xTuple accelerates mobile ERP application, maintains desktop integration

451 Research

Analyst: Jay Lyman

2 Jan, 2013

Open source ERP and CRM vendor xTuple is growing its business and building on its Mobile Web application that provides faster performance and mobility, but is also fully compatible with xTuple's desktop business management and accounting software. Reporting year-over-year revenue growth of almost 60% for 2012, xTuple recently updated its desktop version to xTuple Desktop 4.0, featuring hundreds of enhancements and including the cloud-optimized Mobile Web client. The company says it is continuing to push its mobile software with more features and functionality while maintaining its open source business software suite.

The 451 Take

xTuple has displayed agility in moving with technology and trends, particularly its work on a Mobile Web application that performs well and also maintains compatibility with the desktop software. This new mobile support and capability that ties to existing software and technology investment is critical for a growing number of organizations large and small. As xTuple extends more into cloud computing, it must maintain its reseller channel, although the task is made easier because of xTuple's experience, technical basis and community in modular, open source software.

Context

Open source ERP, CRM and accounting software provider xTuple reports continued traction, with year-over-year revenue growth of 59% for 2012. The company says it continues to add both large enterprise customers, particularly in manufacturing and distribution, and smaller customers. Given many organizations have a number of existing and legacy business management software deployments, xTuple says it represents an appealing alternative when older providers or technologies – proprietary or open source – fade from the market through mergers and acquisitions or attrition. The company has 35 employees and continues to grow with plans for more hiring.

Products

One of xTuple's biggest areas of development has been its xTuple Mobile Web Client that both performs well for users and maintains interoperability with the desktop ERP and CRM software. The company says its modular technology is ideal for porting increased functionality and features to the mobile application while maintaining compatibility with the desktop client. It is starting with CRM. xTuple's mobile application, in development for three years, is written completely with JavaScript and HTML5 and supports tablet, smartphone or desktop browsers including Safari, Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

In terms of its desktop suite, xTuple recently updated to version 4.0 with more than 400 enhancements. Highlights of the update include new Social Desktop for intra-company IM, enhanced job costing, enhanced CRM and the Mobile Web client, which is optimized for multi-tenant cloud-hosting environments.

The company emphasizes that although it is doing more to enable mobile, Web and cloud access for its customers, it is still squarely focused on its core competency and customers around integrated ERP systems for sales, inventory, purchasing, manufacturing, time and expense, etc.

Technology

xTuple says it has fully leveraged JavaScript and HTML5, along with their compatibility to the desktop software, in creating and improving its Mobile Web client. The company has also used node.js, a lightweight framework that improves the application's performance and speed. The company, which also leverages PostgreSQL database technology, has been using its mobile application internally along with a hundred or so private beta users.

Customers

xTuple says it has broadened its base of industry verticals and clients, particularly in wholesale distribution and manufacturing. The company reports about 350 customers that are full licensees, along with hundreds of other customers of other xTuple products and support. The company also relies on a partner network of about 50 resellers, SIs and other channel partners that sell the open source ERP, CRM and accounting software. We also see another example of how open source software can enable geographic and language-based growth, with xTuple reporting translation into more than 25 languages and a growing customer and partner base beyond its North American market to include Central America, South America, Australia and New Zealand, India and Europe.

Competition

The main competition for xTuple comes from the incumbent business software vendors, including Epicor Software, Infor, Intuit, Microsoft and SAP. Its focus on the Mobile Web application and cloud computing will likely mean more intense competition with some of these vendors, such as Infor and SAP, that are also focused on mobile and cloud expansion. XTuple competes with Microsoft Dynamics mostly in the low end of the market, but we also see enterprise use of it. Although xTuple may not run into other open source ERP providers such as Openbravo or OpenERP very much today, this may change as these open source challengers increasingly target the same enterprise customers and expand geographically.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

As a commercial provider of open source software, xTuple benefits from being a credible, affordable alternative to larger business and accounting software suites.

Weaknesses

The company is still a small player in a market dominated by larger providers.

Opportunities

Its focus on a mobile application and full integration with its desktop suite may allow xTuple to accelerate traction in key areas.

Threats

Although larger rivals may not be as nimble, they may be able to effectively tap new mobile and cloud markets and compete with xTuple through their own efforts, acquisition or both.

Reprinted with permission from 451 Research

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