Is ERPNext better than Odoo? 9 reasons to consider.

Your search for open source ERP has narrowed to ERPNext vs Odoo. Let's see 9 reasons and see if ERPNext is better.

July 21, 2020

ERPNext or Odoo?

If you’re looking for an open source ERP you must have come across these two - ERPNext and Odoo. If you are wondering why ERPNext is better, here is a list of things you can consider.

1. Truly open source

This is a common misconception due to the way Odoo positions itself that Odoo is open source. Odoo has a Open Core model where only the core modules are actually open source. If you are wondering what is not open, the key things that Odoo decides to keep closed are:

  1. Upgrade Scripts (you can't upgrade unless you pay)
  2. Finanical Accounting (full accounting is paid, yes and claims to be an ERP)
  3. Payroll

On the other hand, ERPNext has always been 100% open source. What does this mean? Well, for starters, everything that you see on our SaaS subscription is available on GitHub as free and open source. Frappe believes that the spirit of open-source software is sharing what you create in an open ecosystem.

Check out the GitHub repository here.

2. 20,000 Apps, a boon or a curse?

Odoo boasts of thousands of apps but with ERPnext you get one platform to cater to various needs. You decide which one sounds easier to manage. There’s also less overhead of remembering which apps/parts did you purchase or need to manage. Some other problems are:

  1. Most of theses apps are not open source, so while you feel you have a choice, you really don't.
  2. Many of the apps could be conflicting
  3. Apps by various vendors may not be supported across modules.

Check out our whitepaper on why one solution is better than installing multiple SaaS apps.

3. Easy customization

ERPNext is highly modular in nature. Everything is organized internally using the ‘DocType’ architecture. In simple words, this means that any kind of simple to moderate customization can be done with very little code. Actions like creating new forms to record different kinds of data, automation, linking different forms, creating custom workflows and more can be done in a couple of hours.

The ease of customization is possible due to the powerful Frappe Framework.

Like a discuss forum user pointed out:

Frappe framework is more balanced between Python and JavaScript. It uses JSON massively but you don’t write it directly. Frappé is the popular Jinja templating engine on the Python side. Frappé includes many graphical customizations.

To know more about customization in ERPNext, check out this video.

4. Less resource-intensive

ERPNext is very light on the system resources. This becomes more important if you decide to host on your own servers. ERPNext is made with the open-source JavaScript framework called Frappe which is also the name of the company behind ERPNext. Hundreds of ERPNext accounts and users can run on a single server with multi-tenancy. ERPNext runs smoothly on virtual private servers (VPS).

5. All features out of the box

In ERPNext, there are no pricing restrictions or features hiding behind paywalls. Everything is ready to use from the moment of installation. This includes modules like accounting, manufacturing, inventory, HRMS, CRM, asset management, and many more. For a complete list of modules in ERPNext, visit the documentation.

6. Better value for money

Building on a thousand apps vs one platform, you’re more likely to save on expenses when your ERP provider doesn’t charge your extra for each and every addon and app. Even the popular integrations are free in ERPNext. Let’s talk pricing*.

  1. ERPNext: Clean pricing of $25 - $50/user/month based on region
  2. Odoo: Complex pricing that considers apps, users and regions + additional success packs
  • Disclaimer: Pricing may vary based on region and apps chosen, this is an approximate representation.

7. Can work offline, kind of

How many times has the lack of internet stopped your transaction mid way? Most SaaS solutions require continuous internet access to function. While we live in an internet rich world today, connection problems are common in remote areas or towns.

In ERPNext, multiple “sites” or accounts can talk to each other even when there’s no internet. If you have POS systems in remote locations or some branches face frequent internet issues, ERPNext enables them to work even offline. After working offline, data is synchronized when your internet connection is back.

8. Simpler to use

The light and simple user interface in ERPNext makes it a breeze to find anything and start creating transactions. With easily accessible menus and menu items, you can find relevant features quickly. If this wasn’t easy enough, the global search bar or the ‘awesome bar’ as we call it, lets you find any feature or any specific document inside a feature. These multiple elements adding up to a simple user interface make ERPNext effortless to use.

9. Unlimited scaling with Kubernetes

ERPNext is also available on Kubernetes for horizontal scaling. What does this mean? With vertical scaling, you’d need to upgrade the existing 1 server with better CPU, RAM etc to handle more accounts. But with horizontal scaling, you can add more servers and CPUs and all accounts will be able to use them. In a gist, you could begin with a small ERPNext instance and scale it infinitely with your business growth. The scaling is of course limited by how many servers you can host on. Configuring and self hosting with Kubernetes is quite simple in ERPNext.

If you need professional help, contact Frappe for an arrangement.

Conclusion

We saw 9 compelling reasons to call ERPNext a better choice than Odoo. It’s a great Odoo alternative and then some whether or not you love open source.

Some of these reasons were philosophical, some about features, some on more value for money. Overall, with advantages in the form of better UX, more features, and a distinct value proposition, ERPNext is suitable for most small, medium, and large organizations.

Prasad Ramesh
Prasad Ramesh
"Writer at Frappe."
12 comments
Bagia September 12, 2020

Great and comprehensive comparison, thank you.

Javier López September 9, 2020

Hello, I've used Odoo in the past, as a developer and user, now I'm using ERPNext. I would like to point out a few things.

