First Yodlee feeds have arrived

First Yodlee feeds have arrived

Automated bank feeds are one of the joys of using Xero with no manual imports to worry about, bank transactions are automatically brought into Xero for you to reconcile.

With our first release of Yodlee integrated bank feeds, we can now offer automated feeds for even more banks in Australia and these feeds will be even easier to set up. With no forms to fill out, youll be up and running in minutes.

Heres a list of the additional banks and financial institutions from which bank feeds will be possible into Xero from today:

  • St. George Bank
  • Bank of Queensland
  • BankSA
  • Suncorp
  • BankWest
  • Macquarie Bank

Over the next few weeks well be adding support for literally thousands of banks across Australia, the UK, Canada and the US.

Check out this video to see how easy it is to set up one of the new bank feeds.

We hope you find adding bank feeds really easy. Weve worked hard to hide the significant complexity behind the scenes to make these feeds as reliable and secure as we can. These new feeds use our secure banking integration environment, already approved for use by some of the largest banks in the region for direct bank feeds.

To learn more about how Yodlee works read one of our earlier posts. We are also releasing a new notifications inbox that provides an easy and convenient way to receive updates of any important changes in the status of your bank feeds.

Be sure to read our release notes for more details on the new feeds and a couple of other features weve added.

Dejargonificationing: Vendor Viability

Theres lots of jargon thrown around the world of business, and even more thrown around in IT. So the software business is drowning in it.

Im going to attempt to de-mystify some of the common phrases that are cropping up around the world of SaaS. Im starting with an easy target: vendor viability.

How viable is the vendor? In other words, is the company youre buying your software from going to be around in a years time? What about in five years time?

The barriers to entry in the software as a service world are very low. Any half decent web developer can put together a web application, make it available on a subscription basis and make a professional looking web site promoting it then lose interest or run out of money in a few months time

In the old world where you bought your software on a CD, this didnt matter too much. Youve got the software so if the company you bought it from disappears then you wont get support or upgrades, but you still have the software you bought and can continue using it (although even that isnt a given with some of the recent shenanigans).

With SaaS, its different. You access the software on the providers server so if the provider disappears, so does your access to the software (and your data).

One form of insurance against this happening is anescrow agreement. The software provider gives all of their code to a third party and if said provider goes out of business, the third party releases the software to previously agreed companies (usually key customers). So the theory is that you can set up your own servers to run the software. Fancy doing that? Unless youre a techie, I doubt it very much.

The reality is that there are no guarantees that any company thats around today will be around in a years time, never mind five. Having said that, there are steps you can take to minimise your chances of getting burnt:
– does the vendor have a sustainable business model? (hint: giving software away for free isnt sustainable)
– are they making profit or do they at least have good financial backers? (or better still, both)
– do they have many customers?
– are they growing?

To further hedge your bets, you need to make sure youre regularly getting your data from your SaaS provider in a format you can access without their software.

If youre reading this from the perspective of a SaaS start-up, then provide the functionality to provide these backups. And automate it so its one less thing for customers to worry about or have to remember to deal with. With KashFlow you can set the system to automatically and regularly email you a backup of your accounting data in a format that can be opened in a spreadsheet or imported directly into Sage.

A side note here; the vendor may well be here in 5 years. But will the product? In just the accounting software industry alone weve seen big companies (Microsoft, Iris, Intuit, etc) withdraw software products with very little notice. They can get a way with that with desktop software, but its not acceptable in the SaaSworld.

If there are any other pieces of jargon that you want busting, let me know using the comments below.

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This entry was posted
on Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 at 12:06 pm and is filed under Cloud Computing / SaaS, Small Business, Technology.
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Multi-tenancy – what is it, why should you care?

diagramIm continuing on my jargon busting mission.

Todays target: multi-tenancy and its allegedly inferior sibling, single-tenancy

What do they mean, and why should you care? Ill try to answer the second part of that question first from the perspective of you being a SaaS startup, and then from the perspective of a Customer.

What is it?

Desktop software was designed to be installed on your computer and only accessed by you and therefore only contain your data. So you are the single tenant. The only person living in that application/database. This is single tenancy.

Software thats designed from the ground up for the web is designed to be used by lots of people. One application/database, but lots of people using it. (for the techies amongst you, I really do mean one database, not one instance of a SQL server but with multiple databases running in it). This is multi-tenancy.

It does seem that single-tenancy comes in two flavours: one set of code for the application (ie, one set of files serving the app), but multiple databases OR multiple sets of code as well as multiple databases. The former being only half as evil as the latter.

Why should you (a SaaS startup) care?

If youre not using the multi-tenancy model youre not getting even half of the benefits of operating a SaaS business model.

