Axelor is a low code & BPM platform having a huge number of business apps and modules. It is one of the best open source alternatives to traditional ERP software due to the business use cases it can fulfill and the features it provides, as you’ll see later in this review
Many open source business platforms systems exist as they are the main alternative for the proprietary ones, but few of them excel in their task. Today, we’ll take you in a detailed review of Axelor; An open source business platform system that was released as open source in 2012.
Axelor is written in Java and licensed under the AGPL license. It is a modular platform that replaces traditional ERP systems and contains modules for CRM, sales, finances, project management and much more. Some of its features are:
- It offers separate specialized modules for every business aspect.
- Has very deep functionality on the module level.
- Compatible with GDPR by design.
- It has a modern graphical user interface. Works well on smartphones (Responsive design).
- Works on Windows, mac and Linux machines.
- Fully open source, and users wishing to use it further can request a custom SaaS.
We’ll explore Axelor and its most important aspects.
Installing Axelor Business Platform
One of the nice things about Axelor is that everything is documented in their documentation database. You can find installation instructions on many platforms available on their website.
However, the best way we found to install Axelor and quickly give it a try is via their Docker container:
docker run -it -p 8080:80 axelor/aio-erp
Then if you just head to localhost:8080 you would see the local image working. With a username and password of admin:admin, you would be able to login to the system:
As you can see, Axelor allows you to choose what modules you would like to work with after installation. This makes it easier on companies to just pick the apps they want instead of installing everything.
General Workflow of Axelor
There are many modules supported by Axelor; You have sales, projects, stocks, accounting, recruitment… And much more up to 31 different apps, all bundled inside Axelor. We for sure won’t be able to cover everything, but we’ll take you in a general workflow of how business management is done in Axelor:
Axelor is offering an integrated BPM (Business Process Management) module, which doesn’t only allow you to modify the existing processes of all existing modules, but also to create new processes using a beautiful designing tool.
The BPM and the low code platform associated easily allow you to create business applications combining the functionalities of many available modules in Axelor:
Let’s start with a general overview of the CRM module (Customer relationship management):
You’ll see a live view of the leads in your business, which you can adjust to show you the available/best current opportunities for you to take. Axelor then allows you to decide by yourself whether you should take that lead or not:
A better view of all the available opportunities in your business exist:
Notice that in the toolbar, there are options to:
- Add new leads.
- Mass update all the leads by a specific field.
- Print generated reports from selected leads.
- Search for something.
- Assign leads to other people.
- Import leads from a .CSV/XML data source.
Axelor automates the creation of customers profiles you dealt with through your company in a nice way for you to view. You can choose to export all your data into a CSV/Excel/XML file too, if you wish to:
Notice that the individual customer page shows you everything about that customer; Money transactions between you, their contact information, invoices, leads and opportunities related to them, emails between you and them and much more:
You can assign a lead to an employee in your company, and add extra updates/information to it any time. You can also send a quotation for each customer you want individually, and that is covered in the next section.
When you choose to send a quotation to a customer, you can enter all information related to that quote in Axelor (Price per unit, margin, delivery time, tax info… etc) and then process it through many phases before finishing (E.g you can send quote 1, quote 2… etc with updated information if you would like) until you finally rest on a final version:
Notice how in the toolbar, there are options to:
- Attach files to the quote (PDF and others).
- Print report / print performance report.
- Export to Microsoft Word/Excel.
- Schedule an event related to the quote.
- Send an email to customers.
- Use the current quote as a template for future quotations.
The scheduling feature is particularly useful, say when you want to have a call with the customer to discuss the quote details on further date:
A history of all the sales you made is available, beside information on them:
Axelor offers a module for complete project management. Typical project management options are available just like any other PM software; Progress, assignment, tasks, due dates, progress, attachments and similar type of information:
Tasks for projects can be managed in a Kanban board, where you can drag-and-drop tasks to different columns according to their status, and attach different types of attachments to them and assign them to people in your company:
What’s interesting is that there’s an integrated wiki system inside the project management module. So you can for example create different wiki pages for each different project you have in your company:
One minor issue we found is that the description of the page is displayed in HTML format (The red underlined text), but that’s just a styling issue. The independent wiki page looks like the following:
This is useful in case you want to keep track of different important information for each project your employees work on, so that you don’t have to depend on external files or documents platforms to host your wiki pages.
You can manage all your invoices in one place in Axelor:
The available options in the toolbar to apply on the invoices are:
- Print the selected invoices.
- Validate the finances of the selected invoices.
- Ventilate the selected invoices.
- Merge multiple invoices together.
- See the customer invoice line related to the invoice.
- Email the invoices.
As usual, each invoice contains any fields you defined and you want to add, beside history information for modifications on the invoice:
There’s a “Reporting” section in the invoicing module to display graphs/tables and other data to you in a much summarized yet beautiful manner:
Finally, you can possibly generate reports of turnover according to specific fields you choose. And you can choose to make these reports be graph-based or table-based. You can also export it in PDF/XLS/ODB formats, beside other options on what data would you like to include in the report:
Axelor is full of other features that you would love. And what’s interesting about it is that it is very much business-driven; There are special modules for companies working in automotives, manufacturing, recruitment and more.
An average use case of Axelor would combine the basic modules it offers with the specialized extra modules it may need to fulfil its digital transformation.
Also, Axelor itself as a software is very configurable; You can change the available fields, views and default values and options for each type of modules you may want. So this gives you an unprecedented flexibility in customizing the software for your needs:
There’s a helpdesk module in Axelor for example, that allows you to receive customers tickets and manage them easily, beside seeing your progress in responding to these tickets:
There’s also a module for human resources management. Notice how deep the available functionality is on the left side of the screen, so just imagine the possibilities one can achieve with all of this:
Many other modules exist for literally everything.
And all of these features you essentially get for free, as Axelor is %100 open source 🙂
Call for Local Partners
After getting in touch with Axelor developers about their business platform, we were told that they are also looking for local partners in different countries around the world. So this could be an opportunity for many of you.
If you have the capability, you can for example take Axelor, add localization support for your own local language and then market it in your country/community to reach some possible customers for the business platform. Axelor developers told us that they are interested in such cooperation and that they could help, if anyone is interested in doing such business.
Theoretically, the potential out of this cooperation could be great, as many businesses in the Coronavirus age were forced to transfer into being fully digital, and they may lack some help in your country on how to fully achieve that. You could be the link between Axelor and the businesses in your country.
If you are interested, just give them a shot on their contact form.
Axelor could be arguably considered one of the best open source business platform systems out there, with its modularity and the deep levels of functionality it provides and yet with its very beautiful user interface… It sums up to be worth the effort of giving it a try on your local machines to test it out.
If you have any other comments or questions about Axelor, we would love to have them in the comments below.
Hanny is a computer science & engineering graduate with a master degree, and an open source software developer. He has created a lot of open source programs over the years, and maintains separate online platforms for promoting open source in his local communities.
Hanny is the founder of FOSS Post.
HEllo , you wrote 100% open source , it s not 100% because the mobile apps sources are not distributed today.
The mobile apps are additional clients not part of the ERP itself. Open the ERP from your browser and voala, it’s 100% open source.