Enterprise Software

Review: OBM Open Business Management groupware and email

OBM is for any company needing a solid, Web-based management solution to serve as a Groupware suite and CRM tool.

Have you ever tried to manage a business without the right tools? It's not easy is it? OBM is an enterprise-ready groupware solution that is open source and offers many of the features you will find in proprietary, costly solutions. OBM has been in development since 1998 and is downloaded nearly 1000 times per month. OBM is modular in nature and has plenty of developers behind it to keep it moving forward for some time. But is it the right management solution for you? Let's find out.

Requirements

  • OBM will install and run on any operating system that supports Java.
  • You will also need a database (only MySQL and PostgreSQL are supported).
  • OBM also requires Perl and PHP.
  • Depending upon what features you want, there are other application requirements (such as a mail server).
  • Additional vendor information
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Who's it for?

OBM is for any company needing a solid, Web-based management solution to serve as a Groupware suite and CRM tool. OBM is a complete end-to-end solution that offers nearly every solution you would need for business management, wrapped in one handsome package. And for those who are very budget conscience, OBM is open source so the initial cost is nil.

What problem does it solve?

Business management is difficult enough, even with the right tools. OBM makes that task a bit easier, with nearly every tool (in module form) necessary to achieve a successful management strategy.

Standout features

  • Outlook integration
  • LDAP support
  • Sales force management tools
  • Project management tools
  • Samba integration
  • Shared calendars/contacts/tasks/documents
  • Easy to navigate interface
  • Granular user/group control

What's wrong?

OBM requires Java. This means the administrator of this system is going to have to go through the hoops of installing Java on the system prior to installing OBM. On some systems (such as Linux) installing Java is no easy task. And many see Java as less-than-reliable.

The other issue with OBM is finding modules. Although OBM proclaims to enjoy a number of features, upon installation you will have Calendar, Contacts, and To do. That's not enough to manage a business. Locating these other modules is a task. In fact, I have yet to have any luck tracking down these Loch-Nessian modules for OBM.

Competitive products

Bottom line for business

I really want to wave the banner high for OBM. I really do. What with its proclamation of being a full-fledged business management tool, it sounds (as it is) too good to be true. That is unless your business only needs a calendar, contacts, and To do lists to be managed.

If OBM is to really succeed, they need to make the modules for expansion more readily accessible. Or, better yet, include them in the installation. I can understand that maybe the company that created OBM is hoping to make money on module creation/inclusion, but, as it stands, OBM is more of a groupware tool than a CRM tool. As a groupware tool, OBM is a fine replacement for costlier alternatives.

User rating

Have you encountered or used OBM? If so, what do you think? Rate your experience and compare the results to what other TechRepublic members think. Give your own personal review in the TechRepublic Community Forums or let us know if you think we left anything out in our review.

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About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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