xTupler #14 | April 2010
Dear Community —
Today is tax day in the US, and it seems an appropriate time to express our appreciation for the heroes of this rough season--the hardworking accountants of the world.
We'll also be doing what we should have been doing better for a long time--talking directly to accountants about xTuple ERP. When you're telling the story of ERP software, sometimes it's easy to focus on one aspect of the tool set, such as manufacturing or CRM, but the truth is, the financials really are the key to the whole system.
We like to say that the core of any ERP system is accounting, and the real benefit of using ERP is that all the functional areas of the business are integrated into one system, and one general ledger. That's an aspect of the software we need to talk more about, and we'll be doing so at the Accounting Software Expo in Atlanta on May 20. Hope to see you there!
In other news, we're in the final days of the version 3.5.0 release of xTuple ERP, and we're also pulling back the curtain on our first official web-based product. Please keep reading below for details.
Director of Internet Communications
xTuple 3.5 Release Candidate Now Available!
We'll do a final release in a few weeks, and will update the all-in-one installers at that time, but if you're ready to start taking advantage of all the great new features and fixes in version 3.5.0 (here's the press release and the full release notes), then go ahead and download the client and the database updates.
This latest version of xTuple also gives users of the free PostBooks Edition the ability to run the xTuple database in the cloud via Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). During the month of May, the company will be providing the xTuple cloud service at no charge and encouraging feedback to help define what will eventually be a commercial service, billed monthly possibly across all three Editions of the software.
Significant new 3.5 features and enhancements include:
- Drop ship purchasing: Now taking a sales order, immediately purchasing the item and having it shipped directly to the customer is fully automated and seamless for distribution companies.
- Expanded support for tooling: Facilitates managing and consuming tools in the manufacturing process
- Pricing effectivity: Dramatically increases the flexibility of the pricing engine with regard to effectivity dates.
- Time and expense management: xTuple 3.5 supports individual time and expense entry, optionally tied to Project Tasks.
- Powerful new user-configurable filters in the CRM module: Allows non-programmers to customize the most-often used displays.
- Support for PostgreSQL 8.4 and Qt 4.6.
- Embedded MetaSQL editor: Enables power users to take deeper dives into custom reporting and use conditional data throughout the application.
xTuple Sponsoring DrupalCon San Francisco 2010
xTuple is pleased to be a sponsor of DrupalCon SF, next week's conference for users of the Drupal content management system. We use Drupal on our own site, and we're developing Drupal modules to extend xTuple functionality to the web.
xTuple.org incorporates a custom Drupal module, xTuple Web Portal, that allows our customers to report and manage issues via the web site. We're in the final stages of preparing the Web Portal product for a commercial release this spring.
Another custom module, with the catchy internal code name of xTnet, adds sales force automation, allowing our global partner network to manage their accounts on our partner website.
Both of these integrate directly with our own xTuple ERP database, allowing us to expose our xTuple CRM tools to our customers and partners via the web. And of course, the xTuple xChange uses the Drupal Ubercart e-commerce module to take orders online, and connect directly into our xTuple ERP backend.
We'll be demonstrating the xTuple Web Portal module at DrupalCon - next Monday through Wednesday. If you're in the Bay Area, please stop by and say hi!
April Fooled all over again
In case you missed the fun, we've archived our little April Fools joke here. For a day, at least, a number of us got to be our Star Trek alter egos...
Free checks from xTupleforms.com
Purchase any forms from the xTuple forms partner site, http://www.xtupleforms.com, and you can also get 100 free checks printed with your business info.
Please use code P0403-182 when you make your purchase to redeem this offer.
We're dedicating this issue's Community Corner to fan mail from our global community. (It's a good thing you can't see us blushing.) Here's Jimmy from Malaysia:
I have to say it's the most functional ERP application I've ever evaluated ... and it's open source. It's very suitable for my kindergarten business for most of the procurement, sales and potential customer tracking via CRM module. Thanks for making such great apps.
Thanks, Jimmy! It's always interesting to hear about the different uses people find for the software around the world.
Here's a quick shout-out from frequent forum contributor Yogi Yang, a consultant based in India:
I don't know how but you people keep on astonishing me by adding features that are just mind boggling.
Thanks, Yogi. And thanks to everyone in our community who makes this innovation possible. Whether you're a customer, a partner, a code contributor (see the final writeup on our haxTuple bug derby), or just someone who helps other users online, we really do appreciate the different contributions all our users make to the xTuple community!
Gary Hartnett, Software Engineer
The core development team at xTuple benefits from the experience and expertise of Gary Hartnett, who alternates between coding application enhancements and tackling bugs on the issue tracker.
Since he first got involved with xTuple, Gary has resolved over 800 issues. He's also had a hand in major upgrades including Distribution Resource Planning, Freight Pricing Schedules and Sales Reservations.
Gary has been involved with manufacturing IT for over 30 years. He has worked for manufacturing companies (3M and GE) and IT companies (HP, exegeSys) as a developer, operations specialist, implementation consultant, and manager. Gary holds bachelors and masters degrees from the University of Virginia.
A 12-acre horse farm in North Carolina keeps Gary and his wife busy when he's not resolving software issues. They enjoy spending time with their daughter, three horses, two dogs and five cats.
While he does most of his development work from a home office, he does enjoy getting out into customer environments when the schedule permits!
Scott Zuke, Core Services Group
If you competed in haxTuple, our recent bug-squashing competition, you may have been cursing the name Scott Zuke. That's because Scott, a principal at xTuple partner Core Services Group, dove in to the contest and resolved more bugs than anyone else, walking away with a new Apple iPad.
Core Services Group, based in Michigan, has been an xTuple partner since 2006. They have worked with several other ERP systems, including an active practice supporting customers of Oracle's JD Edwards software. Core has also been actively involved in connecting xTuple users to a variety of EDI systems in various industries.
In addition to running a highly successful professional services organization, Scott is dedicated to supporting not only his xTuple customers but also the greater xTuple community, providing answers and suggestions to thousands of users through the community forums.
Scott is also the lead developer of the new Project Time & Expense enhancement which will be available concurrently with the final release of xTuple 3.5 (more on that in next issue!) When he's not busy doing all that he does with xTuple, Scott enjoys fly-fishing and snowboarding with his son and daughter.
Aberdeen Group ERP Survey
The Aberdeen Group is looking for ERP users to respond to their annual ERP benchmark survey. They will take responses and incorporate them into both a manufacturing benchmark report that should be published in June as well as an small-business focused report that will be published in August. Here are details, if you'd like to participate:
ERP in Manufacturing, June 2010
ERP has come a long way in terms of both technology and functionality since the early days of MRP. This fifth annual Aberdeen benchmark will explore various approaches companies are taking to determine the most cost effective and productive path to success. What are ROI expectations? How does company size impact approach to the evaluation and implementation of ERP? What constitutes success?
ERP in the SME: Fueling Growth and Profits, August 2010
By definition, small companies will have limited resources to devote to the implementation and maintenance of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Small and growing companies tend to invest more in resources that directly fuel growth, rather than infrastructure. Yet as companies exceed the threshold of "small" and emerge into becoming full-fledged mid-size enterprises, ERP can be a true enabler in the quest for revenue and profits. This report will examine the cost and benefits of ERP in small to mid-size enterprises.
Thanks in advance to any community members who can participate in this survey.