Analyzing iPhone App Sales with Zoho Reports

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iPhone Application Developers, this post is for you. Don’t be scared away by the length of this post. The results are going to be extremely useful :)

If you are an iPhone Application Developer, iTunes Connect provides you daily and weekly sales trends for your application(s) as a CSV file. Sure, you can open that up with Excel or Zoho Sheet and do some basic analysis. But we have a better solution for you in Zoho Reports.

What kind of reports can you do with Zoho Reports? Here are few examples (click to enlarge).

If you really want to see this in action, I made this sample database public with some reports created.

Now that I got your attention (hopefully), let me drill down into the details on how you can create similar reports for your iPhone applications. Before we get started though, make sure you download all your daily reports (.CSV files) downloaded from iTunes Connect.

Obviously, the first step is to create a Zoho Account and enter http://reports.zoho.com. Once you are in, Create a Database from ‘Import .XLS, .CSV, .HTML…’ option. Give your Database a name like ‘iPhone Reports’ and select the ‘Data Location’ as ‘Local Drive’. Now browse and select one of the downloaded CSV files (you can add others later) and click ‘Next’ and then select the ‘Create’ option in the next screen. This will create a table from the CSV file with 24 columns and multiple rows.

Once the table is created, you are all set to create Reports from this data. Before jumping there, let us make sure you have all the data imported from all the .CSV files you downloaded from iTunes Connect. To Do this, use the ‘Import’ option available on the top and select ‘Import into this table’ option and import all your CSV files using the ‘Local Drive’ as the ‘Data Location’. You’ll end up using this ‘Import’ option daily as and when you have reports available from Apple.

Now that we have the data in Zoho Reports, we can now start building different types of reports. Let us start with a simple report that shows ‘Daily Sales’. For this, select the ‘New Report’ option (top left) and choose the ‘Chart View’ option and select the database we just created. Here, you’ll see a simple drag & drop interface where you can drag the columns from the left to the right to generate the report you need. Let’s try this together.

Application Daily Sales

Drag the ‘End Date’ column from the left to the ‘X-Axis’ column on the right. Similarly, Drag the ‘Units’ column from the left to ‘Y-Axis’ column on the right. After you dragged the ‘Units’ column, change the ‘Actual (M)’ option to ‘Sum’ for ‘Units’ and ‘Actual (M)’ to ‘Actual(D)’ for the ‘End Date’. The top section will look like this.

Now select the ‘Click Here to Generate Graph’ option and you’ll see the Graph created for you with the daily sales of your application. You just created for the first graph which might look like this.

You can change your graph type with the ‘Other Charts’ option. There are many options available including the 3D Graphs. The nice part about the Graphs in Zoho Reports is, these are click-able. Which means, you can click on the graph to view the underlying data.

Now, Save the Graph, give it a name (like ‘Daily Sales Report’) so that you have this graph saves permanently that updates automatically whenever you import the data.

You can also make changes to the Graph. For example, if you want to see the number of units you sold every day displayed on the graph, simply drag the ‘Units’ column from the left to the ‘Text’ section on the right and you’ll see the number of units sold in the graph.

But there is an issue with this graph. As we added the ‘Units’ column to ‘Y-Axis’, it counts every downloaded unit as a sale which may not be the case as your application might have several versions and users download it as free upgrade. It is important to filter this data out to get the correct numbers. To filter out the right information from this graph, let us do this…

Select the ‘Filter’ tab (the vertical tab) and drag the ‘Royalty Price’ column to the ‘Filter’ section and select the ‘Actual Values’ from the drop down. In the next column (Royalty Price), select ‘Individual Values’ and select ‘0’. Select the ‘Exclude Items’ in the drop down in the next column. What we are basically doing here is  excluding all the units where ‘Royalty Price’ is 0. Now Refresh the Graph and you should see the correct values for daily sales in your graph.

Now, let’s try another graph. This time, let us analyze the daily sales and separate them based on country. For this, it’ll pretty much be the same graph with one simple modification. So let us use the ‘Save As’ option to save this Graph as another graph and call it ‘Daily Sales By Country’.

Daily Sales By Country

Now that we created a new Graph, simply drag the ‘Country Code’ column from the left to the ‘Color’ column on the right and refresh the graph. You’ll see the daily changes color coded by country. Again, you can mouse-over or click on the colors to see the underlying data for this graph.

Let’s quickly try some more graphs.

Application Sales By Country:

Create a New Report from ‘Chart View’ option and drag the ‘Country Code’ from ‘X-Axis’ and ‘Units’ to ‘Y-Axis’ and voila, you have sales report by Country. But then, don’t forget to filter the upgrades. For this, select the ‘Filter’ tab and drag the ‘Royalty Price’ column to the ‘Filter’ section and select the ‘Actual Values’ from the drop down. In the next column (Royalty Price), select ‘Individual Values’ and select ‘0’. Select the ‘Exclude Items’ in the drop down in the next column.

