All we had to do was purchase the software and several licenses and see how we liked it. We could do the implementation ourselves, at our pace. Overall, xTuple gave us alternatives that no other vendor could.
Frequently Asked Questions
Good question. Renaming a company and launching a new brand is not something anyone should undertake lightly. But we felt that with the expanded line of products and services, and a broadening of our target audience to include companies who might not do much actual manufacturing, the time was right. We were looking for something exciting, that speaks powerfully to the possibility for exponential growth in the key business metrics that are important to our customers. Double (2x), quadruple (4x), quintuple (5x) ... xTuple.
There is also, we confess, a bit of a geek-insider joke (there always is, with software companies). In computer science and mathematics, a "tuple" is a name for any two or more points of data you wish to analyze. In fact, in database circles, rows of the database are often referred to as tuples. So it's ex-tuple, from the database. Get it? You don't? Well, never mind! :)
Not at all. The Manufacturing Edition of xTuple ERP continues to be our most advanced product, and our licensing and pricing for it is unaffected by all this excitement. Quite the contrary, our support of manufacturers has never been stronger - here's why. Very simply, it is the most advanced manufacturing functionality that constitutes most of the difference between the free PostBooks Edition and the paid Manufacturing Edition. (The Standard Edition, targeted at distributors and retailers, falls somewhere in the middle.) That has two very significant implications for manufacturing:
- Many of our biggest paying customers will continue to be manufacturers, and we will do everything in our power to make sure they are deliriously happy with the Manufacturing Edition of xTuple ERP, and level of service they receive.
- In order for us to continue to command a premium for the Manufacturing (and Standard) Edition, we will have to keep innovating - and adding advanced functionality that the larger PostBooks community might not find interesting or necessary.
Simple answer: they are more important than ever. There is a temptation with free software to think that you can do it all yourself - download, install, and have the business up and running on the new software before you know it. It's easy, right? Just read the documentation, follow the basic steps, and presto! That sound you're hearing is the gnashing of teeth by experienced ERP professionals around the world. You may be aware of the widely-publicized statistic that over 80% of ERP implementation projects - in companies of all sizes - fail, and often spectacularly.
We're software people with what we believe is a pretty strong product, so we like to believe that software choice has a lot to do with it. And it's certainly a significant piece of the puzzle; despite everything we say about rising commoditization of software, not all ERPs are created equal. And many get worse over time!
But the simple fact of the matter is that the human component of an ERP implementation is by far the most important. By that, we mean developing and following a firm project plan, with strong buy-in from management, and strong leadership of the overall project effort. Business process assessment, data migration and entry, configuration and setup of hundreds of details that supports the observed and desired business processes... these are the kind of things that xTuple business partners have been doing for decades.
Whether you're considering PostBooks or one of the commercial Editions of xTuple ERP, we'll work with our partners to put together the right combination of resources that fits your goals, and your budget.
How Open Source ERP Works
In all honesty - maybe. That's part of what a software vendor has to get comfortable with in open source, especially if they're pursuing a dual-licensing model like we are. Fundamentally, we believe it will come down to how well we do our jobs managing the PostBooks community. If we're unresponsive, don't give a good sense of overall roadmap and guidance, or needlessly antagonize community members, there's a good chance the project will be "forked" ... and maybe someone will start a PostPostBooks project.
But our hunch is that there's a much bigger interest in expanding PostBooks horizontally - into adjacent markets and with modular add-ins (more on that later!) - than in trying to duplicate the tested and battle-hardened functionality in the commercial Editions.
This is our favorite question. The answer is, there are lots of ways - but the most important thing is that we work collaboratively. If you've got the technical expertise, you can write new functionality yourself. You can pay one of our partners to do it. Or you can pay us. Sometimes, there's a big enough chunk of work that we put together a consortium, where several customers can split the cost of developing something new. This approach worked very well for the CRM module in version 2, and the Returns and Service functionality in version 3. Usually, a simple feature request in the issue tracker is the best way to get started. If we decide that a more detailed specification is needed, there is a template that we use as a starting point.
