Odoo ERP Review: Pros, Cons, Pricing and Key Features

Introduction

Odoo ERP is an open source suite of business applications including CRM, accounting, inventory, project management, and eCommerce. The software uses a modular approach so businesses can start with key apps then add more capabilities as needed.

Odoo originally started in 2005 as TinyERP, created by Belgian company Tiny sprl. It was later rebranded as OpenERP and then Odoo in 2014. Odoo’s core premise is to empower businesses to build customized ERP solutions via flexible open source software.

The key functional modules and apps in Odoo’s ecosystem include:

ModuleDescription
CRMSales pipeline, campaigns, customer service
Accounting & FinanceBilling, payments, tax, reporting
Inventory & LogisticsWarehouse, dropshipping, routing
eCommerceProduct catalog, shopping cart, checkout
Project ManagementTasks, resources, timesheets, Gantt
Human ResourcesEmployees, attendance, payroll, recruitment

Odoo utilizes Python and PostgreSQL to provide a scalable framework for custom ERP implementations. It uses a Model-View-Controller architecture to separate data, presentation, and business logic layers.

The open source model allows businesses to use Odoo apps for free under the LGPLv3 license. Paid enterprise plans offer additional features, support, and cloud hosting options. Odoo also maintains an online app store with over 6,000 addons to extend functionality.

Pros of Using Odoo ERP

There are several advantages to using Odoo as an open source ERP platform:

ProDescription
Flexible and Modular SystemOdoo utilizes modules and apps, so businesses can start with core features needed then expand as required. You avoid overpaying for unused functionalities upfront.
Open Source SoftwareThe community version of Odoo is available under an open source license for free download and use. This avoids large licensing costs associated with proprietary ERPs.
Customizable and ScalableBusinesses can easily customize Odoo to meet specific industry and operational requirements. The modular architecture also allows the system to scale from small to very large deployments.
User-friendly InterfaceOdoo provides an intuitive, consistent user experience across modules. The UI emphasizes usability through clear menus, smart search, and embedded analytics.
Integrated ApplicationsCore business applications like CRM, accounting, inventory are built-in and seamlessly integrated. This unifies data and processes under one platform.
Strong Community SupportAs an open source solution, Odoo benefits from a large community support forum to crowdsource answers to issues and meet local needs.

Cons of Using Odoo ERP

While Odoo has many advantages, there are also some downsides to evaluate:

ConDescription
Can be Complex for First Time UsersThe extensive configurability and modular nature of Odoo can create a steep learning curve. It requires upfront investment in training and change management.
Limited Native ReportingWhile functional, Odoo’s built-in reporting capabilities are basic. Businesses often need to install reporting apps for advanced analytics.
Apps Can Get ExpensiveWhile the open source version is free, buying multiple commercial apps and enterprise modules can add up in costs.
Implementation Requires ExpertiseBeing highly customizable, Odoo implementations benefit from developers and consultants familiar with best practices. This is an added cost.
Functionality Gaps in Some ModulesSome Odoo apps have pockets of weakness requiring workarounds or third party plugins. For example, its native ecommerce capabilities lag dedicated platforms.

Odoo ERP Pricing and Editions

Odoo is available in 3 primary editions catering to different business needs:

EditionDescription
Community EditionThe open source community version is freely downloadable for use. It allows unlimited users and includes all core modules except for enterprise-grade POS and manufacturing features.
Online (SaaS) EditionThe Odoo Online cloud plan starts at $25/month and adds enterprise features plus automated updates and backups. Pricing scales based on number of users.
Enterprise (On-Premise) EditionOn-premise version including all enterprise features, with pricing starting at $15,500/year for up to 300 users. Annual support costs extra.

The total cost of ownership varies based on the number of apps, customizations, and users. Some cost factors include:

  • How many core vs enterprise modules needed
  • Number of custom apps to build or buy
  • Type of deployment – cloud vs on-premise
  • Number of user licenses needed
  • Level of customization and developer support
  • Third party integrations
  • Training and change management needs

For small businesses, an initial basic Odoo site can be deployed for $5,000 – $20,000+. Enterprise implementations can easily reach $100,000+ with heavy customization.

