xTupler #17 (January 2011)

Fixed Assets, Web Portal demo, and 3.6 final!

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The xTupler #17 Open Source ERP, accounting, and CRM News
 January 2011
 
xTuple is celebrating the new year by showering you with a nicely-wrapped collection of great new stuff! Check out the Fixed Asset Management package, below, and read up on the new features in xTuple version 3.6, both of which are available now for free download.

The Hosted Demo accounts for version 3.6, including the ability to connect to your demo database with the xTuple Web Portal, is also now available - see Ned's blog for more details.

We've had a flurry of other development in the past few months, resulting in the launch of a new online bugtracking system on xTuple.org. This new tool, version 1.1 of the xTuple Web Portal Support module, is part of our growing suite of products that extend xTuple functionality to the web.

We're also progressing on our upcoming email integration project with xTuple Connect, and we thank all the "feature mob" sponsors (56 of them!) who joined together to speed this along.

All our best for 2011!

Cheerfully,

BC Wilson
Director of Internet Communications
Free, Fixed Assets
Fixed Asset Depreciation screen

If you've been tracking your company's fixed assets in a spreadsheet, we understand. There's been no integrated way to do it in xTuple... until now. This month, xTuple community stalwart Dave Anderson did us all a favor by contributing an extension module for Fixed Asset Management. The package is available for free download from the xChange app store.

The Fixed Asset package allows you to define different Asset Types (Classes) and the current status of those assets. You can record information about the asset cost, asset expected life, purchasing, and installation dates. In addition you can record warranty information and use that to track expiration dates of warranties. Basic asset reporting is also included.

Dave has also created a paid upgrade to the free package. The Fixed Asset Depreciation extension package builds on the free Fixed Asset register package and brings integration with the General Ledger. This package is designed to automate the calculation and posting of depreciation and give you much greater visibility over the value of your Fixed Assets. Rather than having a few G/L accounts holding a summarized asset value, now you can report on the specific make up of your asset value by each asset.

The Fixed Asset Depreciation package is available on the xChange for a special price through January 31, 2011, while it is in beta testing. Full support will be available during this period, as will a free upgrade to the final release.  Download the free version today, and buy the Depreciation upgrade tomorrow - while the beta pricing is still available!

xTuple issuetracker updated to use xTuple CRM

New Bug Tracker Page

The xTuple Web Portal Support 1.1 module is a significant upgrade to our online support tools. On December 16 we launched this module on xTuple.org, replacing our old bug tracker software with a solution that would connect directly to our own xTuple database (of course we use it to run our own business!).

With the Support module, bug reports, feature requests, and customer support incidents all flow directly into the xTuple CRM subsystem. From that point we can manage everything through the xTuple client software.  (The web front end is a module for the Drupal content management system.)

As a company we seek to "practice what we preach" by integrating more and more systems, and more and more data, into our own ERP database. Now we have a dashboard view of the demands on our internal resources that never existed before. It should allow us to be much more realistic and accurate about allocating resources toward the various demands. That's the promise of ERP: by breaking down the data silos, a company will have a better understanding of its own processes and begin to do its work faster, better and cheaper.

If you are interested in learning more about the Web Portal Support module, or about the xTuple Web Portal in general, please contact us. We'd love to show you more ways xTuple can grow your world!

xTuple version 3.6 released

From the new Desktop and QuickStart Wizard, to improved search functionality, we have focused efforts this year on making it easier to get started and use xTuple. Version 3.6, released this month, continues that trend by allowing users to launch virtually any document from any other document. That's right: No more hunting around the menu system trying to find the edit list for the records you are searching. Just jump to where you need to go from right where you are.

We've also completely reorganized and consolidated the maintenance areas of xTuple in one common and easy to understand "Setup" screen.

Finally, we even have good stuff for those seasoned users and sometime keyboard fanatics who long for the day when they can throw the mouse out the window. There is now ubiquitous (operating system specific) application of short cut keys on all the frequently appearing buttons including "Save", "Close","Post" and so on. You can also navigate tab widgets with keyboard control as well.

Read John's blog for more information and examples of usability improvements in 3.6.

In addition to the interface enhancements, 3.6 includes a number of free extension packages that add substantial functionality to the core application - notably xTuple Time and Expense 2.0, a critical tool for service businesses that allows you to create invoices and vouchers for Time and Expense reports in the application.  This is functionality that was previously only available in a paid Professional edition, and it's been significantly expanded in version 2.0.  Check out the new T&E Video on the xTuple YouTube channel.

