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ERP Opening To Open Source

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One well-known name and one relative newcomer have designs on the enterprise resource-planning world, and will use open source technology to take on the entrenched powers in the industry.

Most people familiar with ERP know of PeopleSoft, and its co-founder Dave Duffield. Probably far less know the name Michael Frappier of SQLFusion. They both want to make the stratospheric reaches of ERP more attainable for small to medium businesses.

Duffield’s Workday project has been very quiet since its website debuted online in 2005. The site promises a “new generation of enterprise applications.”

Workday will get there the way applications like MySQL have made inroads on the marketplace – through the wonders of open source, according to the site:

We’ve taken a revolutionary approach to technology that includes open source, object-oriented techniques, XML, and web services.

This next generation approach will result in applications that are highly adaptable, easy to use, and less expensive to deploy and manage.


Duffield has some former PeopleSoft folks along with smart people from other firms in his leadership team. Ex-PeopleSoft vice chairman Aneel Bhusri is Workday’s other co-founder.

Duffield’s displeasure at Oracle’s hostile takeover of PeopleSoft may manifest itself in the new software-as-a-service venture being developed at Workday. It is too early to think about where Larry Ellison may be on Duffield’s “to-do” list, but building support among small to medium businesses (SMBs) would be a prudent step for Workday.

Lawndale, CA-based SQLFusion was the first West Coast Certified MySQL Support Partner, and is steeped in open source. Frappier, a director at SQLFusion, recently emailed about the company’s OpenSourceFusion project, aimed at those SMBs.

Currently they have made four tools available at OpenSourceFusion, with the idea of permitting users to mashup a selection of applications to suit their needs. Frappier mentioned CK-ERP, an open source ERP system, as being among the applications they will make available through OpenSourceFusion in the coming months.

“The value we bring is not just in providing an open source self-service system for existing applications. We help users combine multiple open source applications in a custom one matching their business need, such as custom ERP systems, using our open source integration tools,” Frappier said.

That looks like a possible future of ERP. If the likes of Duffield and Frappier can drive the construction of effective ERP solutions on the software-as-a-service model, and monetize them with implementation and support revenue, they could pose a challenge to the likes of the Microsoft Dynamics line. And maybe even Ellison’s Oracle, too.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

ERP Opening To Open Source
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