Odoo 10: giving power to power users

Yesterday I attended the Odoo 10 release event in Melbourne, presented by the Odoo APAC team and local partner Willdoo IT. ERP and CRM systems are relatively common needs that I’ve seen in businesses that I’ve worked with. It’s good to see what’s coming up in these systems, particularly in the Open Source space.

A short history: from OpenERP to Odoo

For those who do not know, Odoo it is an open source ERP platform. It started off its life as “OpenERP”, but that moniker needed changing a few years back. Odoo’s parent company added in additional functions not traditionally included in an ERP solution, such as CRM, website builders, e-commerce and marketing campaign management, so a name change was warranted. I first came across Odoo back when it was called OpenERP but it wasn’t until about a year ago (with Odoo 9) that I did a deep dive into the platform and what it can offer.

The Odoo suite is offered in three editions: an open source community edition, a (paid) hosted Odoo cloud software-as-a-service offering and an enterprise edition. As is commonplace for open source enterprises, Odoo’s community edition offers the main core features for the platform, whereas the enterprise edition grants access to additional functions and applications. A full comparison between these editions can be found here: https://www.odoo.com/page/editions.

Odoo 10 Studio

New feature in Odoo 10: Odoo Studio

The feature that interested me most in the Odoo 10 presentation is the new “Odoo Studio”, which is included within the enterprise edition. On first blush, it looks like a power-user focused application customisable, screen designer and report customiser tool. (https://www.odoo.com/page/studio)

Odoo has always had the ability for developers to customise and add to the core structure, fields and workflows but it always required a skilled developer to unlock these capabilities. However, now with Odoo Studio, it appears that sufficiently skilled non-developers such as business power users, analysts and consultants will how be able to more easily enhance, tweak and customise Odoo. It looks good. On the three minute view I saw, it looks powerful, easy and fast.

Though not directly related, I’m interested in another feature within Odoo release 10: a comprehensive Odoo training platform to assist users and administrators to become productive in a platform more speedy manner. This will be a welcome addition to the ecosystem as Odoo can be complicated to configure — it does have a full enterprise-level accounting and business process backbone after all.

Put together, the training could increase the uptake and understandability in Odoo, and the Odoo Studio can encourage user-led and company-led enhancements, once the product is better known.

A potential change to the business landscape (for the better)?

If this new studio function is as full featured and operates as per specification, and the new training platform creates greater user and administrator insight into Odoo’s inner workings, I see that there is a potential for a boon for Odoo uptake and implementations within small and medium enterprises. Not only could it entice organisations towards a people-centric ERP platform and an integrated world, but the long dreamt-about future of organisations ridding themselves of ancient Microsoft Access databases, hundreds of spreadsheets and small bespoke applications may be at hand. That’s really powerful stuff — if the vision comes to fruition.

What could this mean for Odoo partners? At this point it’s hard to say, but I guess that the hope would be that the entire market is larger and so therefore the partners can access more, higher value, larger customers for more complex work over adding a field here or there, or customising a report: higher-value work with a bigger slice of pie.

I don’t have access to the enterprise edition of the Odoo, though after yesterday I would love to have a play. It would be interesting to see whether the promise is delivered upon in reality to deliver greater usefulness and uptake to target Odoo clients.

Note: I’m not affiliated with Odoo or any Odoo partners.

First published at: http://infineo.com.au/2016/11/14/odoo-10-giving-power-to-power-users/

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