Layman’s Guide to a Successful Odoo ERP Customization
Posted: May 19, 2019
Customization is the process of fitting the Odoo ERP software to meet the needs of a specific organization.
Whenever the processes represented in the Odoo ERP software differ significantly from the processes used by the firm one has two options.
- Build the organizational process into the Odoo ERP software through customization.
- Change the practice followed by the firm to suit the process native to the Odoo ERP software.
Out-of-the-box Odoo ERP is simply not for everyone. If every business could fit into a general Odoo ERP application, there wouldn’t be much competition out there. Businesses with specific processes and needs benefit from Odoo customization. Odoo customization allows companies to use an out-of-the-box Odoo ERP system, but then tailor and add business applications to make the system perform to their needs.
Software developers can create these applications to integrate with your existing software systems and fine-tune processes. However, all the work for customizations does not rely solely on the developer.
For a custom application to truly benefit your business, there are six ways that a business should prepare themselves forOdoo customization.End User Communication
Although this may seem obvious, often times the developer will only speak with the managers, executive positions, and consultants. This leaves it up to the business to discuss the Odoo customization with end users. This is critical because the concerns and needs of the end user are the most important part of customizing software.Detailed Specifications
Creating a document with all your specifications can be extremely helpful to the developer meeting all your needs. These specifications can include timeline requirements, security requirements, data samples, or process requirements. The more information you can give, the better the Odoo customization will suit your business.Strong Two-way Communication
When choosing a developer for your Odoo customization, you need to be able to have good lines of communication. If you are having difficulty getting in touch with them, you need to consider how this will play out if you have any changes in requirements or clarifications. A businesses role in the Odoo ERP customization process is just as important as the developers. A developer cannot read your mind, so if clear communication isn’t reached, you simply won’t get an application that meets your expectations. Odoo customization is worth your time and money to achieve processes that are more efficient, however, you and the developer will need to work as a team.Data
You should provide the developer of the Odoo customization with real world data for testing. By using data that is a good reflection of your day-to-day processes, you can ensure the application is tested accurately. From this, you can learn how the application will react if data is input incorrectly.Training
The developer may train a few of those that were heavily involved in the Odoo customization to use the new application, but it is important that every person that will touch it is trained thoroughly. If you want the customization to be worth the time and money, you need to make sure that team members are knowledgeable in the new software.Types of Odoo Customization:
Changes in User Interface (UI): Adapting the design of screens and dialogues to personalize the UI of Odoo based on the preferences of a user or a group of users.
Reports, documents and forms: Order confirmations, invoices, delivery notes etc that are generated by the Odoo ERP can be modified in terms of basic layout changes to incorporation of complex logic in reporting.
Workflows: These allow users to select the steps in business processes and define the correct sequence.
Integration to other applications: This may not be required in a one stop solution but in other cases, the same vendor or a third party may offer solutions for data exchange or end to end business processes.
Functionality extensions: Even in a comprehensive Odoo ERP solution, some functionality extension may be required for certain business needs.
Modifications of existing functionality: Sometimes, some functionality has to be modified by modifying or replacing inappropriate codeOdoo Customization: To do or Not to Do?
To get the most out of their investments in Odoo ERP, most companies resort to some degree of customization. ROI concerns and new tools are helping users manage Odoo ERP customization and changing the Odoo ERP development equation.
In spite of all the technology advances; customization is still an expensive exercise in the older systems. There was a time when companies were aggressive about customizing their Odoo ERP systems but soon ROI concerns began emerging.
Customization would still be required even in the best ERP fit. This was a tedious and expensive proposition in a standalone legacy ERP system that required extensive coding. Nowadays, it can be done seamlessly in the cloud. However, the new cloud solutions offer a good deal of flexibility and customization inbuilt in the subscription fees.Code Maintenance in Upgrades
Upgrades have exposed the problems with Odoo ERP customization from a cost and management perspective. When companies are forced to upgrade their systems they may have issues with the custom code used for customization. The burden of maintaining custom code leads to what is called "technical debt" and it keeps growing over time.
It may get more and more difficult later on when you upgrade, and some code may cause issues with the solution and create an uptime and a coding nightmare.Meeting Expectations
Executive teams or project teams, when they’re first considering new Odoo ERP software have the expectation that they’re not going to do any customization. This figure is supposed to be as high as 90% when they start, but most of them end up customizing anyway. When they start to implement it, new issues emerge as ground reality sets in, and customization become inevitable.
The trick, experts say, is to customize only when necessary, and only in areas where it can give a company a business advantage or provides differentiation from competitors. Customize where your secret sauce or Unique Selling Proposition (USP) or Unique Value Proposition (UVP) lies so that you do not lose your strategic advantage.Why the Cloud
Technology advances like the cloud are making it easier for companies to minimize the customization they have to do. Odoo ERP now is far more flexible and configurable than it has been in the past. You can change the software without having to deal with the source code and this is user friendly and provides a great deal of flexibility in UI’s.
Niche functionality is also present in specialized cloud applications which allow organizations to add new capabilities without having to customize their Odoo ERP code. With more niche players in the market, one can take more of a best-of-breed approach and there will be a lesser need to customize your Odoo ERP system.How to Tackle Odoo ERP Customization Challenges
The need for unnecessary Odoo ERP customization can be avoided by paying close attention to vendor road maps for their solutions. Software solution providers also offer a range of tools and services to help companies manage Odoo ERP customizations.
Companies need to build "buffers" into their Odoo ERP implementation plans that has adequate tolerance levels for customization. Companies may overlook this aspect and find that the project goes off course.
That was all from our side about how to go about undertaking a successful Odoo customization.
Meghna is serving at Pragmatic as the Marketing Manager for more than 5 years.