by June 2, 2005 0 comments



If yours is not a large enterprise that can afford to buy an ERP solution, but you badly need one because it makes better business sense, there is good news for you. Compiere offers a free open-source ERP and CRM solution that can be implemented in just an hour’s time. You, however, have to buy an Oracle database and recruit ERP and Oracle experts, who can implement this solution to suit your needs. 

Compiere’s ERP has an integrated CRM functionality. Its core modules are General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Inventory, Order Entry and Job Cost. It simplifies your order processing and POS (point-of-sales), customer commerce and care, and manages your inventory and automates accounting. This article walks you through implementing Compiere ERP in your organization. 

Requirements
To run Compiere, you need to install Oracle 9i or above database and Java 1.4.2 SDK on the machine you want as your server. You can use either Windows 2000/2003 server for this. You can also run Compiere with Oracle Personal Edition and this can run on Windows XP (this is what we used). You can download Oracle 9i RC 2 (Personal Edition) from
www.oracle.com. To be on the safer side, perform a full install of Oracle 9i on this server. 

Direct
Hit!

Applies to: Mid-sized businesses

USP: Implement an open-source ERP and CRM solution 

Primary Link: http://compiere.org

Google keywords:
Open-source ERP and CRM 
On the PCQEssential CD:
\Sales and Marketing 

During installation, you will be asked to give the global database name and SID. In our case we used the ‘compiere.pcqlabs.net’ and ‘compiere’ as the global database name and SID respectively. Once the installation is complete, it will create a default database and this will be named ‘compiere.pcqlabs.net’. After this install Java 1.4.2 SDK, which can be downloaded from
http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4.2/download.html.  

Once these packages are installed, we proceed to configure the database before installing the ERP itself. 

Configuring connection for Oracle
Configure the Oracle 9i database, so that Compiere can use it for its back end. First of all, create a connection, which will help you connect your Oracle database to any front-end application. To do this, open ‘Net configuration Assistant’ from Start>Programs> Oracle-orahome92>Configuration and Management Tool. This will initiate a wizard that will help you to create a new connection. 

Select ‘Local Net Service Name Configuration’ and click on Next. Select Add and click on Next again. Now select ‘Oracle 8i or later database or service’ and click on Next. You will be asked for the name of the database service you want to connect to. Type in the global database name you had given during installation, in our case it was ‘compiere.pcqlabs.net’. After this, click on Next and define TCP as the protocol to use for connections. In the next step, you need to fill-in the hostname of the server running Oracle and then click on Next. Now it’s time to test the connection, so click on ‘Yes Perform a Test’ and then on Next. The test result should be successful.

Installation of the Compiere client using Compiere’s Web application 
interface is as simple as clicking on a button 

In order to use Compiere from all PCs from your network, you will need to install the Oracle client on those PCs as well. Use the Oracle client CDs for this. Once you are done with that, you need to launch the ‘Net Configuration Assistant’ on these PCs and configure them in the same way as we did above. We can now proceed to install Compiere.

Installing Compiere 
Once the database is ready, you have to set up Compiere on the same server. We have given Compiere on this month’s CD. Copy the Compiere_244. zip file to the target machine and unzip it to the C:\compiere folder. Compiere’s application server requires Java and you need to set up the Java environment for Compiere accordingly. 

To install Compiere you have to run a script from the C:\compiere\utils folder. Open a command prompt window and issue the command as follows. Verify the path of the Java SDK before you run the command.

C:\Compiere> cscript WinEnv.js C:\Compiere C:\j2sdk1.4.1_01

Configuring Compiere with Oracle
Go to the C:\compiere folder and double click on the ‘RUN_setup’ batch file. It will bring up a Java-based Compiere configuration screen. Here, set the WebPort to 8443 and replace the shown ‘Database Server’ value with the hostname of your Oracle database server. Set ‘Database Name’ to ‘compiere’. 

Creating an invoice with Compiere is easy and the details entered here make all aspects of it traceable later

On the same screen, come to ‘TNS Name’ and select the connection name created above in the ‘Configuring Connection for Oracle Database’ step (compiere.pcqlabs.net) Then, you need to set up a password for the system and the database, so that Compiere can connect to Oracle. When you’re done, click on the Test button to check the configuration. If all is fine, click on Save to save the settings. 

Creating tables in database for Compiere
Now we’ll create a data structure and demo users for Compiere. For this, Compiere provides you with a pre-defined database structure that you need to import in Oracle. To import the data structure, go to the utils folder and execute the ‘RUN_ImportCompiere’ batch file. This will open a command window and start creating data structures for Compiere. 

Running Compiere application server
Compiere is now ready with all the required data structures and demo users. To use Compiere, you have to first run its application server, which is based on Jboss application server. To run this, go to the utils folder again and double click on ‘RUN_ Server2’ batch file. It will start its application server in a command window.

Installing the Compiere client
After configuring the server, install a Compiere client on the client PCs. Now open a Web browser and type in the address of the Compiere application server. This runs on port 8443 of the machine you installed it on. In our case, it was http:// 192.168.1. 12:8443 . This will open the Compiere home page. Here from ‘eWeb Start’ section click on the ‘Web Start’ button. It will install the Java-based Compiere client. Once, it is installed, you have to configure the client. 

After installing the LDAP mod in your phpBB server you can authenticate users through your Windows 2000 machine

To do so, double click on Compiere client on the desktop and it will open a small window showing Host, User, password and Language. Click on the Host drop-down list and set ‘Application server Host name’. Also set the application port to 8443. Then in the same window, in the User/Password section give the password for the Compiere user- this will be the same password that we’ve set for the database in the ‘Configuring Compiere with Oracle section’ above. Now click on the ‘Test Application’ button to test the configuration. If the test is successful, save the settings by clicking on the green button with a check mark.

Using Compiere 
With this, the Compiere client is ready for you. To use it, give the demo username GardenUser and password GardenUser, and click on the button with the check mark. By default this demo user is authorized to HQ and Store (departments) only. But you can add more users and assign them other roles and departments.

Click on the button with the checkmark and you will get a Java-based interface running the Compiere ERP and CRM solution. 

On the left side of the window, you will be shown all the defined automated business process modules. Let’s take an example. Suppose, you want to create an invoice for a customer. From its interface select ‘Quote-to-Invoice’. Under this you will see a number of invoice modules. Double click on ‘Invoice Customer’. It will open a performa of a customer invoice. Here, fill in the details and the transaction will be automatically percolated in the sales book. Apart from this demo, you can create workflow and business rules for your own business too.

Sanjay Majumder

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