When starting a new OFN chapter, or a new hub, we need to find the good admin tools to operate our businesses.
Especially, appart from what already does the OFN platform, we need, depending on our business model of course:
As a chapter/instance manager:
- to collect membership fees: can or not be linked to the use or OFN. In Norway it’s not linked, anyone can be a member and support the non-profit which is running OFN. To do that we need to know who are our members and be able to send single or batch invoices (without having to send them one by one), so we need a system to generate and send invoices.
- to collect the fees from the hubs using OFN: again, depending on our business model, it can be a fix price, or a commission on sales, or a mix of both. For that we need to know from OFN who are the users, if they are members or not (in Norway the users who are members pay only the 2% commission on sales, if you are not member you have a fix amount per month on top) so it needs to be connected somehow to the members management, and we need to know each month what hub has sold for how much and generate and send an invoice to the hub, check if they have paid, etc.
As a hub manager:
- to send an invoice to the buyer with the details of the products ordered (legal requirement) > this can’t be done today through OFN (in development to connect with Xero, but Xero doesn’t seem adapted to Norway yet)
- to do the legal bookkeeping & accounting, so each time I send an invoice or pay a supplier, I need to enter that in an accounting system. That would be awesome if that could be integrated, of course.
- to be able to manage the relationships with my buyers and other stakeholders.
Connection with accounting… but why not an ERP? Or a global connecting tool like Zapier?
I saw the recent discussions on Xero, but it doesn’t seem that Xero covers the Norwegian specificity yet, as no one is using it here (the local equivalent is called Fiken).
But more broadly, there is another need that is not covered yet by OFN, which is about contact management (CRM) and I’m wondering if that would be possible to connect OFN with an open source ERP like Odoo for example (ex OpenERP), so that when someone order through a hub, a new contact is created in the CRM, the products from Spree can be synchronized with the products in Odoo and the invoices automatically generated and sent by email to the buyers through Odoo, and info can be updated in the contact entry that this person has ordered that day and invoice attached (for which you can also manage tags for the different type of contacts you have, members or not, new buyers, etc.)
It seems that Spree and Odoo may be intergated with one another… Or maybe it’s not yet developed, I’m not sure (http://odoo-connector.com/index.html?highlight=spree, https://www.odoo.com/fr_FR/forum/help-1/question/openerp-spree-connector-41034)
Or else, would it be possible to “connect” OFN with any system using for example Zapier (https://zapier.com/zapbook/, it can connect with Spree: https://www.marketingtechblog.com/zapier-workflows/), which by the way can connect with Xero also… That could for example be a way to connect OFN with a CRM on one side and an accounting system on another side (if no ERP integration).
Finding the balance between mutualization & independance
I think the hubs should be free to keep their existing systems and export datas from OFN or connect them through Zapier for example to “automatize” the export/import of datas. But for some hubs, and new hubs starting, that can be a great value added to propose a package including all what is needed to administrate your hub. And I was wondering if connecting OFN with an open source ERP could be something to think about…