ERP System Implementation from the Ground Up: The ERP5 Development Process and Tools

ERP System Implementation from the Ground Up: The ERP5 Development Process and Tools

Rogério Atem de Carvalho (Fluminense Federal Institute, Brazil), Renato de Campos (State University of São Paulo, Brazil) and Rafael Manhães Monnerat (Nexedi SA, France)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-731-7.ch027

Abstract

The design and implementation of an ERP system involves capturing the information necessary for implementing a system that supports enterprise management. This process should go down through different abstraction layers, starting on enterprise modeling and finishing at coding. For the case of Free/Open Source ERP, the lack of proper modeling methods and tools jeopardizes the advantages of source code availability. Moreover, the distributed, decentralized decision-making, and source-code driven development culture of open source communities, generally does not rely on methods for modeling the higher abstraction levels necessary for an ERP solution. The aim of this paper is to present a development process and supportive tools for the open source enterprise system ERP5, which covers the different abstraction levels involved, taking into account well established standards and practices, as well as new approaches, by supplying Enterprise, Requirements, Analysis, Design, and Implementation workflows and tools to support them.
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2. Erp5

The ERP5 project (Smets-Solanes, Carvalho, 2002; Smets-Solanes, Carvalho, 2003) is a FOS-ERP that aims at offering an integrated management solution based on the open source Zope platform, written in the Python scripting language. This platform delivers an object database (ZODB), a workflow engine (DCWorkflow), and rapid GUI scripting based on XML. Additionally, ERP5 incorporates data synchronization among different object databases and a object-relational mapping scheme that stores indexing attributes of each object in a relational database, allowing much faster object search and retrieval, in comparison to ZODB, and also analytical processing and reporting. This project was initiated in 2001 by two French companies, Nexedi – its main developer, and Coramy – its first user, and since then is in development and use by a growing community from France, Brazil, Germany, Poland, Senegal, Japan, and India, among others. ERP5 is named after the five core business entities that define its Unified Business Model (UBM, Figure 1):

Key Terms in this Chapter

Enterprise Modeling: Enterprise modeling is the process of understanding and modeling an enterprise business aiming to improve its performance. This includes the modeling of the relevant business domain, business processes, and business information.

ERP Customization: Customization represents the adaptation of an ERP system to the business environment of a given organization, involving both modification and extension of the system.

Free/Open Source ERP: ERP systems that are released as Free or Open Source Software.

ERP: Enterprise Resources Planning, a category of software focused on integrating all business processes of an organization into a unified information system, forming a unified database.

Entity Life Cycle: An entity life cycle describes the tasks executed to change the status of a product during the phases that comprise its life, from conception, to design, implementation, operation and finally decommission.

Business Process Modeling (BPM): BPM is the activity of representing processes of an organization, so that they may be analyzed and improved for efficiency and quality. Generally these improvements require Information Technology involvement.

Enterprise Engineering: According to the CIO Council, it is a multidisciplinary approach to defining and developing a system design and architecture for an organization

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