xTupler #13 — Open dialog with the people using our products

Monday, February 1, 2010

xTupler #13  | February 2010

Dear Community —

Open dialog with the people using our products. We do it every day in forums, the issue tracker and webinars. It's been at the core of the xTuple philosophy since our beginning in 2002. So we were happy to see that someone has given a name to this way of managing a product: Dion Hinchcliffe at ZD Net's Enterprise 2.0 blog calls it "Social CRM." Hinchcliffe believes that this business practice is the best way to earn the trust and cooperation of customers, and he predicts it will be an enterprise megatrend in 2010. Since we've been running things this way from the start, we hope he'll forgive us when we say, "Of course it is."

We see the benefits of open dialog all the time. In the past month we've seen a customer and partner-led discussion on the forums around a new package for tracking fixed assets in xTuple ERP, suggestions and contributions around improving the Point of Sale (POS) package, and ideas for extending our XML and CSV import capabilities. We know where to take the product because our users tell us every day what they need it to do for them.

Often xTuple users get directly involved in making those improvements themselves. haxTuple 2010, our "bug derby" event, is another example of direct user participation. We get very excited when people get involved in moving xTuple ERP forward, whether it's fixing bugs, developing new features, or just telling us what else they want and need the software to do. It's all part of being a social business.

All best,

BC Wilson
Director of Internet Communications 

haxTuple 2010: Hack Bugs, Win Prizes!

That crunching noise you hear when you visit xTuple.org is the sound of our developer community squashing bugs in haxTuple 2010. Our tagline, "Hack bugs, win prizes" should get you excited about lifting up the hood on your xTuple software. Last year we gave away a Dell netbook to the community member who resolved the most bugs. This year we're giving away an Apple iPad (as soon as they become available), as well as some other fun prizes.

The competition runs from February 15 to March 8, so don't wait. The competition is underway, but there's still plenty of time to rack up your numbers. Watch the home page at xTuple.org for a leaderboard displaying top bug smashers, and get hacking today!

Understanding open source business models

or, "how does xTuple make money?"

Ever wonder about that? That free software is awfully good. Do people actually pay us for anything? Well, yes. But like any good business, we want to make sure we're offering products and services that our brilliant international community of dedicated professionals actually values.

So - if you've got a minute, could you click over to our online poll, and answer for us just one question: What would you be willing to pay for? Thanks!

xTuple at Macworld

This year's Macworld trade show, the first one without participation from Apple, concluded last week. It may have been more successful than anyone expected. More than 30,000 attendees crowded the expo hall, all lining up to see what Apple treats the various exhibitors were touting.

The Enterprise and Business Special Interest Pavilion where xTuple was stationed saw a steady flow of people hunting for enterprise-level applications to power their Mac-based businesses, and we were standing by to demo xTuple ERP.

One big topic of conversation for us was the availability of iTuple on the iPhone (recently tagged by eWeek magazine as a "Product to Watch.") The community is looking for solutions that can go where they go and iTuple extends xTuple ERP CRM functionality by putting all of your customer prospects, general business contacts and to-dos in the palm of your hand, right in the iPhone. You also have a full list of your personal to-dos with you at all times.

There is nothing that appeals more to Apple technology users than the ability to really USE your technology. iTuple extends the consumer content sharing benefits of the iPhone to the enterprise.

Mobile apps are going to be a part of the xTuple ERP family going forward. Paladin Logic, an xTuple partner based in Texas, developed iTuple for the iPhone, and we're excited to feature it here and on the xTuple xChange. Get iTuple from the Apple app store today for only $9.99.

Free Webinar, March 3: Review the xTuple ERP Accounting Module

Join us Wednesday, March 3 at 1:15pm (EST), for our monthly "xTuple ERP Demonstration" webinar. In Part 4 of our webinar series we'll take an in-depth look at the xTuple Accounting Module and related features. The heart of any business system is Accounting, and xTuple ERP features a powerful General Ledger, which is tightly integrated in real time with the other modules of the system.

Still awake? Seriously, it'll be fun! If you'd like to learn more about xTuple ERP, and the Accounting Module in particular, please attend. We'll reserve time at the end of each demo for live questions and answers from registered attendees. If you'd like to attend, please pre-register now to help us prepare.