Against Odoo:

  1. Odoo mobile app is only for paying customers, ERPNext/Frappe app might be a simple cordova app, but It works better than using a normal web browser, and we know that in the future we will have something better. With Odoo I don't think we will ever see a community mobile app.

Plus of Odoo:

  1. I wholeheartedly disagree with point number 2 "20,000 Apps, a boon or a curse?" It's a great great asset, and many many apps are free to use. There's a great community association (OCA) that produces high quality modules for free. And It's an amazing source of knowledge, and help to developers. To be able to see so many free apps you can learn from, how they manipulate the framework.

Which is something that ERPNext/Frappe lacks, there's no marketplace, web page, etc. In which you can see non frappe apps, that extend it, etc. And that's really sad, I would love for the foundation to step up, and have something like odoo have with it's apps.odoo.com

  1. Extensibility and ORM. Personally the Odoo ORM is more pythonic, using special methods, and better integrated with python object features. But I also enjoy Frappe ORM. Also Odoo is more extensible in what you can achieve with a custom module. While ERPNext tries to push not customizing, which is a fair point, but I prefer the Freddom.

  2. Documentation: There's no competition here, Odoo documentation for developers and users is just miles ahead than Frappe/ERPNext, learning to develop frappe has been a challenge with poor docs, There's no documentation for much of the JavaScript api (Page, Meta, Grid), this aspect is filled with problems, which Frappe would step up. If you can't get the Developers to love the easy to use of your framework for the lack of docs, there's something wrong. Just google Odoo ORM API 13 vs Frappe Framework document api.

In the end I prefer ERPNext/Frappe but wish documentation, and developer focus would change a ton.

Mishal September 9, 2020

We have been using ERPNext for close to 4 years now. We started implementation with one company, but have now extended it to 4 companies in different locations and industries.

ERPNext has been a great blessing. There are some tweaks here and there that it requires, and some features need to be enhanced to fit the North American market, HR module and discrete manufacturing, but I can safely say that it meets 70% of our organizational needs.

We had recently gone thru demos for Odoo since we were considering their manufacturing module features. But give the resource requirement for switching an ERP - we decided to stick with ERPNext; we hope that ERPNext will continue to enhance the software and support to meet the community needs.

Agree with Prasad - ERPNext is a great ERP solution.

Jude Omoshare September 9, 2020

For our company (we are based in Nigeria, West Africa), we will choose ERPNext any day, anytime over any other ERP software, open or closed. Our organization has partnered with one of the largest software vendors in the world for more than 15 years, but we switched to Frappe products in early 2018. There is just no comparison.

ERPNext is FREE. If you are new and you want to support, kindly talk to the Frappe Team for your support queries.

We have never had such a close relationship with a software vendor as Frappe Technologies since we have been in business. This is my own experience and I am willing to share it openly.

Moe September 5, 2020

ERPNext is awesome but a big downside is the poor documentation. I think we need to get a part of the community for documenting only.

Jorge September 2, 2020

That's right Kris. I couldn't setting the email domain with AWS Wormail, I have been asking on forum and anyone answer, I had to give up in learning ERPNEXT, the support and documentation is poor, I am going to continue with odoo.

Kris September 2, 2020

the support is still poor. i had several unanswered/unsolved questions on the forum. whether because of limited community, or no dedicated support from frappe. this can be a high wall for ones starting to learn and implement erpnext, even if there's documentation.

recently we joined as partner, hoping to get better support, to ease the implementation for our clients or prospects. let's see.

ps: our company is partner of both platforms.

Khaksar Weqar September 1, 2020

We need a complete tutorial/documentation for customizing ERPNext. That will be really appreciated if you can provide it. I really loved it.

Gunther September 1, 2020

Some of the points, if not all, are covered by Odoo. Accounting is available in the Open Source version, but some local reports are only available in Enterprise version. POS keeps working if connection is lost, data is synched when connection is restored. Odoo can be managed with Kubernetes for High Availability and scalability. Odoo's interface is easy to understand and straightforward over all apps. An Easy search is available on the dashboard and views. The community version is fully free and you can host it on your own infrastructure this reducing the overall cost to about the cost of a server or even your own laptop. On your own cloud instance the cost could be less then $200/year. I believe acceptabel for an ERP. The flexibility to find specific functionalities in the community at a fraction of the cost as if you would have to develop it yourseld is an asset. I believe it is impossible to claim that an ERP van provide all functionalities and flows out of the box without some customization. Odoo runs smooth on a VPS aswell. Customization is easy but indeed you will need the Enterprise Studio app for doing that. In the other case I believe that the learning curve will be similar for both platforms. Just my thoughts 👍

Francisco Palm August 31, 2020

ERPNext only uses MariaDB and that is quite poor technology with limited support for transactions and geospatial data, and the tools to admin this engine are so outdated. If you gave support to PostgreSQL I'll take a chance on ERPNext.

Jonathan August 31, 2020

Thanks, i need a book to learn development in frappe and not assume some things. I await the documentation for development and implementations and integrations, api handling, micro services, it is updated. I love this system. I have my doubts if they will migrate to pure js or keep jquery.

salim August 31, 2020

Good comparison and agree ERPNEXT is 100% open source and free ... kudos!!!

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