Odoo For Beginners: Features, Pricing, Core Modules, & Implementation Practices

If you’re new to the ERP market and seeking more insights into Odoo, this guide to Odoo for beginners is the first option that you should go with.

With this article, we aim to become a trusted companion on your Odoo journey by explaining the values it offers as a fully integrated app suite, breaking down the pricing, and guiding you through the first steps of implementation.

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Introducing Odoo & How It Solves Business Challenges

1. Odoo - A fully integrated business management system

Odoo is a complete suite of fully integrated business apps that are developed to automate and streamline multiple aspects of your organisation. These apps represent different business functions, from CRM, Sales, Accounting, and HRM, to Inventory, Manufacturing, Purchase, POS, and more.

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When we describe Odoo as "fully integrated," we mean that every app functions flawlessly with each other, and they share a single database. By minimising redundancies and data silos, this integration feature offers a centralised platform for controlling your business operations.

Helpful resources to understand Odoo:

2. What makes Odoo the best option for growing businesses

When companies expand, they frequently encounter many difficulties that may slow down the development and its effectiveness. Odoo has an all-in-one feature that can tackle these issues right away if you're aiming to grow and streamline your operations.

2.1 Fragmented Data Storage & Access

Multiple applications and systems result in fragmented data storage, which makes data access and analysis across departments more challenging. Do your employees have to spend more time looking up information or resolving data inconsistency? This daily scenario results in much less working productivity.

With standalone solutions, the lack of integration for different business functions such as accounting, CRM, and inventory management, leads to inefficiencies and redundant data. Employees must manually enter data into multiple databases, creating fragmented data storage.

→ How does Odoo solve the problem well?

Odoo's apps work together flawlessly with a single database and smooth data flow between modules. The system helps eliminate data silos and offers a centralised platform for managing business operations from CRM and Sales to Inventory and Purchasing.

2.2 Time Redundancy On Admin Tasks

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Repetitive admin tasks and manual data entry take up a lot of employee's time and reduce their overall productivity. Employees spend around 58% of their time on work-related tasks rather than their main responsibilities (Australian HR Institute). Data entry, status updates, and department-system interaction are a few examples of these admin work.

→ How Odoo solves the problem well:

Thanks to Odoo's smooth automation and integration features, businesses can streamline processes, minimise duplication, and increase workforce efficiency. For example, when a sales order is created in Odoo's Sales app, the system quickly generates a delivery order in the Inventory app. This action thereby updates the stock levels and, if stock runs low, it will initiate a purchase order (PO) in Odoo's Purchase app.

This automation offers real-time visibility across multiple areas while also saving time and reducing errors. As Odoo helps control order status, inventory levels, and purchasing requirements, managers can make well-informed decisions and respond quickly to flexible conditions.

2.3 Heavy ERPs & high implementation costs

Traditional ERP systems typically have a high cost and complexity but low flexibility - which is quite costly for growing businesses. These systems usually require high up-front costs, extensive customisation, and ongoing maintenance.

→ How Odoo solves the problem well:

Odoo is suitable for companies of all sizes because of its customisable system with affordable pricing compared to traditional ERPs. According to Boston Consulting Group, open-source software reduces a considerable amount of costs and prevents vendor lock-in. The significant decrease in the total ownership cost is a major plus for growing companies on a tight budget.

Furthermore, because Odoo is open-source, businesses can access and adjust the source code to meet their unique needs. This offers more flexibility and customisation capability. You may find this very helpful if your business has specialised or unique processes that traditional solutions cannot support well.

2.4 Lack Of Flexibility

The lack of integration in stand-alone solutions hinders the efficiency and growth of businesses. This leads to inefficiencies and potential disruptions, and businesses might be forced to adjust their operations to match the software.

→ How Odoo solves the problem well:

Odoo has a modular architecture, which means that you can start with a few basic modules first, and then add more when your business grows. This way, when you’re scaling, you can customise the system flexibly and only pay for the features you need. Let’s discover more about Odoo’s pricing model in the following section.

