Mar 26, 2008
by Sanjeev Nath
When the 451 group blogged about Openbravo Network last October, they marked it as a relevant example of open source aiming to enter "markets that were previously seen as locked-down by dominant vendors." They also noted a gap in "the mid-market space [that] has been under-served by the industry giants that dominate the ERP space." This first point reminded me of my friend who said he did not know anything about "open source" then opened his Mozilla browser to look it up.
But the second point reminded me of the question being asked with open source solutions: how can we market our solution to end users accustomed to proprietary software? With Openbravo Network, we are attempting to answer this question by offering an optimized solution customizable to their needs, charging a reasonable price, and we then package it with peace of mind.
In 2005, Networkworld discussed key success factors for software appliances. Looking at these criteria, Openbravo Network covers every single area:
- Pricing: Pay as you go leasing
- Modular Design: Pick and choosing desired functionalities.
- Using Standards: Support well accepted standards that are easy to deploy, without needs to integrate required stack.
- Easy Management: Updates, remote repairs, self managed by internal system administrator or partner.
- Security: Build on "a hardened operating system and application stack that supports only the features and functions necessary for the appliance."
- Achieve Optimal Performance: Access to customize the solution and modules to specific needs. As well the solution is installed to work fastest, right out of the box, no testing required.
- Maintain Optimal Performance: Quality control verified by Openbravo, with updates and monitoring available
- Warranties and Certifications: The entire solution is backed by Openbravo (stack and ERP) and 1 month "fit for purpose" warranty
- Technical Support: Question and improvements can be handled directly by Openbravo, either on site or remotely
- Product Ownership: Product is owned upon purchase. Should users discontinue subscription, the system administration console and ERP is still owned forever. The support is pay as you go, not the solution.
The thinking behind Openbravo Network will allow the solution to succeed in the same way Mozilla did, because my buddy looks at it as a great solution, open source or not. People will like this product...and I think another slightly larger ERP company did too. Right before CeBIT Hannover 2008, they launched their own software appliance. Maybe they are proving that there may be room in the software appliance ERP world for large unflexible solutions from once dominant players after all?