And remember, we also offer an extensive catalog of free training videos as well, all of which can be viewed on demand.

Community Corner

Hands-on training can make all the difference for a company using xTuple ERP for the first time. We often hear back from customers that the class was an essential part of their successful implementation:

"Each one of the courses I took on xTuple have expanded my understanding of the program and opened my mind to new solutions and ways to use xTuple to improve our business; but the power user course opened a door that lead to a different world where boundaries are left behind and the real potential of the application is finally shown in all its extension and it's reachable for every one."
— Alfredo Martinez, General Controller at Sitwell Furniture

"I believe anyone who has anything to do with a PostBooks or xTuple ERP installation would benefit immensely from the introductory course. In fact, I think it would almost be crazy not to do it if you are running a business that relies on the software. It reminds me of the old saying 'If you think training is expensive, you should try the cost of ignorance.' I find their sessions are well prepared and well executed, so it's time and money well spent, or invested, rather.”
— Daniel Baroco, IT Director at Cedarlane Natural Foods, Inc.

Employee Showcase

Anne Cote, Program Manager

Anne Cote joined xTuple as a Project Manager in 2008 and also happens to be the first employee based on the West Coast. Her focus has primarily been supporting projects related to some of xTuple's larger customers. These efforts include implementations and large scale development projects such as Point of Sale. Like all xTuple staff, Anne also jumps in wherever help is needed, including the crucial areas of testing and documentation.

Anne is currently working with xTuple staff and partners to formalize best practices for xTuple ERP implementations and project management. She will oversee all internally-managed professional services, and work with our ever-growing partner community to support their implementation efforts as well. She will also be building out tools for measuring ongoing customer satisfaction after going live with the xTuple software.

Over the last decade Anne has been managing technology projects for companies of all shapes and sizes. Her experience is not limited to ERP but ranges from product lifecycle management (PLM) software to healthcare systems. When she's not tied to a laptop, blackberry or airplane seat, she's enjoying the drizzly outdoors of the Pacific Northwest. Spending time with husband Steve and her dog, Sunny Pie, hiking, camping, sailing, reading, and enjoying friends and family are a few of her favorite things.

Partner Showcase

Bernard LeJour - President AS Plus Informatique Inc.

Having been an xTuple partner for nearly seven years, Bernard Le Jour is one of xTuple's most valued community members. Bernard resides in Pierrefonds Canada, a small town just northwest of Montreal in French speaking Quebec. Over the years, Bernard has implemented both the PostBooks and commercial Editions of xTuple ERP in multiple environments across Canada and the U.S.

Bernard's unique combination of strong technical skills and deep operational experience have made him a valuable asset to many xTuple users. He manages the French Canadian translation of xTuple ERP, and has overseen the development and implementation of many new features, including multi-currency support, percentage bills of material, and much more. Prior to becoming an xTuple partner, Bernard did implementation and development work with a variety of ERP solutions, mostly in the IBM mid-range marketplace.

Bernard is a dedicated football enthusiast (that's "soccer" in the US English translation!) He is currently coaching a womens' junior college team in the fall and an elite U14 girls club team in the Quebec provincial league the rest of the year. He is also part of the Pierrefonds soccer club academy technical staff and teaches on a part time basis in local schools. Last year, he started an indoor soccer organization that runs on week-ends for boys and girls aged from 9 to 16 years old that currently spans 18 teams.

xChange Highlights

Wireless Barcode Solution

You've got inventory, you've got barcodes, you move stuff around. Now you want a wireless barcode-reader to scan stuff as you move it. Yeah, we've got that.

The wireless solution, provided by Vancouver-based xTuple partner Yellow Dog Solutions, is already in use at a number of xTuple clients, including the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. OK, we made up that last part.

Tightly integrated with xTuple ERP, this solution has enabled customers to improve productivity by extending xTuple to the shop floor to capture information as it happens. The solution allows you to perform transactions in real time, ensuring that inventory levels are up to date in the xTuple ERP system. To find out more, check out the wireless solution on the xChange.

Pre-printed Checks

xTuple now offers pre-printed checks! Viist the xTuple forms store to order the 3-part checks, and then download the free report definition to install in xTuple ERP. You'll get a check report definition and instructions for installing it in your xTuple ERP database.