Breaking Down Odoo Pricing & Services

1. Odoo pricing

1.1 The Odoo Community version

Odoo Community is a complete open-source version and you don't need to purchase the licence to use it. Although the version is free, it includes almost all essential business apps such as CRM, Accounting, Invoicing, POS, E-commerce, MRP, and more. However, when compared to Odoo Enterprise, the version somewhat has limited app features. 

1.2 The Odoo Enterprise version

This version comes with 3 pricing plans as below:

  • One App Free: 0 AUD
  • Standard: 34,4 AUD/user/month (annually)
  • Custom: 52 AUD/user/month (annually)

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Odoo Enterprise pricing

Firstly, the Free plan allows you to use 1 app for free with unlimited users. However, there is an exception that you can use more than 1 app for free. If you select an app that requires integration with other apps, you also get these required apps for free (i.e., the Attendances app requires the Employees app; the E-commerce app requires Website and Invoicing apps). Therefore, you can start with any app, and regardless of the app's dependencies, its usage will always be free for unlimited users.

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Secondly, when choosing one of the Paid plans, you can access multiple apps for a single price. Each paid plan provides different pricing level based on 2 main elements:

  • The number of paying users: The cost is based on the number of paying users you have, so you will only pay more when adding more paying users.

A paying user is considered an employee who has access to the Odoo backend to generate, read, or edit documents. For example, a paying user can be your accountant who needs access to the Odoo Accounting app to work on financial tasks. One is not considered a paying user (or external user) can be a supplier that has access to their invoices on the portal.

  • Customisation capabilities: The Custom plan has more customisation capabilities than the Standard one.

The Custom plan is mainly built for businesses who need to customise Odoo using APIs, custom workflows, or Odoo Studio; and who wish to manage multiple companies on a single database.

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Included & not included services in Odoo Paid plans (source: Odoo)

1.3 Odoo Community vs Odoo Enterprise

As mentioned above, when compared to Odoo Enterprise, Odoo Community has limited app features. Odoo has listed all the differences in features between the two versions:

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Odoo Community vs Odoo Enterprise (source: Odoo)

2. Benefits of Odoo subscription

Odoo is popular and recognised across companies of many sizes and sectors. Unless you’re a new business that just started making several sales a month, subscribing to Odoo’s Paid plans brings the most advantages for users:

  • Extra Apps & Features: Odoo Enterprise comes with advanced features and apps like Accounting and Payroll, or PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) that aren't included in the Odoo Community.
  • Frequent Updates & Security Patches: These services are to keep your Odoo instance secure and up to date.
  • Professional Help: Enterprise members get access to extensive functional support.
  • Mobile Compatibility: You can access Odoo on both Android and iOS devices.
  • Hosting Assistance: Odoo SA provides official support for public and private cloud hosting.

Exploring Odoo Core Modules

With Odoo's all-inclusive application suite, you can handle a variety of tasks and manage your operations from a single, integrated platform. Here is a summary of the main Odoo apps:

1. Sales & CRM

Odoo CRM & Sales apps provide helpful tools to help you manage leads and customer relationships with ease. By storing sales and customer data in one place, these apps provide effective workflows that let you improve customer engagement and sales procedures, gaining greater insights into sales performance.

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Odoo CRM dashboard

Key features:

  • Automated quotation and order management, converting orders into invoices upon customer payment
  • Lead and opportunity assignment based on predefined criteria (i.e. geographical location, product line, etc.)
  • Automated follow-up and communication based on time triggers or specific customer actions
  • Sales commission tracking by seamlessly tracking commission line items on sales orders.
  • Effective lead and opportunity management with a clear view of the sales pipeline and deal progression
  • Real-time sales forecasting, visualisation, and reporting
  • Sales activity scheduling based on predefined scripts, including calls, meetings, mailings, and quotations
  • Holistic customer insights such as viewed website pages, received emails, and other customer interactions
  • Team activity tracking through a concise overview, including logging calls, sending quotes, or other actions

2. Inventory & MRP

Odoo Inventory and Manufacturing apps help you track product movements, maintain stock levels, and streamline production schedules. By giving your business complete access and control over production and inventory processes, these apps enable you to cut down on waste, increase operational efficiency, and minimise stockouts.

