My Personal Journey with Odoo

This blog post is about my own personal journey with Odoo ERP, how we came to find and ultimately decide on Odoo as our platform of choice in my previous business and the process we undertook in implementing Odoo as a means to increase our capability and streamline our business practices.

As an ERP platform, Odoo has not had the same level of market dominance within Australia that it has had overseas. While many people will be familiar with Oracle, MYOB and SAP, given Australia is yet to really harness the benefits of Odoo, I wanted to take the opportunity to provide my own personal experience with the software and provide an overview of what it was like to run a busy company while undertaking an Odoo implementation.

Following a long period of service in the military, I found myself working in a company in the resources and manufacturing sector working across Australia and PNG. This was my first exposure to a small to medium sized enterprise (SME), and coming from the tech heavy Defence sector, I quickly recognised that our business was doing things the hard way. Our business processes and procedures were disjointed, our applications were a hodge-podge collection of out-dated software, and our reporting and data capability could best be described as limited. After some discussion and much research and evaluation, it was determined that our business would greatly benefit from new software.

We landed on Odoo as the solution to our business needs and it exceeded all our expectations. The below blog details my personal experience with the software and the lessons we learned. I hope that you can use it to help inform your decision and hopefully reap all of the benefits and efficiencies that we did.  

Business start-state

When I joined the business, the first thing that became apparent was the disparate systems the company had adopted over several years. These numerous systems had been bought in, usually in response to a problem, and implemented in isolation, without any real consideration for how each system could or should interact and leverage off the other systems to inform the bigger picture and support the business to grow. As I’m sure many businesses can relate to, we had a suite of old excel spreadsheets replete with broken formulas and out of date information. Far from being alarmed, it made sense, people get busy in business and its often hard to find time to work on your business rather than in your business. The company had scaled from a small three-person operation to a thriving medium sized company with over 20 employees. But as the business grew, the systems stayed the same (or multiplied in some cases), with the same basic MYOB version being used for everything, including running a warehouse with over 10,000 SKUs!

Phase 1 – Solutions finding

As a company, we knew we needed new software. Employees were becoming increasingly frustrated by the limitations of the software and clunky business processes. It was difficult to quickly locate the data and information they needed, navigating between the various systems and cross-referencing information was time consuming and increased the risk for errors, and it was becoming apparent that this was having an impact on our customers and our bottom line. While it was obvious to everyone involved that there was an issue, what was less obvious, was how to find the right solution for our business needs.

Our first step was to conduct a comprehensive review of our systems and processes, where it was identified that there were a number of inefficiencies and bottlenecks that across our sales and logistics pipelines, that simply couldn’t be managed with our current software. As a leadership team, we sat down and worked out what our pain points were, and landed on an agreed set of goals and vision for what success would look like. We also determined a budget. This activity was critical as it eventually formed the assessment criteria we then used to explore and assess potential solutions against. We quickly recognised that we needed an ERP solution if we were serious about meeting the criteria we had identified and if we wanted to grow the business further.

I spent months identifying, reviewing and evaluating various ERP solutions. We found that many of the options that would meet our needs were simply outside our price range. Implementation alone would cost us well over $150K in some cases, and that we’d need the GDP of a small country to afford the ongoing monthly licenses. Fortunately, a professional contact had mentioned an open-source ERP platform that was big in Europe – Odoo, so I included in my research and evaluation process. Upon commencing the evaluation of Odoo, I quickly found that the software met and, in many cases, exceeded all of our criteria – but I wasn’t sure about budget. Thinking that it was too good to be true, I spoke to a few Odoo partners and realised I could have all the functionality I’d been searching for, and we would likely come under budget! We’d found a winner.

Key lessons for solutions finding

  • Define your scope! Make sure you understand what you are trying to achieve and why. Make sure your key department heads are on-board with the change and have the ability to contribute. This will help define your requirements.
  • Do your research. Researching more than one solution and speak to others in your industry. There are a lot of experiences and lessons you can learn from prior to spending money.

