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Dolibarr vs. Custom ERP Development: What is Perfect Match for Your Business?

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Business owners want to make their businesses modern and keep up to date with the competitors on the market. That’s why they tend to implement software solutions to optimize their companies’ processes. One of the common and most effective solutions is the Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP system. There is a vast number of different ready ERP services that can be integrated into any business company. They also can be customized, taking into account the industry and company requirements. 

In this article, we will discuss one more ready-made ERP solution Dolibarr, its features, and compare a ready software solution to the development of a custom ERP and its benefits for your business. 

What is Dolibarr?

Dolibarr logo

Dolibarr is an open-source ERP service that can be implemented to manage its business processes and workflow. This service provides different modules that help automate some work processes on various servers like WAMP, LAMP, and MAMP.  Dolibarr is available for both – cloud and on-premise solutions. The installation process is rather easy, so you don’t need to code or involve technical specialists. Dolibarr can be modified according to business needs and requirements and implement such functions as communication, inventory and HR management, databases, etc.

Dolibarr Tech Stack

As we have already mentioned, Dolibarr is simple to install. Dolibarr is developed on the LAMP tech stack:

  • Linux
  • Apache
  • MySQL
  • PHP

It is also available for Windows, Ubuntu, Redhat, Fedora, Mint, and Mandriva. 

Key Features of Dolibarr 

So what makes Dolibarr different from other ready-made ERP solutions? We described the common features of this open-source service.

  • Point of Sale Interface 

This service supports a sales interface, mostly for stores and restaurants. It provides the drag-and-drop interface that helps users define rooms, tables, and floors so that orders can be assigned to a table. 

  • Double Entry Accounting

Dolibarr ERP provides the feature of creating accounts for each worker that contains main data about salaries, expenses, sales, etc., and sends it to the ledger table.

  • APIs and Hooks

Dolibarr ERP can be easily integrated with other applications available in your business using Hooks or APIs. It means that Dolibarr can be customized according to your needs. It also provides an embedded API explorer to generate URLs or test APIs.

  • Scheduling

Creating timesheets and setting deadlines are also available in Dolibarr ERP. This is a key feature as it is crucial to track the projects` or orders` status and schedule their launching or production. Users also can find more details about the projects and next tasks thanks to this feature.

  • Marketplace

It includes module builder assistant and centralizes all add-ons for functions extending as the number of workers grows.

  • Orders

As a common feature of ERP, Dolibarr helps manage and control the status of customers` orders. Users can set their own workflow according to company rules.

  • Expense Reports

This feature allows tracking all expenses made by workers and saves the receipts for all of them. It becomes possible with accounting function integration so that all expenses will be automatically visible on different users` accounts. Approvement or refusing the payments are available only to users with a particular rank and access level that can be set by you. 

  • Bank Reunion

This feature unites all company bank accounts to easily search for requested data or detect errors or details about payments.

  • Billing & Payments

Dolibarr provides the creation of custom payments and invoices. Users also can create reports from orders or contracts with customers. It can be done automatically, but users can always add more info manually. 

Blog articles about ERP solutions
Read about another ready-made ERP solution Dynamics 365 and ERPNext in the articles on our blog.

Advantages of Dolibarr

Besides, it is a ready-made solution that many companies can use; Dolibarr has a wide range of advantages to bring profit to your company. The common pros are integrating with other existing systems, matching the company needs, free access, and regular updates. It is also easy to install and customize according to your requirements. So let’s get more details about Dolibarr advantages: 

Customer Details
Dolibarr provides the opportunity of adding personal information about customers to the database. It also implies creating alternative contacts and shows the potential of the chance. Moreover, service users can create commercial offers, orders and track customers` prospects.
Dolibarr offers a particular set of features that can be customized according to your business needs. Among them are HR, sales, marketing and accounting management, invoicing, logistics, and others.
Avoid Double Entries
The accounting and HR management features give the ability to avoid double entries and reduce the number of errors made by workers as the system partly replaces them.
Easy Upgrades
Upgrading the ERP is more complicated than in a simple app as this system is implemented in the whole company and manages all departments’ workflow. Dolibarr provides a rather easy update to new versions with no losses.
Open Source
Dolibarr is an open-source ERP service, and you don’t have to pay for entrance. So this platform is considered friendly for developers and end-users as they can use it in their work and leave reviews about the user experience.
Available on All Platforms
To install Dolibarr, you don’t need the help of specialists as it has an auto-installer package. Moreover, it can be integrated into all existing operating systems with PHP backend architectures.
 Its open-source environment creates an ecosystem of partners who can assist users with customized features.

