Odoo ERP for construction by Blackware Technologies

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With merger and acquisition activity limiting contractor software choices, Saint-Georges, Quebec-based Blackware Technologies has launched Atoom ERP, a new open source software product for construction firms Odoo Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform.

What is open source software and how is it different from other approaches to developing and buying software? Open source software is sold with its source code openly accessible, allowing users, or more often partners, of an open source software vendor to modify and further develop it, with these improvements or enhancements often benefiting the overall product. Closed source software is sold with the source code hidden and any modifications must be made by the vendor.

This offers contractors the benefit of a widely deployed and robust enterprise suite—one that has undergone more research and development than an engineering-only solution—but with full engineering capabilities and support from an industry-specific systems integration company. The license agreement gives the buyer of an open-source product leeway to modify the code and lets others do the same by sharing the modifications they make. A reseller can still be the primary entity modifying the source code, and in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, that source would likely be hidden from an end-user like a contractor anyway.

Aside from merger and acquisition activity, which could mean a new pick in ERP with an attractive ledger, one thing going for Blackware in the current financial climate is that they don’t rely on venture capital, which is currently constrained as the stock market slips.

Blackware has received between $1 million and $2 million in bank loans and, combined with its organic revenue, has a sufficiently stable base to launch a product across North America.

The company has a small direct sales team but is also building a broader network of referral partners and resellers. At the time of our briefing, Blackware reported 10 companies using Atoom ERP in production, but almost 25 in the implementation of some modules while in production in others.

READ THE FULL IRONPROS PRODUCT DEEP DIVE ON ATOOM ERP

“We will be going to market in part through third-party service providers and independent software vendors (ISVs),” Gagnon said. “Most of these partners will act as referral partners. What’s referred to us by law firms and accounting firms across Quebec is our business knowledge of construction, so we can use the right technologies for the right needs in your industry. Excavators, subcontractors, generals, architects, builders of components for a building – we know what technologies will help you drive into the future.”

What Atom ERP offers contractors

Atoom’s breadth is considerable – starting with the general ledger, which makes it a direct competitor to Sage’s construction ERP products, Trimble Overlook and when augmented by Independent Software Vendor (ISV) solutions, Microsoft Dynamics, oracle or even SAP. Thanks to modest venture funding and more aggressive organic revenue acquisition, Odoo is insulated from some of the financial ups and downs that afflict big tech companies, and yet is estimated at approximately $3.3 billion. Among the intangibles that Odoo brings to the table for customers are the Odoo Community Associationa non-profit organization that aims to “help members build lower-cost, more successful Odoo solutions faster, with easy access to quality apps and open upgrades.”

Odoo provides core ERP functionality covering a wide range of business functions from finance, sales, human resources, marketing, services including project delivery, inventory and material requirements planning. There are tools for productivity management, data ingestion from the Internet of Things (IoT), and a website builder. Just like Salesforce and large ERP providers like Microsoft with its Dynamics products and oracle With oracle Cloud, Odoo opens its platform to Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) like Blackware, who can extend the solution to vertical industries and niche use cases.

In finance, Atoom ERP will leverage the underlying Odoo automation capabilities for invoice management, invoicing policies such as the Invoicing Directive adopted by the Council of the European Union, disclosures and approvals, payroll and purchasing.

Atoom comes to market with features and processes that can be configured for:

  • Real estate developer, which puts it in the same category as Sage Real Construction and Real Estate, but with the modern SaaS architecture about as modern as the flagship Sage Intacct for Construction
  • Installed and uninstalled distributors adding inventory capabilities for multiple warehouses
  • Fabrication including prefabrication/offsite construction or mixed fabrication, installer/fabricator and engineer-to-order fabrication
  • Provision of services including architecture, engineering, construction project management, estimation and design
  • Specialty and commercial contracts, including facades, interiors, foundations, HVACR and mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) work
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