opentaps.com and the Next Generation of opentaps

When we started opentaps nine years ago, our goal was to create great business software from open source.  And have we ever!  Most people wouldn’t have believed that enterprise-class open source ERP and CRM was possible, but we did it — thanks to Linux, Apache, MySQL, PostgreSQL, OFBiz, JasperReports, and many others open source projects.

The world, meanwhile, has moved forward too.  It’s no secret that the future of software is mobile, social, and big data, and open source software is moving in those directions as well.

What does this mean for real businesses?

Imagine being able to capture all your interactions with customers as they happen: by email, on twitter/Facebook/pinterest, via text messages, or by phone.  Anywhere.  Any time.  Any how.

Then imagine being able to use that information to make your customers happier — and sell more.

That’s what we think a whole new generation of open source software could do for you.  And we’ve started by creating a whole new opentaps to do it.  Because it is built with a whole new different set of open source technologies and a different cloud-open source business model, we’ve created a new site at opentaps.com for this new product.  Meanwhile, the existing open source ERP and CRM lives on at opentaps.org and will continue to evolve.

We hope you’ll join for the next phase of our journey — the best is yet to come.

opentaps CRM2: A New Way To Do It

If you’ve ever thought, “There’s got to be a better way,” take a look at opentaps CRM2.

The new opentaps CRM2 takes a completely different approach to opentaps 1.x or any other major CRM system out there.  Instead of having all these screens and forms for you to come and enter data, we’re bringing opentaps CRM to you:  We’re automatically capturing the discussions, emails, and tasks that are the back bone of your relationships with your customers, bringing them into the cloud, and helping you manage them there.

Oh, also: We’re making it as easy as possible for you.  There’s no big software package to download or install.  No database to set up and maintain.  No code base to merge and upgrade.  You don’t even have to ask your users to stop using their favorite email program.  You just sign up for an account, plug a few simple widgets into your existing opentaps instance, and synch up your users and emails.

Then just sit back and relax.  Everybody just keeps working as before.   But from your web interface, you’ll see all the emails and discussions back and forth between your company, your customers, and your vendors:

opentaps CRM2 Dashboard

opentaps CRM2 will even help you find the emails related to your orders, invoices, and payments automatically (and it would be very easy to get it to do the same for quotes, production runs, etc. — whatever your company works around):

CRM2 Discussion Thread

Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?  Our beta users have thought so for about a year now.  Why don’t you give it a try and let us know how it goes?

Who’s the Real Social Network: Email, Text, Facebook, or Twitter?

Ever wonder how people really connect these days?  Here are the numbers:

Daily volume of email, facebook likes, text/sms, tweets

Daily volume of email, facebook likes, text/sms, tweets

  • Emails: 182.9 billion per day
  • Text: 6 billion (Note: this is declining.)
  • Facebook: 4.75 billion Likes
  • Twitter: 0.5 billion

Even with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, old-fashioned email is still how most of us connect online most of the time.

Sources: radicati (emails), Expandable Ramblings/Facebook (Facebook), Forrester (text/SMS), Twitter (tweets).

 

The Opportunity in Business Software, By The Numbers

How well is software meeting the needs of today’s businesses?  Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Number of Businesses using Salesforce, Quickbooks vs. total US Businesses

Amazing, isn’t it?

As great as Salesforce.com and Quickbooks are, there is a big and unmet need for business software still.

Looking for Node.JS/Javascript/MongoDB Developers

We’re looking for developers who’d like to work with on server-side Node.JS, client-side Javascript/CSS/HTML5, and MongoDB database back end applications.

If this sounds like as much fun to you as it does to us, please contact us right away!  We’re really flexible and can accommodate part-time or full-time, remote or on-site.

Big Data, Manufacturing, and an Invisible Future for Software

There’s an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal about Big Data in Manufacturing.  Manufacturers are now leveraging sensors and scanners throughout the factory floor to collect data about everything from screw turns to temperature and humidity in an effort to improve quality.  My favorite part is actually this line:

In the past, some of that data had to be typed in, creating the risk of errors.

This is the future of software: invisibility.  The days of us sitting in front of a computer typing in data are numbered.  With the cost of data collection, storage, and analysis all plummeting, the software of the future will gather data seamlessly from your activities.  You will no longer have to tell your software what to do — it knows.  You will no longer have to put in strict relationships between data (this email is for this order) — it can figure it out.

One day, a six-year-old will ask you “Grandpa, did you really have to sit at a computer to order things online?”  What can you say?  Maybe “Yeah, but my grandpa had to shovel coal in the snow, so it wasn’t so bad.”

Looking for Java/OSGI, Javascript/CSS/HTML5, and MongoDb Developers

We’re looking for developers who’d like to work with on server-side OSGi Java, client-side Javascript/CSS/HTML5, and MongoDB database back end applications.  (See opentaps 2 framework.)

If this sounds like as much fun to you as it does to us, please contact us right away!  We’re really flexible and can accommodate part-time or full-time, remote or on-site.

Beware of the Noise in our Age of Big Data

Think that Big Data will solve the world’s problems?  Read The Signal and The Noise first.  This interesting books talks in detail about forecasting, including the good (baseball and weather), the bad (econonmics, politics, and earthquakes), and the very difficult (long-term climate change, terrorism.)  In the end there is a warning to all of us: with the explosion of data has come an explosion of noise, of spurious correlations which are not grounded in sound theories.  Think twice before you believe something because of “The Data.”

Has Google Android’s Open Source Business Model Failed?

Yesterday’s WSJ.com video “Tablet Wars: How Are People Using Tablets?” had a shocking statistic: 98% of the web traffic from tablets comes from Apple’s iPad.  Further, most of mobile commerce is from Apple’s iPhone:

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Mail Merge in Google Apps, Javascript, and Open Source

I followed this tutorial on how to do mail merge in Google Apps, and it taught me a lot about Javascript and the future for open source applications.

Doing mail merge in Google Apps was a lot of fun!  With a little copy and paste and about 15 minutes, I had was sending emails attached with customized letters as PDF’s.  Could programming always be this easy?

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