Disadvantages of Dolibarr

As Dolibarr is a ready-made solution, it can not match all your business needs perfectly. It has an imposing range of disadvantages and limitations if you want to implement it in your workflow. The cons are the following:

  •  Some modules don’t support Open Office templates.
  •  It does not allow users to create delivery notes directly.
  •  It isn’t easy to customize PDF reports.
  •  It doesn’t create backups automatically.
  • Tasks dependencies in projects
  • Payroll module
  • No native embedded Webmail, but you can send emails to contacts in Dolibarr with, e.g., offers, invoices, etc.

The main disadvantage of Dolibarr is that it has only desktop versions and not available for the iOS operating system. It shows that this ready-made ERP can not meet all demands for all business companies and industries.

Considering all pros and cons of Dolibarr, you can see that they are not enough to solve all your business challenges. That’s why we recommend paying attention to the development of a custom ERP from scratch that will be a perfect fit for your company. We described the main advantages of implementing a custom solution to decide whether you need it or a ready-made solution. 

What is Custom ERP Software?

Custom ERP system is a solution that will be integrated into your working environment. The main advantage of a custom ERP over the ready-made one is that it is fully adapted to all your business processes and you will not have to adjust something to it. Such a solution lets you address all your internal challenges, keep all data in one place, organize and automate the processes in your company, and even improve the client service.

Custom ERP offers a wide range of features that can be adjusted exactly to your company’s needs. There are no two absolutely similar ERPs, each custom solution is aimed to help your particular company. So it is understandable that the set of features in ERPs for various businesses will differ. However, we’d recommend you to pay special attention to the most useful and common ones: 

  • Easy integration options;
  • Hosting possibilities;
  • Scalability and flexibility;
  • CRM + Sales Management features;
  • Finance and Accounting options;
  • HR Management tools;
  • Inventory Management tools.
Custom ERP – is it worth the efforts?
Read more about developing a custom ERP system and all its pros in the article ERP: Definition, Types &Benefits on our blog. 

Top 5 benefits of custom ERP development

As you can see from the features we’ve named above, custom ERP is a multifunctional solution able to boost the productivity of your business on many different levels. It lets you organize work with documentation, clients, invoices, and many more. And this advantage is not the only one that should persuade you to consider custom ERP development. We have collected several crucial reasons why building a custom ERP is a good idea.

It improves productivity and customer service

If some routine and repetitive tasks will be automated, then your employees will be able to spend more time and energy on other more creative and useful tasks. Thanks to the custom ERP and its helpful options your employees can perform tasks better, more accurately, sensitively, and scrupulous. The more attention workers pay to tasks and their details, the higher quality of the services you get. So with ERP, you can focus on key business processes that value more than simple routine tasks that can be done by the computer and smart system.

As to customer service improvements, we can say that easy and fast access to customer information makes the service more productive and personalized. ERP always keeps the data up to date, so you will be able to avoid mistakes and inaccuracies in the information related to your regular clients. Also, ERP systems can have additional features like lead scoring that helps to search for good leads and track marketing campaigns’ statuses. This will let you attract targeted audience and arrange better marketing campaigns.

It collects the data for customized reporting

The main purpose of ERP implementation is to collect, manage, and maintain all information in one well-organized place inside the company so that each employee with the necessary rights can access it. Business projects, customer orders, employee data, daily operations, and even internal policies can be collected and saved conveniently. You can add an advanced search to ensure that it is really easy to access any data anytime (and even from any device).

Also, ERP systems can process all the data you add to them to generate customized reports. How can this feature help your business? Well, with accurate and holistic reports, your company can respond to complex challenges much more easily. By having real figures at your hand, you can alter your strategy or approach and improve what is needed.

As a bonus, the ERP system can offer you advanced forecasting which is even better than real reports. Predictions help to define the needs for certain actions (like additional investments, season sales, reduction of operation costs, etc.). ERP also helps to forecast accurately the risks and based on those forecasts you can thoroughly plan the new strategy and actions.

It helps to save costs

Human mistakes and various things that you had not taken into account can cause serious productivity and financial problems for your business. ERP system will let you reduce costs by replacing human resources in some work processes. As the result, you will be able to spend saved money on any urgent needs or on the growth of your business. ERP helps to build a smarter working environment and predict unnecessary financial risks that you can easily avoid.

On top of that, the ERP system optimizes and automates some work processes to make the routine job faster and more efficient. It also eliminates the possibility of errors and inaccurate data delivery that can cause critical problems for the business. ERP is a kind of additional assistant for the employees that helps to track all business processes.

It contributes to business scalability

Despite the number of departments it has, the business needs to be a whole well-organized unity. It is important to keep the collaboration between different departments synchronous. It is a critical business need as often projects involve several departments simultaneously, and they need to work in sync. It means uninterrupted sharing of information, constant communication, and productive collaboration. ERP helps to update the data in real-time to avoid mistakes between the different departments and make the work processes accurate.

