Analysing Openbravo as a platform


The future of the Enterprise solutions industry belongs to micro services and in fact nano services. Gone are the days when Enterprise applications were the ones that contained huge gigantic databases and middle ware and a crappy User Interface. In the current era where mobile first (or app first) strategy is driving businesses, the key to choosing an Enterprise solution is not just to use it as an application but also use it as a platform where you can keep on adding your solutions at least for the next decade. Openbravo being a company founded to develop Enterprise applications based on latest technologies has embraced this approach right from its early days. 


Here is a small figure on a small subset of modules present in Openbravo.



 

Let us see here why Openbravo is even more powerful as a platform

  • Modularity

As you can see from the figure above Openbravo embraced modularity or segregation of individual business processes that are interconnected through extension points. In essence you can keep on adding or removing new business processes (verticals as it is usually referred) without having any tight coupling with the other business processes. For example a manufacturing vertical can be used on the same Openbravo setup and also a CRM vertical completely unrelated to the management vertical can reside in the same solution. The beauty here is since each vertical or module can operate independently there is no real need for security concerns or load concerns. But of course there is some underlying data that has to be shared across the System like financials or customer data. This is the next strength of Openbravo.
  • Master data management
A key module of Openbravo solution is the Master Data Management. Some of the business features dealt within this module are:
  • Company information
  • Organization hierarchy
  • Financial Information
  • Users and Roles
  • Security
The advantage here is that this information is usually generic to most of the business process and so instead of repeating the same information across services, the same service can be linked to other solutions. Also since the security of the data is handled here, data abstraction for the various processes can be handled quite easily.


  • Ease of development

This has to be done as a whole article altogether but I will provide a small brief of it. Openbravo uses something called the Application Dictionary model, which enables developers to create windows and artifacts without coding. In essence with simple data such as the SQL tables, any user can create windows in no time. This provides us with multiple benefits like

    • The same user interface standard is maintained across various solutions. 
    • Go live time is hugely reduced and spent more on polishing the business process instead of focussing on trivial elements. 
    • Resources required to complete a module is very lean compared to creating solutions from the scratch.


  • Open source
This is probably the biggest advantage of using Openbravo as a platform. Openbravo was one of the pioneers in open source ERP and one of the very few to still stay that way. Since Openbravo is entirely built on an open source software stack, we have the freedom to use it judiciously without the fear of future updates and legal constraints. And with Openbravo exchange there are hundreds of modules available which can be used to develop your business process in a very little time. For eg, Integrations are provided with various other solutions like SugarCRM, Magento, Pentaho Business Intelligence.

These are some of the key benefits of using Openbravo as a platform. There are whole lot more benefits like centralized deployment and reduced maintenance overhead, but I think once you understand the power of the platform these things are trivial. Would like to hear from you all about the cases in which you have utilized Openbravo as a platform and also as always suggestions and comments are welcome.

 

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