A new installer package for xTuple Postbooks 3.6 is available now on our Sourceforge project site.  

Community Corner

There are certain inescapable laws of the universe, and one of them is that ERP can be a tough business.  Installing a system for the first time, or switching from an old system to a new one, is a company-wide effort that takes dedication, tenacity and patience before the benefits of the system can take effect. We like to think we're good at helping companies do this. We love it when you agree.  Susi Guzsella of Mobius Photonics writes:

I'd like to thank the entire staff at xTuple for helping us implement the program during this past year. Each day we discover new things that xTuple can do for us and we realize what a powerful program it is.

 

Thanks, Susi - it's a pleasure to work with you and your team!

 

We plowed through an implementation of our own recently, as we replaced our third party bug tracking software (Mantis) with the xTuple Web Portal Support module (see above). The day we launched our new tools, customers took notice.  Here's Julian Carlin, of Bergin Fruit and Nut Company:

Nice work on the Mantis migration to xTuple incidents!

 We should note that the new site had only been live for a few hours when Julian emailed. Thanks, Julian!

Partner Profile
Soluciones Empresariales Open, SCP

Alfredo MartinezThis month we'd like to highlight a very successful xTuple partner located in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Alfredo Martínez Solís was the IT director of a large furniture manufacturer who in 2009 went looking for an ERP solution for his company. His search led him to xTuple. Alfredo mastered the PostBooks Edition, then purchased the Manufacturing Edition and implemented the system on a 35-user network in 4 different locations over 2 countries. Following that successful experience he decided to address the larger market need in Mexico by bringing xTuple to other companies as a partner.

Alfredo is an electronics engineer with a masters degree in Economic and Financial Engineering who begin working with computers when he was 14 years old - with a basic language programming course on a commodore VIC20. (Wonder if he's seen the new TRON movie yet!) 

He began his professional IT career in 1994 developing manufacturing software for an apparel company and has worked in a variety of manufacturing and other industries since then.

Alfredo now runs Soluciones Empresariales Open, SCP. He's now installed xTuple ERP at another four companies, with many others still to come.
Upcoming Training Opportunities

We had a record turnout at yesterday's regular monthly Webinar, covering the Accounting module of xTuple.  Insert your own joke here about exciting accounting webinars, but hey, it was exciting for us!

If you're ready for a deeper dive into xTuple Accounting, including a preview of the new Project Accounting module (suitable for heavy job- and project-oriented companies, as well as nonprofits who need Fund Accounting), you'll want to join us for "Tips & Tricks for Accounting Professionals" on Tuesday, January 18 at 4:00 pm EST.  It's a special, paid two hour class, for which you can receive two CPE credits. In addition to Project Accounting, the class will also dive into advanced topics not covered currently in training videos or classroom sessions including managing credit, budgeting and financial reporting.

And coming the week of February 21, at our Norfolk, Virginia headquarters, it's our Introduction to xTuple classroom training.

Read more about these and other upcoming events at http://www.xtuple.com/events.

Special offer for xTupler readers:  Purchase both the Accounting webinar and the classroom session online, and save $225!
Pitching in for the (Local) Community

xTuple employees are active in the international open source community, but we're also involved in our own local community. When an opportunity arose to help a local group with a computer project, we jumped right in.

The Up Center, a large social services agency that operates programs for families, children, and adults throughout the Hampton Roads region where xTuple headquarters is located, received a donation of 25 laptop computers from another local business. These were used laptops that had been wiped clean. 

The Up Center wanted to give the laptops to needy kids in their Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. This seemed like a compelling project--getting laptops into the hands of kids who might not otherwise be able to afford them. But the laptops were not usable as they were. 

Three volunteers from xTuple--Monique McBride, Perry Clark, and Pierce Tyler--stepped up to help. Working after hours over several days, the team installed the Ubuntu operating system on the laptops. More specifically, they installed the Edubuntu flavor of Ubuntu, which comes loaded with educational software for kids. We chose the Ubuntu operating system because it's free and open source software--and it's easy to use. Plus, as many open source folks, know, the word "ubuntu" is an ancient African word meaning "humanity toward others," which seemed like a good theme for this project.  

The laptops were recently delivered to the kids right before Christmas. For most of the children these will be the first computers they have ever owned.

No, we didn't install PostBooks on the kids' laptops.  We'll save that for the next project! :)
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