Odoo 2014 Strategy and Direction

Are "Open" and "ERP" gone?

Daniel Reis

OpenERP has become Odoo

And the purpose was to remove both "Open" and "ERP" from the brand.

But why? Will it stop being focused on ERP features? Will it stop being open source? What does this mean for the company future direction?

From all of Fabien's public statements and all OpenDays presentations and interactions, I'm pretty sure that that's not the case: despite the name change, Odoo is and will be totally free-libre open source, and the product main focus will keep being the ERP features.

Odoo will keep the focus on ERP

The new v8 flagship features are the CMS and ecommerce. But ERP will still be a keepy differentiator from the other products in that space, such as Django and Magento. More important than that, the revenue driver will be ERP, not CMS/ecommerce.

The front end features will bring little revenue by themselves. The two users from the free plan are enough for anynone to create an online shop.

But they can draw interest from a whole new universe of users. The purpose for the CMS and ecommerce is to tap at the huge CMS market to explode in number of Odoo users. In the end, the more users you have, the more likely you'll also increase the paying customers.

And these upgardes from the free plan will come mostly because of the integrated back end features: invoicing, logistics, accounting.

There is a strategic bet on the new CMS and ecommerce features. But it's still the ERP backend that makes it different from competitors and drives the revenue.

Developers, developers, developers!

That was the line (re)used by Antony Lesuisse.

Odoo wants more developers working with the product. More developers means more modules and features, more mind share, more deployments, and in the end of the day, more users.

The open source model is a key part for that. Odoo will continue to be totally free-libre open source. Not only it will be kept, but it will be reinforced.

The sudden (and hasty) move of the source code to GitHub means to increase the product's visibility to developers, and to make it easier to contribute.

The new API can make Odoo more atractive for new developers: it's more pythonic and it's, more likely to appeal to people coming from Django.

Content, content, content!

This was used by Fabien in his keynote on strategy, but it could have come out from Alexandre Vandermeersch. Alexandre is the new Chief Marketing Officer, and for me he was one of the best news from the event. He believes the best marketing for Odoo is content: tutorials, documentation, white papers for end users and developers.

Helping new people to get up and running faster with Odoo will support the overall strategy for user base growth, and it will be what the marketing team will be devoted to.

More and better content, smart marketing, and great news.

How to "burn" 10 million dollars?

This was an actual line from Fabien when presenting the priorities for v9. While another revolution has been promised for v9, the priorities presented are mostly about rounding the corners for the user interface and the v8 novelties: website builder and new API. And that's good news.

One of the main investments for v9 will be on Accounting: the goal is for the core to support the account needs for 8 major countries, replacing community accounting localizations. And in the build a solid core for that. This confirms the ERP focus and addresses one of the main weaknesses of the product - official localization support. How the Partners and Community will be participate in this process is a critical question that will need to be addresses in the way.

Another investment area worth highlighting is the GUI layer: Right now, Odoo feels like having two user interfaces - one for frontend and another for the backend. Making the look and work seamlessly will be a big improvement, and will probably make all website page design capabilities available to backend's regular forms. That's something to be excited about!


Fabien's keynote slides on Odoo Roadmap and Strategy.