You can change the graph type to fit your taste. Here is how it looks.

Application Sales By Currency:

Drag the ‘Customer Currency’ to ‘X-Axis’ and ‘Units’ to ‘Y-Axis’. You can also drag the ‘Units’ column to the ‘Text’ section to see the number of units displayed. Select the ‘Filter’ tab and drag the ‘Royalty Price’ column to the ‘Filter’ section and select the ‘Actual Values’ from the drop down. In the next column (Royalty Price), select ‘Individual Values’ and select ‘0’. Select the ‘Exclude Items’ in the drop down in the next column.

Application Sales By Currency & Country:

This graph is pretty much similar to the above graph with one additional step. Drag the ‘Country Code’ to the ‘Color’ section. This chart also lets you see which country accepts what currency.

Application Sales By Royalty Price

Drag the ‘Royalty Price (Actual (D)) to ‘X-Axis’, ‘Units (Sum)’ to ‘Y-Axis’ and ‘Country Code’ to color. If the ‘Royalty Price’ is 0, they are upgrades.

Application Total Sales

To see the total sales of the app, simply drag the ‘Vendor Identifier’ to the ‘X-Axis’ and ‘Units’ to the ‘Y-Axis’ and ‘Text’ sections. Select the ‘Filter’ tab and drag the ‘Royalty Price’ column to the ‘Filter’ section and select the ‘Actual Values’ from the drop down. In the next column (Royalty Price), select ‘Individual Values’ and select ‘0’. Select the ‘Exclude Items’ in the drop down in the next column.

You’ll see a graph something like this.

Now that you some of these graphs created, what do you need to do to keep them updated? It is simple. Download your reports fromiTunes Connect and Import them to the table. All the charts are automatically updated.

All the graphs I talked above assumes that you have a single app. If you have multiple apps, you can create other interesting graphs. More on that later.

Once you have these graphs created in Zoho Reports, you have many other options too. For example, you can right click on any graph and Export the graph as a PDF, Image etc. You can also embed these graphs in your blogs or website like I did above which means, when the data changes in the DB, these images are also updated.

I hope you find Zoho Reports useful for this use case. As you play with it you’ll uncover more of its power. Looking forward to see how innovative you’ll get with Zoho Reports.

BTW, did I mention that you can do all of this for FREE?

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Olympics Dashboard using Zoho Reports

Importing data from Blinksale to Zoho Invoice

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We have been getting quite a few requests from our customers as to how they can import data from their Blinksale account to Zoho Invoice.  Earlier we used to send manual procedures and assist customers individually but still it was not easy for our customers to import the data.

Now with the last upgrade, we have made this import lot easier.  Here is how you can import your data from Blinksale to Zoho Invoice –

  1. Sign-in to Zoho Invoice and click on the “Settings” link at the top right.
  2. Now, click on the “Import from Blinksale” link at the left under the “Import & Export Settings”
  3. Fill in the requested details and click on the “Import” button

All your invoices and customers along with their associated details will be imported into Zoho Invoice.

We also recommend you to take a look at the following wiki doc – “Importing data from Blinksale” in which we have listed out the known issues.

After moving to Zoho Invoice, if I want to switch to some other invoicing service how easy or difficult will it be?

We sincerely hope you won’t do that :)  Anyway it is your choice.

You can export data out of Zoho Invoice anytime you want.  All you have to do is export the data from Zoho Invoice, change it to the format supported by that particular service and import it into that service.  We have a pretty comprehensive set of options to export your data.  We help exporting the data in CSV, TSV, XLS, JSON and other standard formats.  For further details you can refer the blog post that I made on importing and exporting options in Zoho Invoice.

What Next?

We are also working on our APIs and we will be releasing them shortly.  APIs will definitely add to the list of import/export options and will make the job of importing/exporting data lot easier.

Give this a try and share your comments.

Regards

Siva

Announcing Zoho Marketplace and Zoho Creator 3

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We’re excited to announce the release of a brand-new service, Zoho Marketplace.

Zoho Marketplace is a service that brings users and business application developers together. It provides a growing catalog of business applications that users can try and purchase. If you like an application you can buy it from the developer (some applications are even free) and ‘Install’ it in your Zoho account. Contrary to what happens with installing old business software, the installation is really pain- and worry- free for use. Because everything is set-up, hosted and arranged by Zoho, it only takes a few minutes to start using the application.

But what if the user can’t find the *exact* application he is looking for? No worries. Customers can also post their exact requirements to the Zoho Marketplace, and get help from third-party developers in creating the application they need.

For developers, it provides a place where they can post and market the applications they have developed in Zoho Creator – free of charge. Yeah, you read that right. There is no fee a developer has to pay Zoho to list his application.