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Odoo MRP dashboard

Key features:

  • Seamless inventory tracking across the entire supply chain with Odoo's smart double-entry inventory system
  • Lot and serial number traceability in both upstream and downstream directions across your supply chain
  • Automated requests for quotations (RFQs) that trigger automatic procurement proposals (PO, manufacturing orders, etc.) when stock levels fall below predefined thresholds
  • Flexible & automated inventory routing for complex inventory routing needs, such as multiple warehouses, drop-shipping, and cross-docking
  • Demand Forecasting based on existing sales orders, purchase orders, manufacturing orders, and other relevant data
  • Comprehensive manufacturing order management with automated order creation, define routing and work centres, and schedule operations efficiently
  • Complex Bill of Materials (BOM) management, define product structures, track components, and manage revisions effectively
  • Integrated Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) to manage engineering changes efficiently across multiple departments
  • Preventive maintenance and asset management, track equipment downtime, and manage repair operations effectively
  • Performance monitoring and reporting with real-time dynamic reports on stock levels, product turnover, inventory valuation, Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE), Mean Time to Repair (MTTR), and Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF).

3. Purchase & Vendor Management

The Odoo Purchase app is built to optimise the procurement process. It simplifies the creation of purchase orders (PO) and tracking of vendor performance. With this app, you can boost your supply chain efficiency, save more money, and build stronger vendor relationships.

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Odoo Purchase dashboard

Key features:

  • Vendors & purchase orders (POs) management in a single data hub
  • Automated requests for quotation (RFQs) generation based on stock levels
  • Smart and automated vendors' price lists and references imports
  • Up-to-date insights into product availability and order status within a dashboard
  • Purchase tenders initiation, integrated vendor response, proposals evaluation, and simplified PO sending
  • Flexible reporting with insights for vendor performance (i.e. delivery delays, negotiated price discounts, quantities purchased, etc.)
  • A single Odoo instance to synchronise operations between multiple companies or warehouses.

4. Project Management

Odoo's Project app makes it easier for your teams to work together, keep track of tasks, and monitor project progress. Whether you're managing in-house or external projects, this app provides a centralised hub for project teams to sync their work, streamline workflows, and deliver projects on time and within budget.

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Odoo Project reporting dashboard

Key features:

  • User-oriented interface for modern project management
  • Customisable project management tools, using stages, property fields, tags, priorities, and color codes
  • Multi-project management with multi-project analysis and searches
  • Automated actions and workflows based on user actions or predefined frequencies (i.e. creating records, assigning tasks, sending notifications, etc.)
  • Automated Task Management using email aliases, web forms, etc.; assign tasks to members, add followers, set dependencies, create subtasks, and more
  • Gantt chart and resource planning to manage tasks on a timeline, track deadlines, progress, task dependencies, and effective resource allocation
  • Effective chatter feature to centralise all project-related actions, communications, and file sharing; integrated email, SMS, and customer surveys
  • Project reporting and analytics to analyse task performance, monitor budgets, and track time spent on tasks with customisable dashboards.

5. Accounting & Finance

The Odoo Accounting app offers a range of features to help you manage your financial operations effectively. With these modules, you can centralise all your financial data and streamline accounting processes. This allows you to keep up-to-date financial records and gain more strategic insights into your financial performance through real-time reporting and analytics.

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Balance Sheet in Odoo Accounting

Key features:

  • Quick access to the customer portal for seamless payment processing
  • Automated notifications to collect overdue payments
  • Multi-currency support with an automated exchange rate
  • Efficient incoming and outgoing batch payments management (i.e. SEPA Direct Debit, SEPA Credit Transfer, etc.)
  • Payment provider compatibility (i.e. Stripe, Authorize.net, Ogone, PayPal, Adyen, etc.)
  • Prompt reconciliation suggestions and registration of extra journal items
  • Real-time financial reports with a holistic view of the financial stand
  • Establish budgets, manage expenses, and compare actual performance with budgeted targets.

