If you've been struggling to find a global-based ERP system to fit your business, a customised ERP solution may be the only way to go. Custom built or customised ERP software is capable of meeting business needs that off-the-shelf software is unable to. Inevitably allowing you to incorporate features unique to your business and how it operates rather than trying to fit the scope of an out-of-the-box solution.
Odoo is a powerful business management solution, designed to facilitate every business process in a single app. You name it, Odoo aims to solve it.
What makes Odoo different and suitable for businesses from such a wide scope of industries across the globe is the ease in which the software can be customised. Odoo's framework is designed for building business processes, making it so much more than an ERP or CRM.
Every business has their own way of doing things that no software suite can give them out-of-the-box. Often times it is also these unique processes that make up a businesses competitive advantage. The value in Odoo is in the little tools that make a big difference to one company.
Odoo customisation allows for customised processes to be built which would be next to impossible to build on any other platform.
There are two sides to Odoo customisation to consider:
1. Odoo Development and Customisation:
Software developers have access to Odoo's open source code. This allows the software to be further developed and customised, to add or alter functionality to suit the most complex and unique requirements.
2. Odoo Studio
Odoo studio is a feature which provides a codeless, drag and drop user interface to allow tweaks and custom app development with zero coding experience. Let’s say, as a user of Odoo you wish to make changes as small as editing a field or view within your system. This is entirely possible through Odoo studio, without the requirement (and spend) on programmers or developers.
Odoo ERP Customisation
The reason Odoo customises so well is two fold.
Firstly, Odoo is open source. Every line of code for Odoo Community is available online, free of charge for any developer who wishes to access it. This allows developers worldwide to see why and how Odoo does what it does with nothing hidden from view. Notice however, we called this Odoo Community. This is the free (more basic version) of Odoo which is great to download and get familiar with to gain a good sense of how Odoo works. Odoo Partners however, get this same open source luxury with Odoo Enterprise (the souped-up, proprietary version). So even though it is proprietary software, as an Odoo Partner we can play around with and dissect every line of code that we wish. Whatever it takes to deliver dependable functionality to meet your business goals.
Secondly, Odoo's modular design means that each module is built in the same way that customisations are. One module is built in the exact same way as any other Odoo module. This is important because it means freedom in module customisations. Most ERP platforms are built in a way that treats their entire system as the priority and any customisations are treated as a second priority. Netsuite for example, will allow for customisations to be built using their proprietary language called 'Suite Script' which controls what programmers are allowed to customise. This generally means that you may be able to add functionality but you may not remove functionality because they are considered to be the priority. Odoo customisation therefore means nothing is impossible.
Odoo ERP development and customisation by an Odoo Partner therefore means you can build and implement a customised ERP solution that fits the unique needs of a business in a way that does not currently exist. Customising Odoo ERP takes a sound understanding of the technical and functional environment of the entire Odoo ERP system. This takes considerable resource to achieve, ensuring full product knowledge before Odoo custom development can be offered as a service.
The distinction between Odoo Community and Odoo Enterprise is often not made, leading to troublesome reviews. More often than not, where there are bad reviews or experiences that involve the customisation of Odoo, it is the result of customisations built within the free and more basic, Odoo Community.
Customising Odoo ERP has it’s pro’s and con’s and it is important to be fully informed to make the right decision for your organisation.
What is customisation in Odoo ERP?
Odoo customisation refers to the ability to add, remove, or extend the functionality of Odoo's ERP software. Because Odoo is built on an open source platform, developers and programmers all over the world have access to the source code of Odoo. This means that they can modify the code to suit the specific needs of an organisation.
There are many different ways in which customisation can be carried out in Odoo ERP. For example, developers can create new modules that add new functionality to Odoo, or they can modify existing modules to change their behaviour.
Odoo customisation provides you with the exact functionality that your business requires. Rather than choosing a software solution and moulding your business processes and workflows to fit, you have the ability to eliminate unnecessary features or add features by customising the source code to suit your needs.
This is an important benefit for many organisations and often the key driver in customers choosing Odoo as their ERP solution. The freedom to tailor and add functionality to meet the precise needs of the business today, with the added security of knowing that as the business grows and presented with new challenges, changes can be made to the system to suit evolving needs.
Odoo customisations will not always be necessary. In fact, Odoo’s suite of ERP modules suit many businesses as a straight out-of-the-box solution. That’s why it is important to work with an experienced Odoo Partner, who understands the complete functionality of each Odoo module, thereby having the discipline to identify when a customisation is (or is not) required.
If you needed further proof of Odoo’s adaptability to the business needs of any organisation from any industry, popularity is soaring worldwide. Boasting over 7 million users, 3 million of which joined in little over a year! That is growth!
But what does it mean to customise in Odoo? What types of code modification are we talking about here?