Would you rather have just one database/set of files to maintain, or one db/set of files for each individual user?

When it comes to support issues, do you want to have to consider whether or not the user has the most recent version of everything in their personal installation or would you rather everyone had the exact same thing?

When you have to roll out an upgrade, would you rather one single schema/file set to update or one for each individual customer.

And heres the biggie:infrastructure

So you can get lots of installations on one server. Lets be generous and assume one server can support 1000 instances of of your application and database. Customer 1001 is going to cost you a fortune as you will need to bring on a new server for it.

As your customer base grows the cost of your hardware (whetherleasing or buying) rockets, as does the time cost inmaintainingthem. With a multi-tenancy model you dont have this issue. Weve generated 100k+ revenue per month (thousands of users) from a single server costing 1k a month. You just cant do that with the single-tenancymodel.

Why should you (a customer) care?

Thats simple it costs the vendor a lot more to run a single-tenancy model. Guess who, ultimately, is going to cover that extra cost? And when you have support issues, youre going to get them resolved much faster (for all the reasons stated above) by a multi-tenancy vendor than a singe-tenancy one.

I didnt choose to rhyme, rhyming chose me

You will find lots of web-based applications that have a single-tenant arrangement. The supplier of the software has a whole list of reasons that they chose this model, but the truth is that they didnt choose it. They came up with the list of reasons AFTER having the model (or architecture as we like to call it) decided for them.

The most common reason that they have this model forced upon them is because they took a product designed at first for the desktop and have then shoe-horned it into working on the web. The company didnt know if this whole SaaS stuff would take off, it was a bit of a gamble. So to minimise the risk they decided not to write an application from scratch but instead use what they have.

A short-sighted and cheap way for them to dip their toes in the water.

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This entry was posted
on Thursday, October 7th, 2010 at 1:29 pm and is filed under Cloud Computing / SaaS, Programming, Technology.
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Introducing QuickSnap – Single-purpose iPhone app for KashFlow

qsWhen I talked about ouriPhone app, the one feature Id harp on about the most was the ability to take a snapshot of a receipt and get it into KashFlow in a few taps. So I could get out of a taxi or pay a bar bill and immediately have the scanned receipt in KashFlow.

The problem was that as the app does so much more than this, it was more taps/data entry than is ideal.

So in talking to the great iPhone developers we work with, we came up with a plan: a single-purpose app optimised specifically for getting receipts into KashFlow.

The result is QuickSnap, now available in the app store.

First, the set-up: Create a supplier in your KashFlow account, perhaps called Unprocessed Receipts. Then add a new nominal code (or Outgoing Type) , perhaps called Misc Expenses

Then fire up the app and in the settings screen you choose the supplier and code you just created and also enter your name. Your app is now configured for use.

When you fire up the app youll have the option to use an existing photo or shoot a new one.
You can then(optionally) enter a description for the receipt.
Tap to send to KashFlow and a new receipt is created against the selected supplier and code.
The description you entered is used as the description followed by your name in brackets so you can have multiple people using the app without back office confusion.
Your snapshot is attached to the receipt so when you are ready you can sit down and fill in the details.

Beautiful.

Note: when you tap to send to KashFlow, you get to chose the size of the image. Some users are reporting problems using the larger options. Let us know if you have this problem so we can get it fixed.

Note 2: Before you ask, no no plans to do a version of this or our main app for Android just yet. But we are getting a *lot* of requests, so may well do so at some point.

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on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 at 9:35 am and is filed under Technology.
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7 Reasons to do your accounts online

Im slowly but surely moving my clients to online accounting solutions. There is a variety of reasons I will detail them below.

  1. No upgrades to worry about. I’ve lost many a morning trying to upgrade on premises software. The upgrade runs fine on one pc but not on another. Then you cant open the data because your all using different versions. Painful.
  2. No hardware to worry about. As you are working online all you need is a pc with internet connection. You dont have to provision, host, manage, and support your own internal infrastructure.
  3. Lower start up costs. If you are confident configuring your own accounting package you can be up and running for €15
  4. Lower overall cost of ownership. All of the online accounting packages Do My Books work with include support in their basic pricing. Presently an annual subscription to Kashflow online accounts costs less than annual support for most of the on premise accountancy packages available today.
  5. Flexible Pricing. With Xero online accounts you can upgrade or downgrade your package anytime you like.
  6. Collaboration. No need to back up your data to send it to your accountant. She can log in and access live information.
  7. Integration. Xero and Kashflow allow you to integrate into a number of other online applications including CRM, Payrolll, Project management and ecommerce apps.

If you would like to speak with an accountant who is familiar with moving businesses online please phone Ralph on 091-442882 or email ralph@domybooks.ie