Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Two key reasons to choose an open source solution over another is the vibrancy of its ecosystem of developers and the amount of contributions that project receives from its community. Projects with more contributors evolve faster deliver more value to its users.
Architecture is a key factor in stimulating contributions and projects with a modular architecture have proven to generate a livelier ecosystem than monolithic ones. This is primarily because modular systems allow decoupled and independent development lowering the barrier to contribution.
Openbravo launched its modular architecture in April 2009, when it introduced release 2.50; in less than 18 months the population of available modules passed the symbolic threshold of 200 units.
Today, Openbravo's ecosystem sports 208 generally available modules with a growth rate of 104% in the first 9 months of the year. More importantly, more than 47% of these modules are developed by third party with no or little support by the core Openbravo development team, proving the efficiency of the ecosystem.
While these are impressive numbers, one has to look at the details to understand the value of these contributions for Openbravo end users:
* 108 modules related to localization in 20 countries; these are not only translations but also accounting rules, tax configurations, tax reports, etc.
* 45 are functional extensions that expand the footprint of Openbravo to support other business processes
* 25 are reports that allow to better leverage the information existing within the ERP
* 7 are tools to simplify the life of System Administrators
* 6 are vertical features or solutions that address needs specific of sectors such as hospitality, apparel, healthcare, or higher education
* 4 are connectors to other applications or services
* 4 are alert rules informing users of anomalies in the data patterns in their business
* 3 are skins
Another interesting dimension of analysis is the usage, measured in terms of downloads, which illustrated by the three charts below.
Finally, a key value of the Openbravo ecosystem is its continuity: it is very easy to port modules from one version to the next. This is illustrated by the chart below showing that 25% of the modules are already compatible with both 2.50 and the newly launched 3.0.
The next time you are evaluating an open source solution, consider its ecosystem as well. In the case of Openbravo, you will find 208 additional reasons to choose it as your ERP.