The answer depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your customisation. If you're looking to add a new feature to the software, then you’ll be coding at the API level – this refers to the modules, classes, and functions that are built into the Odoo web application. If, however, your aim is to modify how the default features of Odoo work, then you’ll be working at the module level – this refers to the classes and functions that are located within the code of the web application’s default modules.
Anyone can access the code at the API level; this is what makes it easy for programmers to write new software that interfaces with Odoo, as well as for end users to access and utilise the data stored in Odoo. However, in order to make customised changes to the look and functionality of Odoo, programmers need to have access to the code at the module level. This is where the core functionality of Odoo is located. The module level includes classes and functions that interact with the data stored in the database. Programming at this level enables developers to:
- Change how data is displayed (e.g. present customers’ addresses in a map)
- Change how data is stored (e.g. only store partial customer details on the front end if users don’t need to see all of it)
- Alter how functions work (e.g. enable payroll taxes for new types of employees)
Examples of Odoo ERP customisation:
We have literally hundreds of examples of how customising Odoo has improved our client businesses. ***This list is currently being updated with our latest examples of Odoo ERP customisations in NZ.***
GoSweetSpot Odoo integration: A great example of a localised solution to enable our client to handle shipping much better and faster. We integrated our client system with the third party shipping app GoSweetSpot. This customisation enables them to automatically populate the shipping app with order information and print shipping labels without any manual interference.
Is it a good idea to customise Odoo?
There are blogs and reviews out there indicating that Odoo ERP customisation is difficult, costly and should be avoided. This is not true! We would suggest that those implementing such customisations don’t have the expertise or discipline to customise software in a way that mitigates risk for future upgrades.
Python is the programming language used to customise Odoo. A versatile programming language recommended for both beginners and advanced developers as it is easy to learn and has clean syntax. Python is widely loved by software engineers, developers and data scientists alike for that reason.
Just as this can be considered an advantage, equally so, this can present a problem. Any customisations need to be upgraded for each new version of Odoo which requires in-depth knowledge of Odoo as a software solution to understand the implications of the upgrade process. As a Gold Odoo Partner, we commit to a support contract and process that focuses on the minimisation of risk for customers, ensuring customisations will always be supported without compromising functionality.
While Odoo is completely open-source – core Odoo code should never be altered. This is a discipline our experts use to minimise any risk of issues arising with upgrades.
The Odoo ERP development model is very powerful and allows multiple customisations to be loaded on top of the standard system. This means that when it comes time to upgrade your Odoo system, the individual customization can be managed appropriately.
Odoo has been built for customization from the ground up. A modern ERP software designed to be tailored to the needs of your business, no matter how unique or complex. However, you wouldn’t take a Mercedes to a back yard mechanic would you? You would take it to a qualified Mercedes mechanic who knows the workings of the Mercedes engine and computer inside and out. Well, the same applies here. An experienced Odoo Partner will build customisations in a way that mitigates risk and allows for future upgrades to be made with ease and not cause compounding costs with each upgrade in order to keep the customisations functioning.
Will customising Odoo make it less secure?
No. Customising Odoo will not affect the security of your system. Due to the open source nature of Odoo, it is actually secure by design. Odoo’s open source system is under constant scrutiny by users, ensuring continual improvements on bugs and security.
Benefits of Odoo ERP customisation:
Odoo Customisation is an important benefit for many organisations and often the key driver in customers choosing Odoo as their ERP solution. The freedom to customise and implement unique business workflows is crucial for some organisation to meet their business goals.
1. Increase the lifespan of your ERP software
An ERP is the backbone of your business. Each module a building block, providing vital features and functionality whilst simplifying business processes. Customised ERP solutions provide added security in the knowledge that the software can be adapted to the evolving needs of you business.
2. Extension of processes
The needs of one organisation will differ to another, even within the same industry. So while an off-the-shelf solution may fit one, there may be particular processes and business forms that need to be customised to be more effective for another. Rather than compromise or drastically change existing business processes, extending the functionality of certain processes within the software may be the answer.
3. Leverage your unique identity
What is unique about your business is what gives it that competitive edge. Protect this by taking a business first approach to selecting your ERP software rather than a technology first approach. Too often ERP implementations fail because key decision makers have identified a software solution they desire rather than relying on the business plan to specify the requirement of the software. Knowing up front what you need your ERP system to achieve will ensure implementation success by ensuring the solution molds to your company. For many, customisations will be involved.
Just as business needs change, so does the business landscape. Covid has seen a huge impact on businesses, some industries far more than others. The ability to adapt is crucial.
The ability to customise means there is no issue left unresolved due to software limitations. You really can have it all.
If you've been considering Odoo as an ERP solution for your business we would love to chat. Our experienced team of consultants and Odoo fanatic developers will be able to work with you to ensure you receive the exact functionality your business requires when or if an Odoo implementation is the best solution for you. Contact us today.