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: How many partners does Openbravo have and where are they located in the world?

JOSEP MITJA: Because our source code is hosted on SourceForge, we have operated on an international basis from the very beginning, with the majority of our customers choosing to download Openbravo. We count on a number of key international partnerships, and are in advanced talks with further potential partners around the globe. Our partner community is growing rapidly, with more than 50 partners currently on board which commercialize, implement and support Openbravo ERP in more than 30 countries.

GGG: What type of partner is Openbravo looking for?

JOSEP MITJA: Openbravo is at this stage focusing its efforts on looking for qualified system integrators and consulting firms that are willing to offer and implement Openbravo to end-clients in their respective countries.

GGG: What role do partners play and how many partners does Openbravo hope to gain eventually?

JOSEP MITJA: Despite the fact that Openbravo is relatively easy to implement when compared to many of the established proprietary solutions, an ERP implementation typically requires the support of qualified IT consultants (target clients of Openbravo). For this purpose Openbravo is distributed to end users through its global network of partners. Openbravo partners manage customer relations and provide support and service to Openbravo users. Openbravo's best-in-class Partner Program assures high quality in services delivered by Openbravo to its partners and likewise, the quality of services provided by partners to their respective end clients.

Openbravo launched its Partner Program in April 2007 at CeBIT in Hannover and currently counts with a network of 40 partners (mid year 2007) in 20 countries, and targets to have more than 100 partners by the end 2007.

GGG: Interoperability issues are one of the disadvantages that people site when they implement ERP systems. How does Openbravo work to counter this?

PAOLO JUVARA: Most of Openbravo's customers are small and medium businesses who do not have a large portfolio of existing enterprise applications. Because of that, interoperability is less of an issue with our user base than with larger enterprises.

That said, we want our users to grow and we want to enable them to grow with Openbravo. Eventually we envision our users to operate in a rich environment which is a composite of several open source solutions, ranging from ERP, to CRM, to content management, to real time collaboration tools and also including infrastructure to monitor the performance of the IT environment. That is why Openbravo is one of the founders of the Open Solutions Alliance.

GGG: Can you elaborate on the Open Solutions Alliance, what it does and how it will help your business?

JOSEP MITJA: In addition to Openbravo being a founding member of the OSA, I am the Board Director. The Open Solutions Alliance (OSA) is the nonprofit, vendor-neutral consortium dedicated to delivering open source suites for business. Founded in 2007, it is supported by leading open source companies dedicated to expanding the market for end-to-end open source software solutions. Through cooperative action and advocacy, the OSA will help reduce barriers to adoption, facilitate interoperability and raise the awareness of the benefits of open source software in business.

PAOLO JUVARA: The Open Solutions Alliance is blazing the trail in open source interoperability and is developing prototypes and documenting best practices for interoperability and integration.

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