Nevertheless, from the hills of Pamplona, Spain, comes a viable if unlikely candidate for many small and midsize implementations: Openbravo. Openbravo does a fine job of managing general business duties like procurement and product pricing, warehouse and inventory management, production, and financial accounting. Its MRP (materials requirement planning) and sales/CRM modules are also good, and the capability to handle multi-phase projects and partner relationships help set it apart.
Openbravo comes up light on HR, customer-to-Web, and document management, but decent BI and balanced scorecard capability in addition to a solid Java development framework for building add-ons boost its enterprise credentials. The recent addition of the JasperReports engine lets users push out professional-looking PDF, Excel, and HTML reports.
Openbravo takes the Bossie, but also notable is Compiere. A split last year between members led to a forked faction founding the alternative ADempiere project, slowing the company momentum a bit. Nevertheless, Compiere’s point-of-sale and CRM modules make it worth a look.
We're also a fan of the Apache Open for Business (OFBiz) project, but this formidable solution is not for the technically faint of heart. OFBiz is better suited to VARs than SMEs. Another worthy offering is xTuple’s OpenMFG, a Windows-based manufacturing solution with good reporting. OpenMFG is not technically open source, as is its lighter-weight sibling PostBooks, but xTuple does provide code for in-house customization.
If there’s one IT product category that would seem to be ripest for open source solutions, it is portals, because portals exemplify standards and interoperability. By definition, enterprise portals provide a gateway to content in disparate systems and let users run applications within the portal environment. This is typically done by deploying "JSR-168 compliant" portlets (i.e., portlets compliant with the Java portlet specification) be they custom-written or acquired from a portlet vendor.
Putting aside other standards, which our four portal finalists all follow, the compelling argument for winner Liferay Portal can be summed up by mentioning usability, architecture, security, integration, and portlets. Liferay's intuitive user experience, featuring drag-and-drop portlet arrangement and management, is tops. The latest version adds PHP and Ruby support. On the security side, enterprises can have single sign-on through Microsoft Active Directory or OpenID in addition to LDAP. There’s integration with Microsoft Exchange, an iCal calendar portlet, and full WebDAV support. Moreover, Liferay offers more than 60 portlets.
Not far behind is the widely deployed JBoss Portal, which runs on the solid and scalable JBoss Application Server. JBoss Portal supports any JDBC-compliant database and has much the same security options as Liferay. However, JBoss’ user interface still needs refinement and there are fewer downloads in JBoss’ PortletSwap catalog compared to Liferay.