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Sometimes you just need to be able to tweak everything to work just the way you want it to. While most apps let you customize some settings, there’s almost no way you can deeply change the way that product works. Your best bet is just to find another app that works better for your needs, or perhaps code your own.
Except that’s not a very good solution at all. A better idea would be to use a product you can customize, like an open source app you can host on your own servers, add extensions that work the way you want, and change the core code that makes the app tick if you really want. That’s exactly how OpenERP—now known as Odoo—works.
Imagine WordPress crossed with Podio, and you’ll get somewhat of an idea of how Odoo works. It’s a Python based web app that you can download and run on your own computer or server, or you can use a hosted version of Odoo for $15/app/user each month (or $13/app/user/month if you pay annually), with extra fees for data import and custom design. You’ll get the core Odoo app that ties everything together, with an interface that’s somewhat reminiscent of the basic webmail apps you often get with standard hosting accounts. It lists the apps you’ve enabled along the top, with navigation links on the left sidebar for the app or view you’re currently using.
And, from the settings pane, you can enable any of the over 30 apps available. There’s tools for CRM, invoicing, project management, instant messaging, sales, employee directories, and more. Then, there’s hundreds of integrations that let you tie OpenERP to your bank, suppliers and more, or add extra features to the existing apps.
Each of the apps have their own unique features, but they’re all tied together with a consistent interface and reporting. You’ll add new info—whether it’s projects, tasks, contacts, products, or anything else—in a single page view that prominently lists the name of the item, followed by data fields that are relevant for that entry which will be pre-populated by other info you’ve saved. Your CRM data will show up in your projects, and messages from any app will show up in your main dashboard.
You’ll also find many unique ways to view your data in Odoo. You’ll find standard list, form, and calendar views in many of the apps, along with more specialized views like Kanban. The Kanban interface, similar to the one popularized in Trello, gives you an easy way to graphically organize your projects, move your CRM opportunities and leads through their process, and more. There’s also the popular Gantt view in the calendar and project management apps, to help you easily see where your team’s time is going at a glance.
Thanks to the sheer number of things Odoo can do, it can be a bit confusing to start using it at first, whether you’re using the hosted version or running it on your own. But, once you get everything added for your team, it all starts to come together. Odoo is an especially great option for managing your CRM, projects, and more if you’d like to host your team’s internal apps yourself, or if you’ve wanted an app that can let you do everything under one roof.