6. Human Resource Management

Odoo Employees, Recruitment, or Payroll apps are designed to help your HR teams monitor different aspects of human resource management. This suite of HRM apps assists you in optimising HR procedures, improving employee interactions, and ensuring compliance with labour regulations.

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Presence reporting in Odoo Employees

Key features:

  • Manage employee data in a single hub
  • Automated leave requesting, approving, and tracking
  • Manage the entire recruitment process, from sourcing candidates to contract handling
  • Quickly enter and track expenses and bills for employees
  • A dashboard of expenses that requires actions, prompt review and approval for managers
  • An appraisal system to elevate the workforce and promote excellence

7. Website & E-commerce

If you're looking to build professional websites or online storefronts, Odoo's Website Builder and E-commerce apps are great tools that can help you manage online sales and marketing activities. When integrated with other Odoo apps, these apps allow you to create a seamless online presence that synchronises with your back-office systems, simplifying procedures while providing a consistent customer experience.

E-commerce orders in Odoo Website

Key features:

  • Intuitive website creation with Odoo's AI-powered website configurator
  • Drag-and-drop & customisable building blocks to create unique website layouts and integrate dynamic content
  • Powerful E-commerce features such as product variants, comparators, multiple pricelists, subscriptions, digital product sales, etc., and integrations with eBay and Amazon.
  • Multi-website and multi-language support from a single database
  • Effective marketing tools like visitor tracking, targeted content, email marketing campaigns, promo codes, and e-wallet integrations.
  • Seamless shopping experience boosters like search bars, product categories and filters, wishlists, easy checkout processes, and customer portals
  • Robust payment options (i.e. Stripe, Paypal, etc.) and shipping Integration (i.e. DHL, FedEx, and more)
  • Comprehensive analytics, customisable dashboards, and seamless analytics integration (i.e. Google Analytics and Plausible) to gain valuable insights into website performance, sales data, customer behaviour, and marketing campaign effectiveness.

Getting Started: The Odoo Implementation Journey

Many companies struggle to determine how to start an Odoo project. They tend to focus on the initial selection and go straight into the installation while overlooking the importance of setting a strategic foundation. As a result, their projects exceed budget and fail to meet the expected objectives.

Based on our experience with previous projects, we have highlighted the key processes for a successful Odoo implementation below:

1. Careful Planning & Preparation

  • Set up a project team
  • Select a locally experienced partner for Odoo implementation
  • Business Process Mapping & analysis
  • Define goals, scope, success factors, and risks

2. Develop The Project Roadmap

  • Select apps & design custom solutions through Fit-Gap analysis
  • Create an implementation roadmap (data migration, configuration, customisation, testing, change management, go-live, maintenance)

3. Create A Data Management Strategy

  • Prepare for data requirements & custom data model design
  • Migrate data & integrate across apps
  • Manage data access controls
  • Ongoing data maintenance & updates

4. Measure & Optimise Performance

  • Define SMART objectives
  • Identify key processes
  • Select relevant KPIs
  • Establish data collection
Learn the details: A Guide To Winning Odoo ERP Implementation (With Real-World Cases)

Start The Journey With A Reliable Implementation Partner

If you make it here in this guide to Odoo for beginners, you are ready to take the next step in your implementation project. Odoo was developed to be user-friendly, and by spending an efficient time exploring, you can discover how Odoo drives businesses forward. 

The Odoo's user community provides a range of diverse support. However, with Havi Technology as an Odoo Official Partner, you can overcome any obstacles and harness the complete capabilities of this platform even more. Let us analyse your business processes and create a strategic implementation roadmap that is tailored to your unique requirements.

References:

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