In short, just like you can buy “stuff” in Amazon or eBay, you can also get your business applications in Zoho Marketplace.

But wait! That’s not all we have in store for you.

Today we also released a major update for Zoho Creator. Zoho Creator allows regular folks like me to create power data-driven business applications that can be kept private, shared with a group or published to the world. We call those ‘Situated Software‘. But it can of course also be used by more advanced developers to add complex logic, interaction with other sites and more.

This release focuses more on the latter. We have added many new features and capabilities which make developing rich business applications even easier. These include:

  • Custom HTML pages. Allows developers to create dynamic, fully customized HTML pages that are part of an application and embed forms, views, widgets, videos and more.

  • Layout Customization. Makes it easy to create great-looking applications in seconds. Choose from a variety of layouts and themes. And of course, you can also create your own.

  • Stateless Forms. Stateless forms allow developers to take advantage of all the Creator tools and environment, but gives them full control over where their data is stored.

And there’s of course many others – like full support for CRUD operations, the ability to share/un-share an application (or just components of it separately), easier to create mashups by fetching and processing data from other websites, creating maps on the fly and some others.

To celebrate these two releases and to give you an overview of Zoho Marketplace and Zoho Creator 3, we’ve prepared a ‘different’ kind of video for you. If there were and Oscar category for “Best Video Demo Award”, I’m sure this would get one!

In addition, there are two other videos you can check out:

Rodrigo Vaca

Business Collaboration Tournament

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Yankee Group recently released a report – ‘Business Collaboration Tournament: And You Thought the Madness Was Over‘ that matches up 16 of the top business collaboration vendors in a head-to-head contest. We are glad to see Zoho included in here along with some industry heavy weights. Its a good read. The complete article is available here (Sorry, its a PDF).

These are the 16 vendors considered for this article divided into two pools – like a Basketball game.

In the first round, Yankee matches up Zoho and Google. Here is what they have to say…

Collaboration fans could not have asked for a more exciting first round matchup. However, the misinformed fan might want to double-check where to place his or her bets. To the average fan, Google is the clear winner because a. it’s Google and b. all journalists in the space use Google Apps as their example when referring to web-based productivity suites. However, like Apple, Google is a consumer company and in a matchup against SMB-focused Zoho, Google’s business solutions do not stack up.
….
Google’s Gmail (e-mail), Calendar (shared calendaring) and Talk (IM with VoIP, presence and file-sharing capabilities) are top-tier online collaboration and communications solutions. However, Zoho is SMB-focused and Google is attempting to kill two birds with one stone. IT departments have not been convinced that the service-level agreements (SLAs) Google offers with Google Apps Premier Edition are worthy of a total conversion to cloud computing. Both Google and Zoho suffer from this roadblock, among others. But for Zoho, it’s do or die; whereas for Google, it’s do or continue to make billions in online search and advertising.

The last comment above is interesting. If this sounds familiar, this is because Sridhar already talked about this.

…but in the end, Zoho’s Head Coach pushes it into the Elite Eight in a decisive victory over Google.

According to Yankee, Zoho wins over Google in the first round.

The round of Elite Eight is an interesting one with Zoho positioned against Verizon. This is an interesting comparison.

This Elite Eight thriller has some interesting mismatches on the floor between the telecommunications powerhouse Verizon Business and the agile web-based collaboration and productivity services provider Zoho.

With detailed analysis, Yankee advances Zoho to the next round.

In the end, Zoho squeaks by Verizon Business into the Final Four and continues its Cinderella run in the Yankee Group 2008 Business Collaboration Tournament due to its product road map. Without a focus on community-centric solutions, Verizon Business’ game is too communications-centric and therefore too old-school to make it to the Final Four in 2008.

This puts Zoho in final four against Microsoft, IBM & Cisco. These are some big names to be compared with. The analysis goes on to describe how Microsoft goes on to win against Zoho.

Sure, we are not the winner here nor do we expect to be so. Being considered as part of the final four is a privilege. As we always said, we understand that this is not a zero sum game. We are focused on building great affordable apps and let the market decide.

The article contains lots of other details about all 16 vendors covered. It is a good read with good analysis of the existing business collaboration market.

We are all Japanese now

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Jason Calacanis wrote a valuable post on how start-up companies can cope with the “collapsing” economy. A few months ago, Marc Andressen called it the “oncoming nuclear winter” – and that was before the collapse of AIG, Lehman, WaMu and so on. I have shared that pessimism for a while myself; I sold my house in 2004, and chose to rent for the past 4 years, which tells you my view of the housing bubble. While I was too early, prices are well on their way to 2004 levels and lower. This kind of pessimism is not uncommon among tech geek circles. What is going on here? Why are we so pessimistic?

