Openbravo executives open up on the ERP solution

GoodGearGuide gets behind the scenes of this successful business, with some of its key executives. They discuss the project, where it’s headed and what makes it so popular with developers, partners and end users.

GGG: What scripting languages do you use in development?

PAOLO JUVARA: Openbravo does not directly use any scripting language. Our user interface implements AJAX using the DOJO library. We work closely with the DOJO project and occasionally we make changes to the DOJO JavaScript code, but, at the end, our product embeds a standard version of DOJO.

GGG: Approximately how many contributors do you have?

JORDI MAS: For Openbravo a contributor is someone that helps add value to the product. It ranges from people contributing to the core product to people helping in the forums to answer questions.

Nowadays we have around 200 contributors. That includes 34 localization Openbravo projects, people helping to translate and create new documentation, people giving us bug fixes and people helping in our forums.

GGG: Approximately how much time do you (each) spend a week on Openbravo?

JOSEP MITJÀ: It depends on the milestones that we have for the week. It makes no sense to specify a fixed number of hours, its better to work depending on the objectives.

GGG: What do Openbravo's staff consist of?

JOSEP MITJÀ: Openbravo is focused on building a strong team covering key business areas. We have an Engineering and product development team that are in charge of product development and innovation to maintain the best Open Source ERP. This team is considered paramount for the evolution of Openbravo.

There is an operations team. They are in charge of developing an international network of partners and delivery of services based on the ERP solution to partners and indirectly to end-clients. This team is critical to Openbravo's revenue model.

There is also a consulting team. This is projected to grow as business evolves, but our aim is to develop an elite team of consultants to support partners in achieving successful implementations (similar to SAP's support for its integrators).

GGG: Why did you build your business around an open source model?

JOSEP MITJÀ: Open Source software is developed through a collaborative process that encourages unrestricted access to source code, enabling concurrent and rapid production of new technologies and ideas. The Open Source methodology allows programs to be distributed and used without the cost of traditional licenses, allowing them to be freely adapted and customized to fit diverse markets and applications. Through this model, programmers around the world can easily contribute toward a mutual benefit, significantly lowering costs and bringing products and updates to market more quickly. Companies don't make money with the product itself, but with the best-in-class services geared towards helping partners and end-clients at each stage of their business cycle.

GGG: What do you most need help with from contributors?

JORDI MAS: Helping others to install and implement Openbravo, creating and improving documentation, eporting bugs and proposing fixes. We also need help in localizing the product, proposing new ideas and functionalities and developing extensions or industry verticals.

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