Saturday, June 16, 2012

First Major GNUKhata deployment


Hello all,
This time I am back after a relatively short lul after my last blog post.
needless to say, there is some thing really special and particularly for the project I fondly initiated in the winter of 2009.
GNUKhata, is the free and open source replacement for proprietary accounting software solutions (I won't mention only one name, although it is very popular amongst accountants who tally so many books of their customers).
We have been developing the software rigorously since last 2 years, thanks to the sustained availability of funds provided by National Mission on Education through Information Communication Technology (NMEICT).
Prof. Kannan from IIT mumbai helped the project to get these funds and to keep it sustained as well.
Many supporters, well wishers and developers of GNUKhata have been urging me to write a blog on the one project closest to my and their hearts.
I kept on refraining from doing so, half due to the busy development schedule and half due to the fact that I wished to write it on a perfect occasion.
Finally the waiting is over and what an occasion!

the success story

So my readers might be wondering what's the reason that pushed me to write this blog which I kept away from writing for last 2 years?
The moment is indeed very proud for me as well as the entire community around GNUKhata.

I am pleased to declare that we had the first successful deployment of GNUKhata on 8th June 2012.
It has been a long way we have come and had a lot of ups and downs in the way.
We had a release last year which was good for few situations but not good enough for every one to use.
Then came the release in feb 2012 where we made it very feature rich and suitable for almost all accounting needs.
Now we have a rock solid GNUKhata on the basis of which any SME can reliably do their book keeping.

We got this success when the entire annual audit of International Center for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) was successfully conducted using GNUKhata for the year 2011-12.
We arrived in Trivandrum and straight away headed for the ICFOSS office on the 7th June.
It was just myself and Sayali who actually went there, but we had the entire core team ready on the base here in Mumbai along with our most popular and dynamic domain expert Mr. Arun Kelkar.
Deploying GNUKhata on the local server at ICFOSS was not a big issue as we had the installer ready.
We off late had a small issue with starting up the server and that too got fixed in the process.
We already had a cloud based deployment of GNUKhata where all the data was kept ready.
Here I must mention that this is not the first ever deployment of GNUKhata.
We did it in Latur where data of 4 organizations was entered successfully.
But that was on a relatively small scale and the data was very straight forward.
With ICFOSS though, the data was huge involving large volumes of transactions.
There were more than 1200 vouchers and all things were entered by Sayali, Ujwala, Trupti and Nutan, under the guidance of Mr. Kelkar.
Following the deployment, we had a meeting with Mr. Satish Babu.
he instantly proposed that we setup a steering committee for sustained development and dissemination of GNUKhata in Kerala and other states.

Thanks to his prompt decisions, ICFOSS will even pump in some much needed funds for further development.

On 8th June, we sat with Mr. Satish Babu and his accountants to tally the books.
We did the comparison on a monthly basis.
Every time the books tallied the happiness went on increasing.
Sure there were some glitches, not due to the problem in the software but due to mistakes in the data.
Finally it all tallied for the entire year and the good news triggered a wave of joy and excitement in the entire GNUKhata camp.

With this successful deployment, Satish Babu told us that the entire Kerala state will be using GNUKhata soon, because he would be actively taking up the deployment in the said state on a bigger scale.

looking ahead

Following the successful deployment, we had a post audit meeting with the same team of accountants and a few experts.
Including Mr Satish Babu himself, there were many enhancements suggested by all who attended the meeting.
A few major enhancements included a drill down interface where one can jump from one report to another in context of trial balance or ledger.
For example while seeing a ledger, one should be able to click on a voucher and directly see if there is a mistake in it.
Similarly one should be able to jump from trial balance to ledger for a particular account.
at the same time, many features like the unique extended trial balance were highly appreciated by the accountants.
Seeing the success, we decided to launch an interim version 1.2 on 30th June 2012.
this release will have most of the important features requested by ICFOSS.
The selected features are those which will impact the user experience for almost all users.
So that's it from me.
Watch out for the latest version on June 30th (who knows another blog post might be on its way before that happens)