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Starting a new company we will try to save where possible. Linux just might prove to be free as in speach and beer for our needs. What is importent to ...
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  1. #1
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    Possible to completly run our business on Linux?


    Starting a new company we will try to save where possible. Linux just might prove to be free as in speach and beer for our needs. What is importent to keep in mind going the linux route?

    We will need a CRM and some sort of acounting solution. We talked just breifly about going for a full blown ERP system from day one but that might just be shooting bird with canon?

    Our situation and needs:
    From the start we will be 4 owners working each day selling our products. The main tool will be cold-calling one pre-selected customers on our daily call list. For the first 18-24 months we will as long as possible avoid hiring staff to get the ecconomic backbone in place for the company. There will be no work producing/making the product as that process is automated. Our focus is selling, registering each sale, sending invoices to the customers and making sure our customers pays the bill afterward. What I hope for is a server side solution where we can rent serverspace and implement our data-needs in a managed or semi-managed hosting solution.

    What problems needs solutions?

    1: We have a list made up by 35-40K potential customers. How can we manage that prospect list in a way that we avoid calling the same customer/selling the same customer twice in a year? I picture a solution where you can see the history of what contact have been made from our company to each prospect. Which of our personel have been in contact with that company and what was the matter of contact?

    2: As most newcomers we need to save money and will do the basic acounting and invocing, what system will let us do that for free?

    3: Focusing on primary tasks SELLING we hope to avoid repetative tasks like punching the same data over and over in different systems with one excel file here and and database over there. Not to mention avoiding this will greatly reduce human errors. What solution might we investigate that allow us to implement all of our need in one system minimizing work on our side?

    4: We have talked about a citrix solution with win2003 server and remote desktop. Seems it is a tough task setting it all up tweak it for performance so we will drop that. What excist in the world of Linux to use rather then citrix?

    5: Security wise I belive storage on one centralized server will give us peace of mind and reduce chances for errors. Is there any server side solutions that will let us have a copy of the database locally in case of internet connection failure? I have seen custom made solutions like this based on asp.net and MS SQL. In case of no-connection all storage of data is locally and whenever there is internet connection running the databases will syncronize automatically. Does something like that excist in the world of Linux?

    6: The system we go for must be able to handle growth on our side. Hopefully we are within the next 36 months 25-30 people working this system from the sales end. Not to mention we need people in customer service and acounting so we hope to grow to a total of 35-40 within 3 years and a 15 % growth each following year. We wish the system to grow with us just updating hardware as we grow.

    7: If you have been down this path and see there are imprtent steps I left out please feel free to enlighten me. That also goes for any specific names or solution you could recomend. Even companies working with custom solutions like this feel free to drop your names along with a link.

    8: Preferable I would like to finish with a system that holds no licens fee. If we will need to pay up to get it all started I can live with that so please let me know if you have hired any help you would like to recomend.

    I hope you can take some time of your hectic summer and help us out here. Any and all responese will be cherrised.

    Thx in advance.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru Lakshmipathi's Avatar
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    Smile

    I would try my level best to help you to solve your issues.

    what system will let us do that for free?
    Yes,use linux. If I had start-up (soon i hope to start it ,though I would go for all linux/open source products.


    What excist in the world of Linux to use rather then citrix?
    If your are looking for virtualization techniques,then xen (bought by citrix) is an open source.
    Now KVM is also catching up.



    Is there any server side solutions that will let us have a copy of the database locally in case of internet connection failure?
    I'm not sure about your question,if one databases goes down,you can use your secondary backup database using mirroring concept.
    Mirror Your Web Site With rsync | HowtoForge - Linux Howtos and Tutorials



    that also goes for any specific names or solution you could recomend
    my suggestion would be :
    SugarCRM - Commercial Open Source CRM
    Open Source Enterprise Content Management System (CMS) by Alfresco




    Preferable I would like to finish with a system that holds no licens fee.
    Yes,everything it strictly licensed under open source
    First they ignore you,Then they laugh at you,Then they fight with you,Then you win. - M.K.Gandhi
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lakshmipathi View Post
    I would try my level best to help you to solve your issues.
    If your are looking for virtualization techniques,then xen (bought by citrix) is an open source.
    Now KVM is also catching up.
    We are not looking for virtualization, altough I am failry sure we will end using vmware, xen or other solutions for the server(s). We are looking for a citrix-like solution that will let us run cheapest possible hardware in our office. Preferable thin clients. I belive the citrix way is called metaframe? Is there a similar product for Linux?