The best part? When you work with us to add new features into the product, you get exactly what you need, implemented into the core system - ensuring that your investment will be future-proof, rather than a one-off customization. Read about our "Greatest Hits" - 13 great examples of this process in action.
There are a number of elements that go into localizing an ERP system. The first, perhaps, is language. Each xTuple ERP client loads a translation file at runtime, so one user can see the application in US English - for example - while others see it in Mexican Spanish, Simplified Chinese, etc. Please visit our Translation Portal to see the current status of the many xTuple ERP international translation efforts. We'd welcome your involvement! The other major element of localization is the accounting, tax, or other local business requirements of a particular market. You might have a look at our wiki for an introduction to our multi-layered tax functionality. Perhaps the best place to start would be a discussion in our International Forums.
Customers can develop their own screens and scripts; they can also have xTuple-trained partners do that work for them. If the customer engages xTuple itself to develop custom screens and scripts, our policy is that they will be certified for the current release of xTuple ERP only. That is, there may be minor tweaks required to keep custom scripts working 100% in future versions of the base product. If xTuple were to do that tweaking, it would be a separate services engagement.
Licensing and Payments
xTuple's license manager (in the commercial Editions of the software) counts only concurrent users connected to the database. So while you'll want to set up accounts on the system for all of your named users, from a licensing perspective, we're only concerned with the ones that are connected at any given time. It's generally a good idea to allow for one or two seats more than you think you need, to allow room for growth and unencumbered usage at peak times in your business.
The license manager also distinguishes between internal xTuple users connecting via the xTuple client or another xTuple GUI tool (CSV import, xTuple Connect, etc) ... and external connections to the database by other programs, including any web-based systems, database tools, and other custom applications you might have which need to connect to xTuple through the APIs.
For all Editions of xTuple besides the commercially licensed version of PostBooks, there is a five-user minimum purchase. And for every internal xTuple user license you purchase, you receive an external license at no additional cost. So if you buy a five-user license, that's five concurrent internal users connecting with xTuple software, and also the ability for five external connections as well.
Software maintenance - access to all upgrades, major and minor - is included in the annual license. The annual license is like a subscription. You are licensed to use the software as long as you are current on your payments (either annual or monthly). If you're more than 30 days late, you could be in default of your license and support agreements.
The perpetual license is a one-time purchase of the then-current version of the software. Software maintenance is priced separately - currently at 10% of the current per-user license cost, and required for at least the first year. Direct support from xTuple is another 10% on top of the maintenance (which is a prerequisite for support).
Please don't. For starters, you can't get support from xTuple or any certified partner if you're not current on maintenance. Moreover, it's far more expensive to get back on, after you've gone off maintenance. Not only do you have to make up all the back payments, there's an additional penalty as well, which starts at 50% of the amount owed. So for example, if you were two years off maintenance on 10 users, and maintenance were priced at 10% of $3600, or $360, then you'd be looking at the following:
Back Maintenance owed: $7,200
Total Due to get right: $10,800
Was it worth it? Just to avoid paying the $3,600 a year, or even $360/month?
And that's assuming your two-year old data was in a pristine state, and didn't need any consulting services to go in and clean up - which has never happened in the history of software. So in short, don't do it. If you're worried about cashflow, take advantage of our monthly billing option. But there's rarely a happy ending to a broken maintenance agreement.
Partner Program Info
All xTuple ERP installations are eligible for XTN Services whether running Manufacturing Edition, Standard Edition or Postbooks.
A copy of the backup is stored on your server and another copy is securely sent to our data center. This ensures that you will always have the latest copy of your database available.
The backup is scheduled to run during the night and we coordinate it with other automated tasks that may also run over night, such as the Batch Manager.
We setup SSH (Secure Shell) encrypted tunnel. We run the nightly backup, leave a copy of the file on your server and send a copy of the file to our data center. We store one of the the backups for each week for one year.
xTuple handles the restore of your most recent backup to minimize down time and data loss.
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