Cost Advantages of SAAS
"[Mango] would handle the hardware, and we didnt need to worry about the computer stuff," Shah said. But the main selling point was cost, he said. He didnt have to pay a huge fixed cost upfront, and the quarterly fee he pays is based on sales.And as for results, he said he has a much more accurate picture of inventory, orders and financials. Previously, using three systems simultaneously, Shah said he could provide his banks only with an aggregated average of Impexs financials. Shah said the few glitches hes had with ChannelMakerin some instances, inventory wasnt recorded properly, for examplehave been fixed promptly, a testament, he said, to a solid partnership between Compiere and Mango. As for Janke of Compiere, he has extensive experience in ERP, having developed his first such system in 1984. Hicks said it was a combination of Jankes experience, his commitment to open source, his partnership philosophy and the capabilities of Compieres ERP system that persuaded him to join forces with Janke. Hicks has plenty of company; as of February, Compiere had signed up more than 60 channel partners in more than 20 countries. As a provider of an out-of-the-box ERP/CRM system based on open source, Janke said that potential partners can do extensive pilots of the product before they opt to use it. Indeed, he said, Hicks experience of spending a year evaluating the product before deciding to go with it is not unusual. "Many people look at Compiere for a fairly long time," Janke said. Not only do they weigh the pros and cons of the product from a technical perspective, but they also have to evaluate whether they can effectively market the product to their customers. As Hicks did, anyone interested in becoming a Compiere partner can attend one of the companys training events that are held four times a year. For Hicks, Compiere is an ideal partner because "they have mutual skin in the game." Theres a shared-risk, shared-reward philosophy between the companies, he added. "Im spending my development money to enhance a product and train people in support," Hicks said. "Compiere is supporting us, letting us add extensions and giving the code away. They work with us through the sales cycle as we try to close a sale." For Impexs Shah, his experience with both Compiere and Mango has been extremely positive, he said. "Now with consolidated functionality, we accurately record the cost of every unit of our material," Shah said. As the company anticipates double-digit growth in the future, he said he will continue to use ChannelMaker. "Its really good software, Shah said, "and the people [at Compiere and Mango] are hardworking and service-oriented." One major area that Janke said he is focusing on is marketing. To date, he said, Compiere has done a good job communicating its technical prowess to partners. Janke said hell now concentrate on translating Compieres technical experience into business benefits that corporate customers will be able to understand. Megan Santosus is a freelance writer based in Natick, Mass. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
Although Shah said he was initially concerned with security issues posed by open source, those worries have been assuaged.