What Does ERPNext Do?
ERPNext's newest team member Priya tries to explain to her 72 year old father what does ERPNext do.
My father was very curious to know what my new company does. I remained silent for some time. I was trying to figure out a way to explain to him in words he could understand. He is 72 years old. He only understands the meaning of the term computer. He was a serial entrepreneur in his time. As far as software is concerned, he has no idea what programmers do? What is coding? What is HTML? What exactly does a software engineer do on a computer?
I took a deep breath and began explaining. I started with the small businesses he did back in 1970's. He had a milk dairy. He had an ice factory to cool the milk. He had a furniture and interior designing firm. He also had a retail general store. Oh yes, he also had two restaurants. All these were located in different states and different towns.
I began by telling him, that at ERPNext, computer engineers write a package which facilitates accounting. I told him that if he had this package back then, he could have stored all the names of his milk suppliers in this computer program. He could keep a note of all the payments that he had to give his suppliers. He could also note all receivables from his retail customers. I told him that he could check his profitability and manage accounts in an easy manner. One click on a box and he could get a report on whether he is making profits, exceeding expenses , or making losses. “ Oh! so you guys are accountants” he concluded. No! we are not accountants! I objected. I pointed that ERPNext builds a mechanism for accountants, human resources, manufacturing, sales etc to store information and access it at the click of a button. He didn't look very impressed. So I tried harder.
I reminded him, how he had problems maintaining every employees records, their payments, their leaves, etc. I told him that ERPNext also has a human resource package attached along with accounting where you can store employee details, salary details, and contact information. All this can be accessed and managed very easily. Each employee's tax components, their LTA, medical bills, other details , all can be managed very easily. Even salary slips of each employee which would differ based on roles could be printed at the click of a button. No hassels! He looked interested. But that was the only emotion he exhibited so far.
I was very keen on impressing him. It mattered a lot to me what my father thinks of my new company. It was very important for me that he respects the work that I did and the work that my company does. So I braced myself and continued. I prodded him to recall how much trouble he had managing 5-6 small businesses which were located in different states and towns. I reminded him that he had to visit every enterprise just to sanction their leaves, manage payments, or monitor supplies. He had issues giving complete financial control to his accountants. He also didn't want to give complete accesss to his purchase manager. He had to veto most purchases which involved large amounts of money. I told him that ERPNext package helps manage information of more than one company. You could keep all the information of companies located in different territories on this package. I elaborated that he can even specify who will have access to which information. He could give partial or complete control of permissions to the managers he chose. And he didn't have to travel to all the locations to do this . He could approve or deny at the click of a button. He could have saved on all those travels and took us to the ice-cream parlors more often. Now he seemed very interested.
Happy with my progress, I explained further that this package also stored all purchase invoices, delivery notes, sales invoices, customer information etc. All the customers data, contact details, product specifications, raw material details, etc. everything can be kept in one place. Now came the time to super impress! I informed him that there are large computer companies in US who sell this kind of stuff to large enterprises for approximately 10 million including installations, servers and consultations. They also take a lot of months to streamline the whole installation process. I could see that he was wondering in his mind, why companies spent so much for a little covenience. He decided that he was better off without this ERP business. Then, I revealed that ERPNext charges very very less.It is designed for small enterprises. I pointed that our prices are fixed for all types of customers and we charge 1/10th of what other large ERP providers would charge medium and small business enterprises. He began paying attention again. Now he was clearly impressed.
I should have left it at that. But I didn't. I went ahead and told him that this software is very good because it is open source. It can be accessed by professionals all over the world, it is free and anybody can improve it, if they want to. I got a little excited and told him that the program is stored on a Github site where it can be developed and forked by different users. I had him confused. He looked like he didn't care whether it was Github or Bathtub. Slowly his attention started dimming. I said the software is based on python and Apache. I could see that he went down his memory lane and remembered the day he had shooed away a python who entered his cow shed. Well, I left him alone with his thoughts.
Next time I will prepare myself sufficiently to explain open-source in words that he can understand.
Priya is a philosopher by education, writer and editor by profession and a loving mother by disposition.