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opentaps Open Source ERP + CRM Quarterly Update

Easier to Use and Better Looking

Try opentaps in the Amazon Cloud

opentaps is now available on Amazon Elastic Computing Cloud (EC2).  Watch the “opentaps on Amazon EC2″ video to find out how easy it  can be to set up a pre-installed demo of opentaps in minutes.

Using opentaps with Magento eCommerce

For those of you who would like to use opentaps with the award-winning Magento eCommerce system, the opentaps-Magento integration is now ready for testing.  The Apache OFBiz eCommerce application is still included out of the box with opentaps, and we will be looking at integrating with other shopping cart systems such as Spree, Zencart, and osCommerce as well.

A New Look for opentaps.org

Thanks to the help of Integrating Web, opentaps.org will also soon have a fresh new look.  Here’s an example of what it’ll look like:

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opentaps Version 1.4 is Coming!

opentaps 1.4 Release Candidate is now available for download, and opentaps Version 1.4 will be released shortly.

What About the Future?

We’ve already started thinking about opentaps 2.0, which will have a more modular architecture to allow add-on modules written in any framework or language to be loaded and used with opentaps.  We’re also looking at how to leverage the domain driven architecture and Google Web Toolkit to create a new kind of ERP application.  Please give us your feedback and help us build the next generation of enterprise software.

Social Media, Networking, and Networks

Eric Qualman‘s talk in Atlanta earlier this month got me thinking some more.  I started to play with words: “social media,” “social network,” “networking”…what did it all mean?  Interestingly enough, after a while the words themselves revealed a pattern.  Here are my notes on hotel stationery which I’d like to share with you.

Let me show you with an all-too-LA example:

tv-conent-media-networks-pl

In the age of television,

  • media was how content was transmitted: cable, satellite
  • content was the shows
  • networks like ABC, NBC, HBO, and ESPN bundled the content and broadcast them over media to viewers, who used
  • platforms to view the content.  The most common platform was the TV, and then later VHS (remember those?), DVD’s, TiVO, and now Hulu showed up.
  • And networking was the act of gathering up content for distribution.  Power breakfasts at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, next to the old CAA building.

So what does it look like today in the social media world?

social-conent-media-network

Today, we have:

  • Media Twitter , Blogger, WordPress, and Facebook
  • Content are all the blogs, tweets, videos out there
  • Platforms are the PC’s, iPhone’s, Blackberrys, and tablets we’re using to play the content
  • And now: networks are still the aggregators of the content.  Google does it with search.  Facebook does it with the friends network.  But anyone can do it in this day and age — even you.  Just start gathering up the content I’ll like and broadcast it on your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter, and I’ll join your network.
  • networking with all the bloggers, twitterers, and movie makers (or open source projects) out there.

What Does It All Mean?

We all want to make a big splash by coming up with the next Facebook or iPhone.  But if you look at the history of TV, you’d realize that most of the money was made by the content producer (like Aaron Spelling) or networks (think Ted Turner), not by the providers of media (Adelphia?) or makers of platforms (Zenith.)

I think the same will be true of the new social media world.  Ten years from now, we’ll be glad to have our iPhones and tablets and use Facebook and Twitter, but what makes our lives better day in and day out–and what we will pay for day in and day out–will be great content producers and the networks, big and small, which gather them for us.

What Does This Have to do with Open Source?

Actually, everything.  But let me save that for a future post.

opentaps 1.4 Release Candidate Available

We have just  made the release candidate for opentaps Open Source ERP + CRM Version 1.4 available, and you can download opentaps 1.4RC1 from SourceForge.  We will also be making an opentaps Amazon EC2 image for this release candidate available shortly.

This release candidate is the final step before the official release of opentaps 1.4, which is expected in the next few weeks, and there should be only limited changes to opentaps 1.4 before its release.  If you have questions or comments about this release, please join us at the opentaps forum on SourceForge.

Social Media and Networking for Small Businesses

I listened to a very good talk last weekend by Eric Qualman, author of Socialnomics, about social media and social networks. Eric had a lot of  good examples about how companies such as JetBlue, McDonald’s, and Burger King are taking advantage of social media to promote their brands and their products.

But what about small businesses? What if you are a startup or a neighborhood business, and you don’t have the millions of potential fans that a JetBlue or McDonald’s would have — not yet anyway?

This is actually a situation we’ve faced ourselves, starting opentaps Open Source ERP + CRM on a shoestring. And looking back, we’ve only been able to do it because we were able to tap into an online social network called “open source,” which is an online collaborative community of software developers that predates Twitter, Facebook, Google — even the Internet itself.

What we’ve learned don’t contradict what Eric and other people have said about social marketing, but there are a few twists I would like to point out:

Join a Bigger Network

When you are small, your network is also small, so you try becoming a prominent part of a larger network, instead of just promoting in your own network. For us, this meant making ourselves known in the larger open source community of software developers and users looking for open source software by releasing our software and our ideas to them.  Fortunately, people liked them.

Network (verb) through the Networks (noun)

Use social networks as an opportunity to network with other people in compatible fields.  For example, we’ve benefitted from associating with other open source software projects, such as Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Funambol, Pentaho, JasperReports, etc.

Be Memorable

Most importantly, be memorable. Be different. Believe it or not, the small business has the advantage here. People are always looking for interesting new things to talk about.  If you are a small business with a memorable product or service, the word will spread a lot faster now than ever before.
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New Look for opentaps

Here’s a new look for opentaps Open Source ERP + CRM:

opentaps-new-look2

Tell us if you like it!