In 2005, Odoo launched as TinyERP, and founder Fabien Pinckaers had big ambitions for the small company.
“My dream was to lead the enterprise management market with a fully open-source software,” he wrote in 2014. “To fuel my motivation, I had to pick someone to fight against.”
For Pinckaers, that someone was the enterprise software giants that had dominated the ERP market, bullying smaller companies out of the space or absorbing them outright. However, Pinckaers soon realized that he couldn’t change the world with a “tiny” company. TinyERP became OpenERP, which eventually became Odoo.
The name Odoo represents much more than a simple ERP. It’s a suite of business applications that provide users with unprecedented flexibility; users can choose to use a single business app, or the entire business suite, which is constantly growing and adding new features. As a result, many American companies are starting to switch to Odoo, and it’s easy to see why they’re so interested.
To explain why Odoo is gaining ground in the United States, however, we need to look at how Odoo grew in Europe.
Odoo’s Growth in Europe
When Odoo was still known as OpenERP, it drew attention for its open-source approach to business software. It also features a modern design, which appealed greatly to European businesses looking for a single ERP solution.
In 2013, OpenERP was named the Fastest Growing Belgian Company by the Deloitte Technology Fast50 Benelux thanks to an incredible growth of 1,549% in only 5 years. The same year, the company won the Bossie Award for Best Open Source Application and the L’Entreprise Prometteuse (Most Promising Company) award from Ernst & Young. In short, Odoo was becoming a major player — in a market that didn’t allow new major players to simply spring up.
Odoo Begins to Gain Ground in the United States
While we don’t have the exact number of American companies that use Odoo as their primary ERP, we know that the software suite has more than 5,000 active installs. For a relatively new ERP, that’s unprecedented. It’s easy to see why.
American companies choose Odoo for various reasons, but we frequently hear clients reference these features:
- Extreme Flexibility Compared to Oracle, SAP, or Microsoft Dynamics
- A Modular Software Suite That Allows for Growth
- A Clean, Intuitive, and Modern Interface
- The Substantial Benefits of True Open Source Software
Odoo fits with today’s modern approach to software development. Third-party developers are able to quickly build custom Odoo modules (or apps) and offer them to businesses at low costs — sometimes for free. This approach is advantageous compared to SAP or an Oracle ERP solution, as it allows companies that can’t afford an enterprise-level ERP to run from one application. They can enjoy the same productivity benefits as the major players.
That’s not to say that there aren’t large businesses using Odoo (Toyota and Jack in the Box are notable examples), but the majority of current users are mid-level businesses. That’s a great sign for Odoo.
Currently, the Odoods team receives about a call per week from companies using Odoo within the United States. These businesses need help or advice with their Odoo installations, which should come as no surprise; there are more than two million active users on Odoo globally.
We believe that America is starting to accept open source software solutions, and we’ll likely see the same rapid growth within the United States that we saw in Europe. For Odoo teams, the challenge will be adapting to this growth while providing local, U.S.-based support. The product is there, and it’s not going away anytime soon.