Phase 2 – The implementation process

In determining which Odoo partner was the right fit for our business, we interviewed a number of companies. I had a pretty clear idea of what I was looking for in a partner, and while cost was an important factor it wasn’t the only factor. We wanted someone who was going to be available, someone whose work ethic and values aligned with those of our company, in addition to someone who had the appropriate level of technical skill and experience to be able to streamline the process and tailor the system it to our business needs.  Fortunately for us, we chose right. Our partner, despite working remotely the entire time, facilitated the end-to-end process. They took the time to get to know us and our business, suggesting that we nominate a project champion to drive implementation from within, who would also lead data migration, support testing, training, and implementation. It took around six-months, for us to implement Odoo from start to finish, including discussions around customisation, business process and timelines.

Data management was a huge element of this phase. Managing our Odoo master-templates alongside our routine business was one of the most challenging components of this phase. Our project champion was responsible for the management of our data, and their proficiency in Excel affirmed that we had put the right person in the role, as we found it made the whole process far smoother.

Training and system testing was where the rubber hit the road for the organisation. Initially, key division leaders received training, both training on the system overall and then specific training in their respective job functions, with our Odoo partner online as co-pilot being supported on the ground by our project champion. Taking a staggered approach to training and targeting our division heads initially was a conscious decision, as we recognised that in order to get broader employee buy-in we needed the leaders within each job function to be confident in being able to advocate for and talk about the system in addition to understanding and communicating the opportunities and challenges the new software will bring.

It was at this point that the requests for customisation came thick and fast. Some employees were resistant to change and wanted the new software to behave like the old software (even though they hated the old one)! Fortunately, we were well advised by our Odoo partner to analyse our business process and look at modifications internally prior to requesting any customisations. In most cases, where we changed our process (rather than modify the software), the company ended up better for the change. In limited circumstances, and where we absolutely had too, we did modify the software. These modifications allowed us to cater for the unique aspects of our business, which ultimately showed how flexible and adaptive the platform can be. By the end of the process, we got what we wanted, the employees were happy and the implementation was successful.

Key lessons during this phase:

  • Designate a project champion. This individual needs the time and authority to invest resources in making this successful. The Odoo partner can only do so much. A large majority of the change management will need to be led by internal leaders.
  • Have a data management plan. Ultimately the company implementing Odoo will be responsible for their data. The Odoo partner can help, but only we knew the intricacies of our data and what looked right. You need to have someone designated to this task. If you don’t have the skills or experience, raise this with your Odoo partner early in the project.
  • Keep customisations to a minimum. During our numerous meetings, many user groups wanted to force Odoo to follow old/preexisting processes. The problem was our processes were far from perfect. Our partner guided us to review our processes first prior to seeking a customisation. Ultimately, we took the approach to conform to the Odoo process and only customise when we had too. This saved us money and made us more efficient.


I wanted to share with you our company’s journey with Odoo. Overall, we’ve found Odoo to be a powerful and impressive software solution. In fact, I believe so strongly in the benefits of Odoo as an ERP that we now look to implement Odoo on behalf of businesses across Australia. I’ve been able to take the lessons that I learnt from my very first experience with Odoo and apply it to many other businesses. Any digital transformation will come with challenges, but with clear and precise change and project management planning, and a great Odoo partner most can be overcome.

Nathan is a former Australian Army officer and has served in various business roles in the resources and manufacturing sector. He is one of the founders or of Vitr Technologies.

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2 Responses

    1. Hi Simon,
      We canvassed a lot of Odoo partners to find the right fit.
      In the end, we went with an independent contractor who is now part of Vitr!
      In terms of strengths, it was definitely the knowledge of Odoo and experience with ERP implementations.
      The weaknesses we identified in the process were things we’ve been able to fix with our collaboration. Its why we’ve adopted a ‘Common Operating Picture’ between the client and the Odoo partner to make sure we have an all-informed network. Overall, we both learnt a lot and we’ve been able to bring this to Vitr.
      Hope this helps,


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