoo is far easier to get up and running than Netsuite. Also Netsuite usually strongarms an expensive services engagement unless you work with an partner. A full implementation of Netsuite can take anywhere from 6-9 months, to well over a year. Odoo implementations, can be 3-6 months and some can take 9-12 months for a manufacturing setup.
Ironically, Netsuite started off as Oracle Small Business Suite and targeted mostly small companies that have outgrown Quickbooks. As they grew and went public, so did the price tag until it became a non-starter for any small businesses. Odoo is priced such that any small startup could afford it and benefit from it, and larger companies with more complex requirements could get into a powerful ERP system for a reasonable investment.
As with ANY ERP or CRM system, proper planning and design is imperative and is often the difference between a successful project and a disaster. Because the software look simple and has the “out of the box” features to get you started right away, many people choose self implementation and do not put the investment of time and the expertise of a professional into it until it’s too late. We get calls daily from companies who attempted to “save money” by doing it themselves. More often than not, we have to recommend they start from the beginning and alot of them end up blaming the software, and will either stick with their lame duck configuration or they will move off onto a different package, often times spending ALOT of money this time around to avoid another costly mistake.
ERP can be the most important investment a company can make
Whether you choose Odoo, Netsuite or any of the other systems out there, understand that this could be the single most important investment a company will make. A properly designed and executed system will not only pay a company back in efficiencies, it will often do the job of several employees. One of our clients had 6 people in their AR/AP department and they were struggling with 6 different spreadsheets and there was NO visibility to upper management to make the right business decisions. What may seem like a high upfront cost, will seem very negligible when a business starts to scale. One of the least talked about benefits of a properly implemented system is the value that it adds to a company. On average a company with a smooth running ERP system could be worth 1.5-2x what the same type company using Quickbooks and spreadsheets would be.
If you are a business owner and are looking to get more visibility into things like your sales pipeline, project management, employee management/timesheets. If you are tired of “forgetting” to invoice clients because someone made a human error, or if your current system is too damn difficult to use or train people on. Look into a system like Odoo and get the complete picture and by all means, do it right the first time.
About the Author
Ray Collazo is a 24 year veteran of ERP systems implementations both large and small. From large scale SAP and JDE implementations in the regulated life sciences and pharma sector, to small business start-up ecommerce sites with manufacturing backends. The opinions in this article are based on hands on experience as a Netsuite partner/user and also as an Odoo partner and now user. Ray has founded several Technology firms and worked as a channel partner for SAP, Sage, Netsuite, Salesforce and Odoo among others. Ray understands the fundamentals of business process engineering and the importance of a good plan and design. Ray is the founder and principal partner of VCloud9 LLC.