Odoo 9, is the latest release of the most popular open source ERP software. There are now , two versions, a community version, and an enterprise version.
A page on the Odoo website does show in a table, the differences between the two versions. Nonetheless, here is our analysis on the new features, following the training on Odoo 9, in Hong Kong :
The Community version is fully functional and customisable, and should be largely sufficient for most SMEs (unless they are in e-commerce).
The Enterprise version adds several impressive features, that would bring significant productivity gains to medium to large size companies, namely:
- Responsive UI for mobile workers
This is particularly impressive. Since V7, Odoo works exclusively in a web browser. This eases a lot the deployment and allows road warriors to connect from anywhere. However while this works well on a laptop or a tablet, it doesn’t on smart phones. The version 9 Enterprise allows Odoo Interface to be responsive, allowing any mobile workers to be productive with whatever device. This feature will undoubtedly be a winner amongst sales people !
- Bar code interface for the warehouse module
There was a bar code interface for the warehouse module in Odoo 8, but out-of-the-box, it was still a bit clumsy, and therefore not suitable for serious, high volume warehouse operations. In V9, the interface has improved significantly; for example, it is now possible to search a stock picking with a bar code within the bar code interface. Likewise, supposedly all operations can now be done through the bar code interface (let’s say the standard operations, not the complicated, exceptional cases !).
For service companies that want to track the time spent by the staff on specific project (e.g. accounting firms, consulting firms, event organisers, etc..) Odoo has for quite some time a time sheet module, combined with job costing. But this means that the staff had still to be back in office to log into the system, and input their timesheet. With the mobile app, they can now record their timesheet from the convenience of their mobile.
For companies that relies a lot on their website to communicate with their customers, the new enterprise version introduces many improvements :
- Many usability improvements when building the website (e.g. WYSIWYG editor)
- More stable blocks / widget when changing theme
- Staging (possible to have a winter website in draft, while the summer website is live)
- Integration with couriers (FedEx..) and popular e-commerce (Amazon, ebay, shopify..), VoIP integration
The Community version has not been forgotten in this upgrade, as it shares many of the new core features of the enterprise version. Some notable changes:
- Full update of the accounting module
Lots of usability improvement to ease the transition from other popular accounting software. Much improved bank reconciliation process/module (but still no bank reconciliation report). Better default set up on journals, etc.. Overall, the accounting module is much more usable out-of-the-box for small companies, while remaining customisable. This means that powerful automation, or additional features can be developed to suit the needs of more demanding businesses.
- Update of the sales, and contract management module (VERY helpful for service companies), better integration with Time Sheet module
- More flexible control of the link between sale order, delivery order and invoice (Good for the trading industry)
Odoo has rewritten the sales module, so as to bring more flexibility in the workflow. Traditional ERPs always have the weakness of not being very flexible with a a rather rigid workflow. But in real life, exceptions happen all the time. The new version has changed its approach, and compared with the previous versions, it is now much closer to real life processes: A customer may order something, but after the order, many new requests or constraints may occur, and the final delivery may be quite different. Odoo is now able to track all the requests, and the changes without the need to roll back, cancel, reset to draft, and re-confirming the order. B2B companies will certainly appreciate this !
With V9, Odoo has again shown its commitment in continuously developing a product, to improve the existing features, add new ones, and update the underlying technology. The new Enterprise version not only has significant productivity features, but also includes a bug fixing guarantee, and a migration to future versions. The Enterprise version should therefore be the preferred choice for companies that can gain significantly from its specific features, or want to secure their initial investment and ensure they can benefit from all future improvements.
For smaller companies with more limited scope or that need a lot of customisation, the community version remains an excellent choice with lots of available Apps (in standard and from the Odoo Community).
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