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Seeking Next Gen Online Order Entry Software? 42

kwandar asks: "Our company is a small/medium sized software developer that markets its products around the world. The order/sales system is an outdated DOS-based system, with limited capabilities. We would like to replace this with one that provides new features like: CRM; customer support services; bug reporting; bug tracking; order entry; accounting reporting; and hooks into some form of licensing software. Ideally it would be web based so that all ordering can be done over one system, whether by a customer, our foreign distributors, or ourselves. Have any of my fellow readers been through this and hunted down software, that worked in a software sales environment. Can anyone recommend an all-in-one solution, or several solutions (open source preferred) which can be integrated with minimal effort?"
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Seeking Next Gen Online Order Entry Software?

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  • Anecdontal advice from a random internet person: Avoid offshore contractors. Our company got one to do ours and not so fun.
  • Hmmm.... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Do you think you may have just identified a market to exploit?
  • Our company is a small/medium sized software developer
    Why not create your own ?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Shados ( 741919 )
      Because these kinds of systems are notoriously hard to develop, and never actually work right. The only way someone has a chance in hell of making one (without 10 years experience doing nothing but that) is to get something that was made by someone/some company that worked on it for 10 years doing nothing but that, then customise it.

      Otherwise, and like 80%+ of companies using such system out there, the system ends up hurting more than helping, might as well do things manually.
      • Re:Just an idea... (Score:5, Informative)

        by _ivan ( 31342 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @07:55PM (#19092389) Homepage

        ... get something that was made by someone/some company that worked on it for 10 years doing nothing but that, then customise it
        We've spent the last 10 years working on open-source software you can customize to do this... http://www.sisd.com/freeside/ [sisd.com]

        HTH
      • One thing that makes them notoriously hard is making them talk to all the other esoteric systems. You're business doesn't operate inside a bubble. If one of your big customers wants to integrate your order system, with their procurement system, then you're going to have a lot of work ahead of you to make them talk to each other.
        • by Shados ( 741919 )
          Yup, pretty much. That and the constant changes because the big guys and marketing, on top of lawmakers, change the rules daily. One of the worse thing I had to deal with though, was non-standard EDIs. Almost had to make custom tables for the big customers, because abstracting it to fit all the weird ways would have taken too long (though it wasn't impossible, we just had one amazingly awful architect)
          • Don't even get me started on the monstrosity that is EDI. They thought they could standardize every document computers would ever have to send to eachother. Then they forgot that some companies might want to send different information in these documents. So somebody decides that this field that they aren't using, well, we'll use it for this other thing that we do need. So, you end up with this hard-to-parse, non-human-readable, file format that isn't standardized. You're basically writing custom code f
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DogDude ( 805747 )
      You're describing a classic business blunder: Wasting time and money re-inventing the wheel, instead of focusing on the product/service at the core of the business.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Hey, profit margins can be minuscule these days. Everyone's looking for a better way of doing things.

        At least this level of thinking is geared towards making things easier on the staff - so they can help their customers better. ;)
        • making things easier on the staff - so they can help their customers better. ;)
          i presume that wink was the 'this is sarcasm', as i doubt there are many companies out there wishing to automate processes so they need only feed the electricity meter rather than pay real people. ;)
  • by hedronist ( 233240 ) on Friday May 11, 2007 @06:06PM (#19091571)
    One place you should definitely checkout is http://www.sugarcrm.com/ [sugarcrm.com]. It's waaay beyond anything I need, but it might fit the bill.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There's also vtiger: http://www.vtiger.com/ [vtiger.com].

      It's a forked version of SugarCRM, by devs who aren't douche bags when it comes to open source procedure.
  • I have one here...

    Or rather. Once you're into the ERP/CRM space you're talking customisation and consultants... How much are you making just now?

    Take a look at opentaps. Sounds the closest free system to your description, but yeah. Much customisation and consultation required.

     
    • I guess he means this: opentaps [opentaps.org].

      Another self-destructive software name by open source authors. Taps: "A signal by bugle or drum sometimes performed as a postlude to a military funeral".

      Otherwise, opentaps (all lower case) seems interesting, except that the home page contains many editing errors.
  • Try Zoovy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gru3hunt3r ( 782984 )
    If you're looking for something next generation then your best fit is probably http://www.zoovy.com/ [zoovy.com]Zoovy.com.

    Pros: Both a .Net desktop client (Vista friendly!) specifically for order entry and warehouse management, as well as a very powerful website hosting content engine that is fully AJAX / Web 2.0.

    Remote staff can also login to the web interface which is Web 2.0/Ajax to manage orders and do other tasks such as update the website.

    Also works with Amazon, GoogleBase, eBay, etc. to increase your visibility
  • A lot of the problem with these systems is that they're intractable... no sooner do you think you've smoothed everything off and sealed the source code does someone get a bright idea of making the system worth with another area of your business.

    It sort of goes like this;

    Let's aquire online orders via a form - it's easy, into a database and print it out ...

    Oh, let's make it adjust stock levels too, and check to ensure there's enough stock,

    How about we tie it in with accounts a bit mor
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by king-manic ( 409855 )
      Wow, You just dictated my exact experience coding a small and "simple" order system to keep track of stock request spiraled into a inventory system and they then wanted it to auto order stock. etc..
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TopSpin ( 753 ) *

      A lot of the problem with these systems is that they're intractable... no sooner do you think you've smoothed everything off and sealed the source code does someone get a bright idea of making the system worth with another area of your business.
      Strange. That's what most ERP/CRM vendors call a success.

      If it isn't being adopted by new users then it's being rejected and you're not helping the business.

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Friday May 11, 2007 @07:09PM (#19092127)
    Check out TinyERP. To me it looks like the most promissing ERP OSS solution using the most recent of the feasable technologies. IIRC it's also integrated with the Joomla CMS and VirtueMart, Joomlas prime 3rd party shop extension.

    It's either that with maybe even more solutions added to the mix or you roll your own entirely out of one package. Check out the Zope Application Server (www.zope.org) for that and look the various PHP, Python, Whatnot webframeworks such as django, cakephp, symfony, turbogears, etc.

    The last SMB ERP/CRM/Bllling system I built was written as a large extension to a small commercial PHP CMS. If you look into the processes thouroughly and do a clean design it's not that difficult to model a custom ERP around your specific business case. Especially with the possibilities of the modern OSS languages and frameworks it isn't. We're currently building various plattforms and business webapps on top of PHP5 and MySQL5 and with the mostly OSS tools where using (Eclipse, MySQL Desktop Apps, Navicat, Winmerge, Nusphere) and a proper pipeline setup (SVN, local, staging & live systems) I get the growing feeling that practically anything is possible. Don't dissmis the possibilty of building your own system entirely.
    Planning and carefull testing of business applications is crucial, but they are not a mistery reserved for SAP.
  • Have you looked at Compiere?
  • Whatever product you choose, expensive proprietary, or expensive open source with consultants and/or your time...you will have to customize it for your business. Nothing will conform to your implementation precisely. Unless you want to change your business to fit the software.

    Be prepared.
    • Unless you want to change your business to fit the software.
      People say that as if it's like cutting an arm off or having a sex change.
      • by obarel ( 670863 )
        "I'm sorry, we don't provide that service any more, because there is no suitable category in our invoicing software."

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