Starting a business partnership with a new company can be tricky in many ways – cooperating with ERP providers in the most efficient way, getting the equipment ready, hiring staff, organizing learning systems, etc, and doing it all at the same time too. All those essential puzzle pieces seem to fall apart and refuse to fall into the place they are meant to be to complete the business picture one aspires to achieve. And yet, let’s take a look at this process being done step by step.
Currently we’ve made a few significant steps to become a partner of an ERP system provider, and this is our story.
Perhaps the first and the most challenging thing to do is to choose the right product for the partnership. Having had a proven experience with other ERP systems, we were carefully thinking about which new solution should be chosen to provide our customers with a truly outstanding experience. Strategically, we have decided to boost our menu with a few ERP systems to allow our clients to have a range of options to choose from. Among those already existing products we have Acumatica ERP, which we have been successfully integrating and customizing for the past couple of years, as well as a relatively new low-code platform Outsystems. We have been focusing on low-code and non-code platforms being the fastest in terms of development. Here we would like to share with you why and how we invested our resources into a new business opportunity as well as what we are getting.
Having conducted an investigation and selecting a few options, we started contacting providers’ representatives, and that was exactly the time when the most awkward thing happened. It turned out that not all of them were engaging fully and positively. Some representatives replied once and went silent. It was a clear sign for us suggesting that we are able to solve most of the customers’ problems ourselves, however, some system bugs should be solved by our provider and this is a bottleneck. Is it possible that a company which is not answering at this essential stage of new business attraction is going to help with our future requests regarding system bugs? It is, though we decided not to give them a second chance and not to even try further. All the rest of the analysis and points are available in our previous articles: The Future of Software Development and The Future Of No-Code Platforms #2 – Selection. As a result, we decided to develop Odoo as a new direction. It is not really a low-code platform, but seemed like a great business opportunity to us.
Starting a partnership requires investments and other resources, which could be time-consuming and complicated.
The points of this process are as follows:
Meetings and agreements
Our first meetings have been conducted by Partnerships & Alliances representative. He helped us figure out the modes of the partnership and their differences. Since then, we were looking for a perfect model for us and decided to go for an Official partnership package. This choice gave us the so much needed support and advice provided by the Odoo team. They arrange leads for us. The thing which I loved most regarding our communication was that we were able to schedule meetings without having to ask for the time availability, etc. Given the time difference, it was as comfortable as it could be. Odoo employees use Calendly which gives all the needed flexibility. Odoos Partnerships & Alliances representative assisted us in finding out the proper marketing strategy, the number of employees we needed, and helped in calculating the time it usually took to start working with clients.
Once we got the partnership, Odoo scheduled an intro meeting with our assigned Account manager. She split opportunities between partners and helped with leads. Opportunities are generated according to potential clients’ interest. Leads are split automatically based on their location. We’re located in New York and our leads are mostly from there. Now we have regular weekly meetings with our account manager, so we can cooperate and move effectively.
Some resources are available without personal meetings. For example, Partner onboarding video consists of all the essentials. It is the first thing we provided our new Odoo team members with.
Odoo software is available in 2 versions: Odoo Enterprise (licensed) and Odoo Community (open-source). Odoo Community is the core upon which Odoo Enterprise is built – and you can switch versions at any time. Odoo Community is completely free but on premises only.
Odoo Enterprise could be:
- On premises. It is an ideal solution for clients with data restriction policy.
- Odoo Online. Here we have limited development possibilities. This option is sufficient for small companies with clear and standardized business processes.
- Odoo.sh. It is the most flexible and modern type of hosting. It matches medium and big-sized companies or companies with complicated business processes. Odoo clients are usually pleased with its license cost whatever the hosting is.
Partnership cost as it is
Partnership package prices could be different depending on location and needs. We decided to go for an Official partnership rather than a Learning one. For the North America region we’ve been charged 3950 USD per year.
Hiring new employees
It takes a while to hire new staff. Luckily Odoo is very intuitive for users. So, once we’ve got our new team members, they absorb all the learning material productively. A lot of customization could be done without code knowledge, etc. Even a brand new app with different forms, reports and logically connected fields could be created using Odoos studio from the user’s side.
Having new staff on board challenges us to teach them in the best way possible. It is such an interesting task taking into account these new guys should become our first experts in the company, and we haven’t had this expertise yet.
There are different types of educational information available on Odoo’s website which is mostly free. We’ve created a learning plan with listed materials there.
Videos. They cover all the important points in videos and there is a checkpoint at the end of each part. So, it is good for our employees to watch and check whether they got the point correctly at that moment and not at the end of the whole topic.
Documentation. Here is the most complete source with all the user manuals. It gives an overview and all the details. It is not something you can learn by reading for the first time, but a kind of guide for the whole time of working with Odoo.
Technical training. We’ve hired an experienced Odoo developer with solid Python knowledge. This course is ideal for developers new to the Odoo environment or for IT professionals eager to learn more about the technical aspects of Odoo. It is payable, however it is part of our Partnership package cost.
Passing exams and getting certificates
Having learned all the materials from the previous points, we should get at least one certificate, as Odoo partners. It is our goal for now. The useful thing here is that our users can train themselves with a Sample test.
Apart from exams and certificates, we are building a new app for Odoo marketplace for the time being. It is something exciting for us as other Odoo’s partners have already built more than 20K of new apps and it was quite difficult to brainstorm new ideas here. But stay tuned and we will present our new product in one of our next articles.
From a partnership perspective, I’d like to say that to become partners could be a tough task but not with Odoo. Their partnership program is transparent, the system is self-explanatory, and all the steps are easy to follow.
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Oleksandra Mykhalko – Odoo Business Analyst