Profoss / Events / November 2008 ERP / Speakers / Pierre Spilleboudt / Pierre Spilleboudt interview

Pierre Spilleboudt interview

What's your daily job, and how is it related to open source ERP?

I launched Audaxis in 2001 because I was convinced that the proprietary vendor model would not no longer match our customers expectations and that the open source was the right path to serve my customers. I’ve looked into the market and selected Compiere which I decided to bring to the European market.


I am an entrepreneur. Prior to founding Audaxis, I have founded a service organization which brought QAD’s ERP to the European market. My daily job consists of keeping an eye to new technologies and in the neartime manages large scale implementations mostly based on Compiere. I select new technologies based on customer’s requirements instead of market requirements.

You will talk about how to evaluate and choose an Open Source ERP system for the enterprise. How is choosing an open source solution different from choosing a proprietary one?

Choosing an open source solution requires predisposition towards innovation. You have to be “inquiring”. Open source is a model where all information is available but you have to do the effort to go through it. No one will come to you and try to convince the solution is the best one for you. You have to feel it, to test it. Do you have to cross cultural barriers? It is much more comfortable (but certainly more risky) to buy a brand.


This is why proprietary vendors are still so successful. Their approach is more emotional than based on real life requirements.

Is your approach based on real life experience, and does it still evolve to integrate new findings?

Our approach is 100% customer focused. We build enterprise applications from customer requirements. We do not develop new features if not requested and funded by customers.


Is it a method that can be generalized to other software?

Certainly. The current financial crisis demonstrates that more than ever, customers need to be the only drivers in product development. Product development based on marketing or investors strategy have no future to my mind. What is the biggest challenge facing a company evaluating open source software?

Biggest challenge is to walk away from traditional evaluation process. Some managers feel insecure with new approaches. They might not be for this reason good candidates for open source. Evaluating open source ERP solutions requires investment, you need to spend time in understanding the solution.


No one can do it for you, certainly not a vendor who would braised your judgment as he is interested in license revenues.


What is the biggest challenge facing a company selling services around an open source ERP solution?


The biggest challenge is to stay at the leading edge. You need to invest in the application documentation, corrections and be ahead of companies who request services from you. As they can access the application from day 1, the have the ability to build deep and challenging knowledge on the application.


Has the time arrived that people make pragmatic choices?


People now have the ability to do it at least…


Is there competition with other open source ERP solutions?

No, our competitors are SAP and Microsoft