Xero drops Personal

personal-laptop-1d1561Xero is winding-up its personal accounting product.  The service will close on November 30, 2014.

In a statement to the NZX chief executive Rod Drury said the move will cost the company $700,000. From now Xero will focus its development resources on the core products for small businesses and accountants.

Xero Personal is only a small part of the company’s business. Drury said while it covered its costs, it only contributed $600,000 to the $39 million in revenue that Xero posted for the year to March 2013.

Seemed a good idea at the time

Drury says independent personal financial management looked like a complementary service to accounting, especially for small business owners. But the market hasn’t taken off for Xero or any other players.

Xero says existing Personal users on September 30 will be able to continue to use the service after their annual expiry date at no additional charge. The company will give help to customers wanting to export data.

Comment: Clearly Xero Personal is a distraction from the company’s main business. Dropping it makes sense for Xero. While the move is mildly annoying for users, I doubt many will be deeply upset.

Hopefully another company will be able to pick up the business. This tweet from Rod Drury suggests as much:

As one of Xero Personal’s 12,000 or so paying customers, I’ll miss it, but I won’t be heartbroken. The software is useful, but only up to a point. Most important, it can’t do what I want most from a personal finance application: that is give me an instant snapshot of my overall position.

That’s because of the difficulty it has dealing with my Kiwisaver account.  For readers outside New Zealand, Kiwisaver is a government supported personal savings scheme. Sparing you the details, let’s just say Xero Personal requires work; more work than $600,000 a year in revenue justifies.


Cloud computing not a passing fad


Soon we’ll all be in the cloud most of the time

It would be easy to dismiss cloud computing as the latest passing fad used by technology companies to flog their products. They told us it is ‘revolutionary’, ‘a game changer’ and ‘a paradigm shift’.

We’ve heard those hype-laden clichés over and over again. No wonder we’re not in a hurry to listen.

And yet, cloud really is something new and special. This was obvious five or six years ago when personal cloud products and services first appeared.

Now it is mainstream. Microsoft recently underlined this wrapping its SkyDrive cloud service into Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and the latest version of Microsoft Office.

Cloud computing has changed the way we work. I use it every single working day, storing and backing-up work documents on cloud servers. I barely run any desktop productivity applications any more. There’s no need. All my important data is there for me so long as I can get a mobile data connection or a wi-fi signal.

Cloud requires new ways of thinking. I was wondering how I could explain this to a non-technical business audience in a story I was writing.

It is usually best for a journalist like me to find an authoritative source to quote instead of acting like I’m the one carrying tablets of stone down from the mountain. I came across Ben Kepes post Cloud isn’t just a gimmick.

Kepes is a cloud entrepreneur and describes himself as a technology evangelist, so he isn’t entirely independent, but he is right when he says cloud is more than an evolution of what has gone before. Kepes is also right when he says cloud computing combines technology, business and delivery mechanisms.

In the end I didn’t need to find a quote – the story went in a different direction – but Kepes’ post is worth sharing.