    I'm not sure about your question,if one databases goes down,you can use your secondary backup database using mirroring concept.
    Not too worried about the server side, cause them datacenters have redundent lines. But our office will due to cheap rent be placed mid down-town. Where contractors are always digging and accidents do happends. Sooner or later we will be without internet cause of cut cables. Then our productivity can not stop to a halt. We need to produce income / sales every day and can not afford to to by sitting ducks without connection to our data. Our data and system are basic tools we need to complete our sales. So I am picturing a local copy of our servers that we can use in case of line-down?

    my suggestion would be :
    SugarCRM - Commercial Open Source CRM
    Open Source Enterprise Content Management System (CMS) by Alfresco
    SugarCRM is not complete free anymore. I belive I saw rather high priced licenses at there site a little while ago, correct? Is there any ERP systmes that have build in crm?

    Alfresco I do not know. Is that a *CMS* or an **ERP? [See below for definition] Really we need an ERP I belive. But will read up on Alfresco for sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    A content management system (CMS) such as a document management system (DMS) is a computer application used to manage work flow needed to collaboratively create, edit, review, index, search, publish and archive various kinds of digital media and electronic text.

    CMS' are frequently used for storing, controlling, versioning, and publishing industry-specific documentation such as news articles, operators' manuals, technical manuals, sales guides, and marketing brochures. The content managed may include computer files, image media, audio files, video files, electronic documents, and Web content. These concepts represent integrated and interdependent layers. There are various nomenclatures known in this area: Web Content Management, Digital Asset Management, Digital Records Management, Electronic Content Management and so on. The bottom line for these systems is managing content and publishing, with a workflow if required.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia
    Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is a company-wide computer software system used to manage and coordinate all the resources, information, and functions of a business from shared data stores.

    An ERP system has a service-oriented architecture with modular hardware and software units and "services" that communicate on a local area network. The modular design allows a business to add or reconfigure modules (perhaps from different vendors) while preserving data integrity in one shared database that may be centralized or distributed.

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    After reading up on Alfresco I do not belive that will work for us. Seems alfresco is more CMS and targeted to content-management, workflow, media content etc.

    What we need is a CRM system along with an accounting and billing system. So I still think a ERP system will be the way to go, and an ERP system will let us grow without problems.

    Being new to ERP as well as new to running a company I hope people can jump into this post and give us pointers, ideas and tips on what solutions might work for us.

    Having 3-4 months before startup we have probably enough time to hammer a solution into shape if we get cranking now. One thing we don't have time fore is walking this trial alone and learing and testing all and every systems out there.

    Please comment if you have any knowledge about ERP, either you implemented ERP into your business, have studied ERP in scholl or otherwise feel you have some insight to our situation.

  5. #5
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    Ok googling and browsing large number of sites I have seen several open source ERP solutions now. So far I think these 5 stands out:


    • Opentaps
    • Compiere
    • ERP5
    • OpenMFG
    • OpenPro



    Being new here I can not posts outbound links yet so sorry for not putting them there.

    1: Does anyone have firsthand experiance using any of these 5 ERP solutions?

    2: Is there any maybe less complex that might be worth checking out?

    Remember also comercial companies might jump in here and tell me what you can do for us. Main goal now is to take this to next level and decidw which 3 or 4 solutions that will battle for the final victory.

  6. #6
    Linux Guru Lakshmipathi's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    Yes,Alfresco is an CMS(unlike Drupal CMS), but i would suggest you to keep on eye on it. It has stuffs like Samba,ftp, webdev,share (you can share windows and linux )
    If possible try and install and use it and then decide about alfresco.

    And I don't have any idea on 5 ERP's you have listed.

    HTH
    First they ignore you,Then they laugh at you,Then they fight with you,Then you win. - M.K.Gandhi
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    No we can not base our business critical system on a CMS. This is because we need to think ahead and plan from growth from the get go. We need tried and tested system that will let us handle all aspects of runing a business from within one system, that way we end up saving time and money in the future on repetative tasks like punching the same data in several different systems. We also from within the same system can bill our customer, manage sales-leads and prospects and check that the bills we send out actually do get paid. So ERP is a must.


    Ok read up even more. As of the moment it seems to me openerp is the winner.
    Strong system developed over time from TinyERP to now OpenERP with huge and active community and OpenERP does not hold back the candy for their open source version. The open community version packs the same grunt as the most expensive one, no funtions or modules held back.

    If anyone is familiar with OpenERP let me know.

  8. #8
    Linux Guru Lakshmipathi's Avatar
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    when I said," keep an eye on alfresco", I really meant,Its more than CMS. You can use ERP but having alfesco along with some ERP will be useful in an organization. Red Hat, Alfresco Attack Microsoft SharePoint | The VAR Guy
    First they ignore you,Then they laugh at you,Then they fight with you,Then you win. - M.K.Gandhi
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