The annual round of matching the available teachers and schools in Portugal is handled by Open ERP, an open source entreprise resource system. It is one of the most complex and most visible processes of the Portuguese government. Changing the rules for allocation involves teachers, trade unions and many government organisations.
It also makes it the largest Open ERP implementation world-wide to date, in terms of concurrent users, according to Think Open Solutions, the IT firm that helped set-up the software for the country's Directorate General for School Administration. "Almost all teachers apply in the same week. They create a short-list of the schools that they would prefer to teach at and a few days later return to check the result."
The department, part of the Ministry of Education and Science, is using Open ERP for many of its tasks. The past three years, it has gradually replaced in total 150 legacy applications, including those for human resource management, recruitment and the annual evaluation of teachers.
The company estimates that the switch from all of these different applications to a unified and open source-based ERP system allowed the department to cut its required budget by half. The department saves on proprietary software licences and on support and maintenance contracts. "Instead of having to support many different legacy tools and platforms, they now need just a handful of Open ERP developers. This platform also proved to be a lot faster than most custom applications."
Think Open Solutions published a brief case study on the department's use of Open ERP in February.