Also, it is necessary to add that the ERP system can contribute to your company’s scalability since it grows together with your business. The bigger your organization becomes, the more requirements and features ERP adds. New employees mean new users and new data records. It is important to cover all amounts of new information and structure it. And with custom ERP it is possible since it could be expanded with time and you can add new options to it together with your development team.

It ensures data reliability 

The main advantage of ERP is its ability to access information from different locations and devices. It is extremely convenient taking into account the rising popularity of remote work. Smart ERP system may have cloud-based integration. Thanks to it, users will always be informed about the latest data updates and know the current situation in the company. As ERP improves data consistency, you can be sure that it is safe and has no errors. If you want to make it even more secure, you can set different data access levels for different departments and add built-in protection resources. 

Our expertise in ERP development

For more than 9 years of doing digital transformation for businesses, the Altamira team developed numerous ERP systems for different companies. We have worked with construction, aircraft selling, real estate, and many more other companies that needed reliable business management tools and ERP systems. Thanks to this experience that we’ve gained while building those projects, we can now speed up the development process and offer a really useful set of features suitable for this or that business type. So to match our words with our deeds, we’d like to share with you two great examples of ERP systems that we’ve built for our clients.

LEO – holistic ERP for a construction company

Our client came to us with a list of challenges that their company (Nelson Precast) experienced for more than 10 years. The company is involved in the manufacturing of construction materials and had to keep numerous processes under control. However, without a custom ERP system, they were unable to do this. The employees needed to perform repetitive data entry, they did not have a full-cycle tracking system, there was no way to analyze the performance and check KPI, manage the jobs and production processes. All this lead to numerous challenges and did not let the company speed up and automate client service and production.

So taking all client’s needs and requirements into account, we’ve developed a custom ERP system called LEO for Nelson Precast. The variety of options this system offers is impressive. Not only can users track the progress and add existing data in the system to use it whenever needed, but they can also manage jobs, assign them, set plans and track the progress and address all productivity issues on the go. LEO system will soon be featured in our Portfolio where you can find all details and descriptions of the great features that it got.

Little Apple – ERP for thecompany offering services for deaf children

ERP Little apple

Little Apple owners also struggled with numerous business challenges because they did not have well enough business management tools. ERP was a necessity for them since thanks to this software it became possible to run the day-to-day operations of the company in a more efficient way.  The company needed to efficiently manage clients’ information, track and control monthly invoicing and payments. And that is a lot of documentation that previously got lost or was filled in manually by the company employees and clients.

So the idea behind ERP was to create a software able to back up and keep all data in one place, make it easier to find any of that data whenever needed, unload employees by automating data entry and search, create a directory where all contacts of clients will be stored, send all invoices automatically and many more. The solution turned out just like our client wanted it and now he already uses Little Apple ERP. The feedback from the client was very positive and we’ve discovered that his company productivity has already increased drastically.


Dolibarr is an open-source ready-made ERP solution. It can be customized according to your requirements but it can not cover all work processes. Custom ERP is a perfect solution that will contain the necessary features and manage the whole workflow.
Our specialist made an MVP estimation of developing a custom ERP and the approximate price is $52000. It can vary depending on the set of features needed for managing the work processes.
Before the integration, you have to go through several key stages for successful integration with your business. Among them are training your employees, setting access levels to databases, defining main difficulties in the workflow, and solve them using this system, etc.

Custom ERP estimation

Our leading expert and experienced architect Evgen created an approximate estimation of the custom ERP system development. The numbers we provide show the price of the MVP with a basic set of features suitable for your business.  The total cost can differ from this estimation as it depends on the range of functions it will contain, the overall ERP complexity, integrations, and many more other factors. All functionality can be added with time, so to test your idea MVP is enough. The approximate cost of custom ERP system development is $52000. Check the table below to find out more details about the process of building.

DevOpsDev HoursTotal cost
Business Analyst130$4160
PHP backend600$16200
JS frontend400$10800
Scrum master270$6210


As you see, modern businesses can not handle the amounts of work without implementing smart software solutions. ERP system is a basic but necessary solution for optimizing your company workflow. It helps to manage and control every sphere and every department of your enterprise. The question is what to choose – Dolibarr or custom ERP? The answer is obvious. Developing a custom ERP can be quite challenging and complex. However, you need to understand that you invest once and forever. With the help of an experienced Business Analyst, you can easily define your company’s weak sides and build the strategy of solving them with ERP integration. Therefore, you can be sure that a custom ERP system will be a perfect match for all your needs.

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