Key Features and Modules

Odoo provides a vast array of business applications. Here is a detailed look at some of the most popular modules:

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Odoo CRM supports sales and marketing teams through the entire customer lifecycle. Key features include:

FeatureDescription
Lead/Opportunity ManagementTrack leads to convert into sales opportunities and orders.
Sales PipelineVisual sales funnel reporting for forecasts.
Marketing AutomationCreate targeted email campaigns and workflows.
Customer ServiceManage customer tickets and issues to resolution.
Reporting & AnalyticsCharts and pivot tables to analyze sales performance.

Accounting and Finance

Odoo Financial Accounting covers core accounting needs including:

FeatureDescription
Accounts Receivable/PayableManage customer invoices, vendor bills, payments.
Cash Flow AnalysisTrack income and expenses to improve cash flow.
Tax HandlingComprehensive tax management for US and global.
Budgeting & ForecastingSet budgets and compare actuals with projections.
Financial ReportingAudit trail, general ledger reporting, profit/loss statements.
Bank ReconciliationLink bank feeds to reconcile accounts.

Inventory and Logistics

Key highlights of Odoo Inventory Management include:

FeatureDescription
Warehouse OperationsManage stock across multiple warehouses.
Inventory ControlTrack stock quantity, serial/lot numbers, and costs.
DropshippingDirect order delivery from vendors to customers.
Routes & OperationsOptimize delivery routes and vehicle/driver allocation.
Shipping IntegrationsOut-of-box carriers including UPS, FedEx and USPS.
Barcode ScanningSpeed up stock moves and orders via mobile barcode readers.

eCommerce

Odoo provides complete ecommerce capabilities to build online stores:

FeatureDescription
Product CatalogPhotos, pricing, variations, SEO descriptions.
PromotionsSet customer discounts and coupons.
Shopping CartSaved carts, quotes, checkout process.
Multiple WebsitesManage separate websites for brands/countries.
Payment GatewaysPayPal, Stripe, Authorize.net integrations.

While functional for basic B2C and B2B sites, Odoo may not provide the full feature set offered by dedicated ecommerce platforms. Retailers with advanced requirements may need to integrate Odoo with a separate solution.

Project Management

For services businesses, Odoo Project enables managing client engagements:

FeatureDescription
Tasks & PlanningBreakdown projects into tasks with timelines.
TimesheetsLog employee time on projects for billing.
Gantt ViewInteractive Gantt charts to visualize schedules.
Billing RatesBill clients based on employee rates and time tracked.
ReportingCharts on project profits, progress, and KPIs.

Project planning integrates tightly with other Odoo apps like CRM, Accounting, and HR.

Human Resources

Odoo Human Resources meets many essential HR needs:

FeatureDescription
Employee DatabaseMaintain digital personnel records.
Time Off ManagementSubmit and approve PTO requests.
Attendance TrackingTrack employee presence and working hours.
PayrollProcess payroll accounting and payments.
RecruitmentTrack applicants through hiring stages.
Onboarding & OffboardingAutomate employee onboarding/offboarding.
AppraisalsPerformance reviews and talent evaluation.
TrainingManage employee training and certifications.
Reporting & AnalyticsEmployee turnover, utilization, and other insights.

For basic HR functionality in a single country, Odoo provides solid capabilities. For advanced needs around talent or performance management, specialized HR systems may be better suited.

Other Notable Features

Some other important capabilities in Odoo:

FeatureDescription
Multi-Company SupportManage and report across business units
Multi-LanguageSupport multiple languages for sites/documentation
Document ManagementCentralized document storage with approvals
AutomationConfigure rules and triggers for workflow automation
APIREST API for integrating other apps with Odoo data
Mobile AccessOdoo app for access on the go

Conclusion

Odoo ERP provides a flexible open source framework to manage key business processes for SMBs and enterprises. With its modular approach, it offers integrated applications for CRM, accounting, inventory, eCommerce, project management, and more.

The software is highly customizable to suit company needs, with a large app store for additional features. However, the extensive configurability can prove challenging for companies without technical expertise.

For the right business willing to invest in implementation and customization, Odoo delivers a robust ERP platform to unify operations. It works best for manufacturing, distribution, professional services, and retail companies looking for open source alternatives to SAP or Oracle.

Overall, Odoo ERP stands out as a scalable and cost-effective solution for managing end-to-end operations and improving productivity.

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