Your small business cannot stand on spreadsheets and Google Docs alone. Those tools can certainly go a long way to keep you running, but eventually, you’re going to need the right software to expand your capabilities and make your daily work life more efficient. After all, a spreadsheet can only get so big before it becomes unwieldy.
So, where do you turn? The software can get expensive. Fortunately, there’s a large amount of open-source software ready to help empower your small business to the next level. Some of this software can even make it easier for you to better work with the likes of offshore software testing (such as BairesDev).
Let’s take a look at some of those open-source software titles that are ready to work for you.
What is open-source?
Before we dive into the actual software titles, you might benefit from understanding what open-source software is. At its most basic, open-source is a software licensing model that ensures every piece of software will not only include access to the source code but allow any user to modify the code and redistribute it along with the modifications.
This means you could take the code from an open-source project, modify it to perfectly fit your needs, and redistribute the code as a new project.
And open-source software is responsible for powering the majority of enterprise business backends, so it’s ready to serve you on a much smaller scale as well.
With that said, let’s take a look at some of the open-source projects that can give your business a boost.
At the moment, you might be saving all of your files to a desktop or laptop computer. That’s not wise. Because those desktops and laptops are used by employees that might not use them wisely, you run the risk of losing your data.
No business wants (or can afford) to lose data. So what do you do? You use a tool like Rockstor, which is a Linux-powered advanced storage solution. With Rockstor, you gain the advantage of an advanced Linux file system (BTRFS), which is perfect for storage, with an easy-to-manage web-based user interface.
Rockstor includes features like copy-on-write snapshots, vertical capacity scaling, a large collection of addons (called Rock-on), bitrot protection, file sharing, backup (with Apple Time Machine, and Windows Backup), clones, disaster recovery, and a customizable dashboard.
Rockstor is free (although some of the better addons do have an associated price) and can be installed on off-the-shelf hardware.
Nethserver is a Linux operating system built with small businesses in mind. Based on CentOS/RHEL, Nethserver is a modular platform which includes such features as a mail server and mail filter, web server, groupware (shared calendars, address books, emails), firewall, web filter, private cloud, and VPN.
Nethserver also includes a user-friendly web-based interface that makes it extremely simple to take care of common administration tasks. And because Nethserver is an open-source (with a strong community of developers), you can be sure it is frequently updated and improved.
Nethserver can serve as a multi-domain web server, built on the tried and true LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) stack, and even allows you to access folders directly from the web. And with the help of your own Cloud, you’ll enjoy your very own private cloud.
Although Nethserver is open-source, it does have an associated cost. For information about pricing, visit the Nethserver plan/feature matrix.
If you’re on the lookout for a private cloud solution, look no further than Nextcloud. But don’t expect this free, open-source platform to be limited to cloud storage. Nextcloud includes a ton of features that can help your small business explode with productivity and efficiency.
The latest iteration of Nextcloud (called Nextcloud Hub) includes a full-blown office suite, video conferencing, audio chat, shared calendars, tasks, data analytics, notes, and (of course) cloud storage.
Nextcloud also includes a robust app store, where you can add all types of features to the platform. And if you don’t find an app you need, you can always turn to your favorite offshore software development services to build the perfect addon.
Nextcloud is free and can be installed on off-the-shelf hardware, or you can even purchase a hosted instance by signing up with a hosted provider.
Your business needs management software to handle the likes of finances, services, operations, marketing, websites, sales, customers, and employees. One outstanding solution for that is Odoo.
Odoo might well be your one-stop-shop to take care of so many of your small business needs. With Odoo, you can build your websites, make use of a helpdesk, integrate IoT, manage documents, handle field service, track your inventory, appointments, and timesheets, and even use it as a Point of Sale. In other words, Odoo can just about do it all.
Although the Odoo base package is free to install, most of the installable apps (which actually expand the platform to be really useful) do have a monthly cost.
Finally, we have WordPress. Don’t mistake the open-source WordPress platform for the WordPress.com site. Although WordPress.com does use the open-source WordPress software, they are not one and the same.
For anyone who has used WordPress (of which the numbers rank in the millions), you know that it’s an incredibly powerful tool that can be just about anything. That’s right; today’s WordPress isn’t just for blogging.
With the right addons, WordPress can even be used as your e-Commerce solution, where you can sell everything from physical products, digital downloads, and even services. And with thousands upon thousands of available themes, there’s no end to what you can do with this tool.
Once installed, anyone with the slightest technical know-how can get this solution fine-tuned for your business.
WordPress is free and can be installed on off-the-shelf hardware.
You don’t have to spend your company’s entire budget on software. Here we’ve only scratched the surface of the open-source titles that are available to your small business. Take a look at these pieces of software and see if one is the perfect fit for your company.