Open Source Strategies

A blog about open source software and business models, enterprise software, and the opentaps Open Source ERP + CRM Suite.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

opentaps Quarterly Update

In the past few months, we have completed some important core development initiatives, while at the same time adding additional features to opentaps Open Source ERP + CRM. The significant developments include the following:
  1. Building out a set of cross-application unit tests to verify the correctness of key areas such as order management, inventory, purchasing, and accounting.
  2. Improved e-mail processing and management features. Customer service e-mails can now be associated with orders and assigned to different reps for processing.
  3. Improved the use of form letters for generating outgoing e-mails and communications.
  4. Support for managing resellers and partners, including contact information, agreements and contracts, and invoicing partners based on their sales activity.
  5. Completed most of the documentation site for opentaps screens.
  6. Completed the integration. This feature is now in production and allows the uploading of products and inventory information to Amazon, the downloading of orders, and the acknowledgment of shipments.
  7. Completed contact, calendar, and task integration using the Funambol data synchronization server. This will enable our users to integrate opentaps with Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, mobile phones, as well as Google calendar and Gmail.
  8. Improved support for UPC codes and other product ID schemes such as ISBN throughout the application for use with barcode scanners.
Perhaps the most significant development of the past few months has been the new automated testing component in opentaps. Some of these tests are quite elaborate, involving processes in several areas of a hypothetical organization and tracking resulting changes to customers, inventory, and financial data. While the tests do not in themselves add any new features, they help us deliver on one of our original goals for opentaps: To create a stable, production ready releases which can be supported and upgraded. In addition, they give us a foundation upon which we could refine and upgrade our code base over time. Finally, the exercise of creating automated tests for applications has helped us become more methodical and rigorous in our development process.

We are now fairly close to the completion of development for the 1.0 release of opentaps open source ERP + CRM, with the only things remaining being some final unit tests and user interface polishing.

Looking Ahead

By bringing together ERP and CRM with mobility integration and business intelligence, opentaps is now a unique and powerful platform for solving business problems. The next step for us is to make opentaps more useful to a greater number of businesses and their users, so that they could unlock the potential of opentaps.

We believe the key for doing this is to make opentaps fundamentally easier: easier to use, easier to deploy, and easier to customize and extend. Just as importantly, we need to make it easier for users to analyze the data collected by opentaps to make better business decisions.

To achieve these goals, we will be making some fundamental enhancements to the technical foundation of opentaps, such as integrating opentaps with open-source content management systems to make deploying powerful, yet attractive e-commerce applications with opentaps easier, and making better use of business intelligence tools throughout the opentaps applications.

Thank you again for being part of our community, and we hope that opentaps will continue to help your business become more successful.

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