Odoo Customisation Risks and Benefits
The risks and benefits of Odoo ERP customisation.

If you've been struggling to find a global-based ERP system to fit your business, a customised ERP solution may be the only way to go. Custom built or customised ERP software is capable of meeting business needs that off-the-shelf software is unable to. Inevitably allowing you to incorporate features unique to your business and how it operates rather than trying to fit the scope of an out-of-the-box solution. 

Odoo is a powerful business management solution, designed to facilitate every business process in a single app. You name it, Odoo aims to solve it. 

What makes Odoo different and suitable for businesses from such a wide scope of industries across the globe is the ease in which the software can be customised. Odoo's framework is designed for building business processes, making it so much more than an ERP or CRM.

Every business has their own way of doing things that no software suite can give them out-of-the-box. Often times it is also these unique processes that make up a business's competitive advantage. The value in Odoo is in the little tools that make a big difference to one company.

Odoo customisation allows for customised processes to be built which would be next to impossible to build on any other platform.

Laptop and mobile showing Odoo user interface

There are two sides of Odoo customisation to consider:

  1. Odoo Development and Customisation: Software developers have access to Odoo's open source code. This allows the software to be further developed and customised, to add or alter functionality to suit the most complex and unique requirements. 
  2. Odoo Studio: Odoo studio is a feature which provides a codeless, drag and drop user interface to allow tweaks and custom app development with zero coding experience. Let’s say, as a user of Odoo you wish to make changes as small as editing a field or view within your system. This is entirely possible through Odoo studio, without the requirement (and spend) on programmers or developers.

Odoo Customisation

The reason Odoo customises so well is two fold. 

Firstly, Odoo is open source. Every line of code for Odoo Community is available online, free of charge for any developer who wishes to access it. This allows developers worldwide to see why and how Odoo does what it does with nothing hidden from view. Notice however, we called this Odoo Community. This is the free (more basic version) of Odoo which is great to download and get familiar with to gain a good sense of how Odoo works. Odoo Partners however, get this same open source luxury with Odoo Enterprise (the souped-up, proprietary version). So even though it is proprietary software, as an Odoo Partner we can play around with and dissect every line of code that we wish. Whatever it takes to deliver dependable functionality to meet your business goals. 

Secondly, Odoo's modular design means that each module is built in the same way that customisations are. One module is built in the exact same way as any other Odoo module. This is important because it means freedom in module customisations. Most ERP platforms are built in a way that treats their entire system as the priority and any customisations are treated as a second priority. Netsuite for example, will allow for customisations to be built using their proprietary language called 'Suite Script' which controls what programmers are allowed to customise. This generally means that you may be able to add functionality, but you may not remove functionality because they are considered to be the priority. Odoo customisation therefore means nothing is impossible.

Odoo ERP development and customisation by an Odoo Partner therefore means you can build and implement a customised ERP solution that fits the unique needs of a business in a way that does not currently exist. Customising Odoo ERP takes a sound understanding of the technical and functional environment of the entire Odoo ERP system. This takes considerable resource to achieve, ensuring full product knowledge before Odoo custom development can be offered as a service. 

The distinction between Odoo Community and Odoo Enterprise is often not made, leading to troublesome reviews. More often than not, where there are bad reviews or experiences that involve the customisation of Odoo, it is the result of customisations built within the free and more basic, Odoo Community. 

Customising Odoo ERP has its pros and cons and it is important to be fully informed to make the right decision for your organisation.

What is customisation in Odoo ERP?

Odoo ERP customisation refers to the ability to add, remove, or extend the functionality of Odoo's ERP software. Because Odoo is built on an open-source platform, developers and programmers all over the world have access to the source code of Odoo. This means that they can modify the code to suit the specific needs of an organisation.

There are many different ways in which customisation can be carried out in Odoo ERP. For example, developers can create new modules that add new functionality to Odoo, or they can modify existing modules to change their behaviour. 

Odoo Studio App Icon

Odoo ERP customisation provides you with the exact functionality that your business requires. Rather than choosing a software solution and moulding your business processes and workflows to fit, you have the ability to eliminate unnecessary features or add features by customising the source code to suit your needs.

This is an important benefit for many organisations and often the key driver in customers choosing Odoo as their ERP solution. The freedom to tailor and add functionality to meet the precise needs of the business today, with the added security of knowing that as the business grows and presented with new challenges, changes can be made to the system to suit evolving needs.

Odoo customisations will not always be necessary. In fact, Odoo’s suite of ERP modules suit many businesses as a straight out-of-the-box solution. That’s why it is important to work with an experienced Odoo Partner, who understands the complete functionality of each Odoo module, thereby having the discipline to identify when a customisation is (or is not) required.

If you needed further proof of Odoo’s adaptability to the business needs of any organisation from any industry, popularity is soaring worldwide. Boasting over 7 million users, 3 million of which joined in little over a year! That is growth!

But what does it mean to customise in Odoo? What types of code modification are we talking about here?

The answer depends on what you’re trying to achieve with your customisation. If you're looking to add a new feature to the software, then you’ll be coding at the API level – this refers to the modules, classes, and functions that are built into the Odoo web application. If, however, your aim is to modify how the default features of Odoo work, then you’ll be working at the module level – this refers to the classes and functions that are located within the code of the web application’s default modules.

Anyone can access the code at the API level; this is what makes it easy for programmers to write new software that interfaces with Odoo, as well as for end users to access and utilise the data stored in Odoo. However, in order to make customised changes to the look and functionality of Odoo, programmers need to have access to the code at the module level. This is where the core functionality of Odoo is located. The module level includes classes and functions that interact with the data stored in the database. Programming at this level enables developers to:

  • Change how data is displayed (e.g., present customers’ addresses in a map)
  • Change how data is stored (e.g., only store partial customer details on the front end if users don’t need to see all of it)
  • Alter how functions work (e.g., enable payroll taxes for new types of employees)

Examples of Odoo customisation:

We have literally hundreds of examples of how customising Odoo has improved our client businesses. Here are just 2 examples:

  1. GoSweetSpot Odoo integration: A great example of a localised solution to enable our client to handle shipping much better and faster. We integrated our client system with the third party shipping app GoSweetSpot. This customisation enables them to automatically populate the shipping app with order information and print shipping labels without any manual interference.
  2. Xero Odoo integration: Wedoo's Xero Odoo integration is perfect for businesses who already use (and like using) Xero's accounting software. Rather than change what is working, our custom built integration allows for an ERP solution to built with Odoo, using the applications required to meet the immediate needs of the business while utilising Xero for the accounting functions. This allows for Xero to be replaced by Odoo Accounting once the need arises. We have found this to be crucial for growing businesses who often have all of their finance needs met with Xero software and it is not until the business grows and becomes more complex that the software needs to be transitioned over to Odoo Accounting.

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