Tell us a little bit about yourself first?
I am one of the developers of ERPNext. I am a generalist. These days, I am primarily responsible for the cloud infrastructure of ERPNext.com. A typical work day involves a few hours of focused coding, debugging issues, answering a lot of emails, replying unanswered threads on our forums and discussing various ideas that pop-up within the team.
What do you think about using ERP tools in enterprise from technical perspective?
Proprietary ERPs are expensive, not only because of the license costs associated with it, but also because of the costs involved in fixing issues. Even if a company has a technical team, all they can do is request the ERP company to fix the issue for them. Open source is not only about managing costs, but also about technological freedom. A technical team can find the root cause of the issue by looking at the code, fix it themselves and share the fix with the community!
What are the problems that faced you in developing this tool?
As years passed, our understanding of Quality evolved. Consequently, we put in a lot of effort to get rid of our bad decisions and technical debt. However, our biggest problem has always been hiring. The best developers are quickly picked up by the MNCs, but recently we have been lucky enough to pick up some of the talented misfits in our country.
Tell us the strengths and weaknesses of ERPNext modules?
ERPNext was developed with a small or mid-size company in mind. Hence, it is built with the concept of open information. Permissions can be used to close this information from certain users. This can be considered both a strength and a weakness. Also, large enterprises having complex scenarios might have to customize existing features using extensions, as they might not be available out of the box.
- Ease of use
- Open Source
- Easy to customise
- Incomplete translations
- Limited domains
Does the ERPNext require a specific security program?
ERPNext runs on Unix-like operating systems. They are inherently considered more secure than Windows. When ERPNext is installed in production mode, it sets up a firewall, SELinux and a unprivileged user to run the python code. It is easy to setup SSL certificates to enable https for your ERPNext site. You can also setup daily backups to Dropbox.
Do you provide maintenance for ERPNext partners?
We provide help to ERPNext partners via our community forums.
If there is an error in ERPNext, how can you fix it with large scale? Do you have periodic software upgrades and updates?
We usually release fixes to show-stopping issues within a week, sometimes on the same day. There’s at least 1 major release per year. We have a deployment system for our servers that makes it easier to deploy updates to thousands of ERPNext sites with negligible downtime.
How do you deal with changes that a customer wants in ERPNext?
First, we ask them to create an issue on Github. If the feature is in popular demand or if it improves the usability, we take it up as soon as we can. Otherwise, we leave it open. Sometimes, customers get it done by paying one of the developers in the community.
Why don’t you provide online chat to serve customers and new users immediately?
We have designed ERPNext for self implementation. Hence, there is no need for any immediate help. On chat, everything takes ‘urgent’ priority and you only get a few seconds to reply. Emails give us the time to understand the problem and craft helpful replies. We reply to emails within minutes during our work hours. It has worked for us all these years and our customers are very happy with our support.
As a developer, what is the future plan to improve ERPNext?
We want to keep improving the Design and User Experience of ERPNext. We will also be focusing on an improved Point of Sale, integrations with other software and tiny improvements that can make a big difference. Recently, we implemented a chat bot that replies to a set of predefined questions. That’s a direction which no other ERP has taken till now.