Compiere Changes Its Business View

Compiere, a provider of open-source business solutions, has released Compiere 3.1, what the company is calling the “most substantial update” to date of its enterprise resource planning (ERP) and CRM product line. The upgrade features more than 400 analysis and technical enhancements to the open-source software, one of the most significant of which is the introduction of what the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company has labeled the Business View Layer. The new feature allows integration with third-party analysis products and provides end users and designers access to ERP data and reporting tools from within the Compiere application.

Compiere 3.1 is available in three editions: the Community Edition, the Standard Edition, and the Professional Edition (which offers the new Business View Layer).

Dennis Byron, analyst with IT Investment Research, notes that Compiere, which was founded in 1999 and which now sports a management team littered with former Oracle veterans, stands out in the ERP landscape -- and not just because of its approach to communal software. “Don’t just think in terms of open-source ERP,” Byron says, adding that the majority of Compiere's customers come to the solution provider for its ERP expertise and then seem to fall into its CRM product.

“It’s the vertical expertise that makes any ERP successful,” Byron says. “Given [Compiere’s] management talent, they know this well and have built functionality into the product.” Compiere mainly focuses on four industries:

  • retail;
  • professional services;
  • distribution; and
  • manufacturing.

The 3.1 release includes specific improvements for those latter two industries, such as:

  • support for user-defined payment schedules and payment dates;
  • control over the definition and processing of invoices;
  • up to five levels of precision for defining inventory locators within warehouses;
  • simplified costing controls with new products and on-hand quantity adjustments; and
  • hypertext integration with document management systems.

In addition, the 3.1 business analytics updates include integration with Jasper Reports, Crystal Reports, Microsoft Excel, and Pentaho Business Intelligence Suite (a fellow open-source provider).

According to its materials, Compiere aims to provide software that can support the entire life cycle of a business such as a manufacturing company. Byron says it’s worth noting the potential for growth if Compiere’s users and partners step up and build on the vendor’s growing platform. He says there’s really a chance and an opportunity for customers to build upon the ERP offerings, especially with Compiere’s flexible model.

“Compiere's strength is the integration of CRM processes around ERP processes,” says Bill Freedman, Compiere's director of marketing. “Customer invoice, payment, and product shipment and service request history leverage information from the root accounting data. Because of the integrated data model, our customers have very strong visibility into the behavior and success of their customer-focused business processes,” he adds.

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