Sunday Feb 19, 2023

PSA or ERP - paradigm and requirements analysis

I get a lot of questions about PSAs, ERPs, and overall paradigms related to core business software. This podcast summarizes things you should be thinking about in your software selection process.

After three years of investigating PSA and ERP options including spending a lot of money on software and payroll, the product we like is Odoo. Organizations using a PSA with add-ons approach are really missing the mark. There is no PSA that does project management well. None of them have accounting systems. Most of them are terrible at quoting. And they are all expensive. They also are all weak at analytics and business visualization or analysis.

So a company ends up paying for:

  • PSA
  • Quotewerks
  • Zomentum
  • eCommerce processor
  • Payment gateway provider
  • project management platform
  • QuickBooks or Xero
  • PowerBI
  • website hosting
  • Applicant tracking system
  • HR / people management system
  • email newsletter system
  • marketing automation platform
  • CRM
  • Social media marketing platform
  • and more

Whereas, a business could just get Odoo.

Let's look at a brief cost analysis.

Halo - $15,000/yr

Quotewerks or Zomentum $500/mo

QuickBooks or Xero $1300/yr

ConnectBooster $300/mo or more

Project management  $300/mo or more

ATS $5000/yr

HR system $150/mo/employee

Infusionsoft or Hubspot $1200/yr at least

Social media marketing  $200/mo

CRM - $300/mo


OR you could just stop all that nonsense.


Odoo. $47/mo/user.

Remember that this includes your website hosting too. And it turns out to be much better than WordPress, Joomla, or other smaller CMS.

What I find really hilarious is when I ask other business owners how much they are spending on all the components they use that spackle over the deficiencies in their PSA, they rarely know. It's like it is a financial hole in their business that they don't want to look at.


As of 11/22/2023, our 1 year Zoho subscription that we tried has been set for non-renewal. The primary basis for that was four wasted months of payroll, wasted time working with Zoho support, and wasted time working with Zoho consultants to try to get integrations with other modules in Zoho to work. The modules in Zoho One are designed to work independently. In order to get data to flow between them, integrations between the modules is required. We consistently found that those integrations between the individual Zoho modules did not work properly. We had other problems with it as well, but it became quite clear that Zoho One was not really an ERP because it is not foundationally designed with the premise that all of the modules are fully integrated automatically.

I looked deeply into Manage Engine ServiceDeskPlus for MSP also. I spent about a year on that investigation. I encountered a plethora of challenges with that and it still is a PSA-like mindset where ServiceDeskPlus cannot be a comprehensive business tool.

I encounter MSPs that use an outsourced helpdesk that requires the use of a specific PSA. I don't and won't outsource helpdesk for quality control reasons.

Overall, Odoo does everything better than ZohoOne. Odoo integrations are all there from the very beginning automatically integrated because it was designed as an ERP from day one instead of individual modules.

You can see a demo of Odoo at Be aware that there are more modules available than what is shown in the demo, but the demo will give you a good overview. Odoo training is online and free. The documentation is online and free. Support is included with paid subscriptions and we have found that support is effective. Conversely, we rarely had any success with Zoho support. Odoo is more intuitive with things just working and being able to be figured out oneself through the use of documentation, training videos, and just playing with the software.

We use the Maintenance module which is good for a facilities maintenance team. I wanted my team to be able to log time entries against particular maintenance tasks. In 2023, it is not possible for time entries to be applied directly on maintenance tasks that flow through to timesheets for payroll. When I put in a feature request, with Odoo, they responded very quickly stating that they were aware of the limitation and were also aware of the need and value. With Zoho, I would put in a feature request and get a response in 9 months. 

I think that Zoho is so busy writing new modules that they have little to no developer time allocated to making the ZohoOne integrated ERP vision a reality.

We spent a LOT of time trying to use the recruiting module in ZohoOne and found it to be an exercise in frustration. We had a lot of success with the Odoo recruiting module with only a few limitations.


The bottom line is this. Find just one thing you can use Odoo for that can justify the monthly fee for one user. Get in there and start using it.

We have some clients who are using just one module for free. I got one client up and running on the project management module in a couple hours and got the client trained on it.

Another client, we put on the website module. The feedback we get from clients emphatically is that it is intuitive and easy to use.

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Does it have a toletable customer facing client portal? Checked their website but couldn’t tell. Using Cloudradial at the moment, so imagine to work together it would use simple email parsing only.

Sunday Nov 12, 2023

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