ERP open source: advantages and disadvantages

Ash Baggott

Open source ERP systems are becoming increasingly popular. Smaller enterprises – and even larger companies – are seeking a powerful, cheaper, and customisable tool without the high costs of a commercial ERP such as SAP. 

If implemented and organised effectively, an open source ERP system can have significant benefits for a firm, such as information sharing, reduced operational costs, better automation, and integration of processes.

When implementing an open source ERP system, a new interface is created outside of the core system to meet the requirements of the business, with more commercial systems the existing interface is customised which makes upgrades more difficult. Open source is also becoming more popular due to the fact that you own the system, you’re more free on how you implement the software, and you can do it yourself.


  • Diverse platform

This is one of the biggest advantages when considering this solution, you can explore more open and interconnected platform models, this works particularly well for smaller businesses that aren’t looking for a highly crafted commercial ERP solution. Interconnected platforms provide a solution that is compatible with company hardware, or other applications.

  • Community Support

Many open source systems are supported by vibrant user communities, they provide experimental and transparent support, and for professionals who are keen to be immersed within this environment, open source can be a good solution.

  • No need for installation

Most consider this as the number one benefit of open source software, as there’s no need for licencing the software, or lengthy installations. Vendor licenced products can be accompanied by high licensing costs, an open source ERP system removes this initial cost making it a more convenient, and appealing solution for many businesses.


  • Less available support

One of the biggest disadvantages is that the quality and accessibility of support can be very limited. Although there may be community support available, some companies face the challenge of not receiving troubleshooting help, and other types of immediate support.

You will very rarely find an open source ERP provider that you can reach via the telephone, that is why vendor licenced products have no doubt been popular due to the 24/7 support they provide through specific channels.

  • Issues with data

If companies run into problems transferring data, it can result in high IT support costs for open source products, or you might have to solve the troubleshooting issue entirely on your own. Vendor products tend to have shortcuts or other solutions to rectify problems. 

  • Lack of ownership

Businesses pay for specific engineering that serves their goals with proprietary products. I.e. research and development that a company has produced on its products can support less downtime, reduce different kinds of failure rate, and increase ease of use. Sometimes open source products can be bugged which makes them hard to deal with.


Implementing an ERP system is a vital decision for your business, a failed system can do more harm than good. But if you want to easily customise the system to your needs, save substantial amount of money, and avoid being restricted by a vendor, the choice is simple; invest in open source. If your business is ready for an ERP product, Holded’s Cloud ERP Software #1 can be used to manage your sales, finances, operations, and human resources in one beautiful platform.

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