Many tech geeks tend towards libertarian economics or the so-called Austrian School economics – the best way to get into it is at http://mises.org.  No, don’t confuse libertarian economics with the “free market capitalism” claptrap coming out of the Wall Street financial complex; when Wall Street gunslingers touted the miracles of “capitalism”, what they really meant was their government-conferred right to borrow easy money from the Federal Reserve, leverage themselves up 20 to 1,  even 40 to 1 while speculating with that easy money, paying themselves tens of billions collectively in bonuses, finally inflicting hundreds of billions, soon to reach trillions, of losses on the taxpayer when those speculations predictably failed . The Wall Street version of financial capitalism has about as much to do with real savings and investment led capitalist wealth creation as alchemy has to do with with chemistry. The alchemy analogy is particularly appropriate: much of the Wall Street “business model” was really transmuting pools of highly risky, toxic mortgages into nearly risk-free “golden” securities.

A lot of geeks like myself got a real education on this in the last NASDAQ bubble, where the alchemy of the time was transmuting stock in unprofitable private companies into strong “currency” to be used for rewarding employees and to “pay for” acquisitions – the very words “currency” to “pay for” acquisitions, common at that time, connote the realization of the alchemist’s dream. That bubble was also aided and abetted by the Federal Reserve’s easy credit policy, as all such bubbles are. It was that bubble that led me and many other geeks to discover the Austrian School.

The predictable solution the Federal Reserve came up with to fight that bubble’s aftermath was to unleash even more easy credit, this time directed to housing and Wall Street. Even as early as 2004, it was obvious there was a bubble forming in housing, as documented by sites such as The Mess That Greeenspan Made or Prudent Bear which I have been reading for several years now. To give credit where it is due, there is one politician who has taken a strong, consistent stand against the bubble blowing policies of the Fed, warning of the dangers ahead, for several years: Congressman Ron Paul. Just as price to earnings ratios reached the stratosphere in the NASDAQ bubble, price to income, price to rent and mortgage to rent ratios reached historically unseen levels during the housing bubble. To anyone who witnessed the NASDAQ bubble and its collapse, it was a strong sense of deja vu, yet policy makers like Greenspan and Bernanke simply saw nothing wrong. Bernanke, in particular, came up with absurd excuses such as the “global savings glut” to explain the housing/Wall Street bubble, absolving the Fed of any responsibility. It is instructive to keep that track record in mind, because the same policy makers who got us in this mess are still in charge, still making decisions for all of us. No wonder there is such pervasive pessimism in tech geek circles.

Finally, Japan. Anyone in technology industry realizes quickly how important Japan is in the global tech industry. At Zoho, our first big corporate customer is from Japan. That is part of a pattern: in 1996, our first big OEM customer for our network management was Japanese. In fact, it was our Japan connection that first taught me about destructive bubbles, because Japan had its own mother-of-all-bubbles in the late 80s. The Japanese have paid for that financial bubble for nearly a generation. Cocky American economists like Paul Krugman, now a leading NY Times commentator, but at that time only a leading economist, gave the Japanese useful advise like “PRINT LOTSA MONEY” (sic), to get out of their doldrums. Krugman merely reflected the common view among American economists at that time – the Japanese were economic rubes, and if only they listened to the smart American economists their economic problems would be solved. Keep in mind that while Krugman has his issues with the Bush administration, he was cheering Greenspan on in 2003-4 to keep interest rates low and credit flowing freely, which enabled carry-trades of various kinds to run amok, worsening inequality dramatically by shifting wealth to those financially well-connected; Krugman now fully supports the Bernanke Fed and its endless series of bail-outs, while shedding progressive tears for the inequality that the easy credit policies engendered. This misbegotten government policy also has the effect of zombifying companies, freezing bad investments in place, something Japan experienced.

Well, let’s just say God must have a delicious sense of irony. We are all Japanese now.

Use Zoho Wiki as your Business Portal

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In the last post about Zoho Wiki, we saw how Zoho Wiki can act both as a help authoring tool and to host the help documentation. Zoho Wiki can be used to host business portals also. We will see a couple of examples below.

ManageEngine is the flagship brand of AdventNet. And ManageEngine has a separate portal for its partners, called ManageEngine Partner Zone. This portal is hosted on Zoho Wiki.

As you can see, the web site’s look and feel is completely customized. And some of the pages there require authentication to view. Thanks to the fine-grained access control provided by Zoho Wiki, you can have a web site where some pages are visible to all visitors of your site (in ManageEngine’s case, visitors who are interested in becoming partners) and other pages are made accessible to a defined set of people (to those who end up becoming ManageEngine’s partners).

The Zoho Alliance Partner Portal (ZAPP) is on Zoho Wiki too (requires login for viewing).

Other than the above partner portals, ManageEngine’s MSP Center Plus documentation is also a wiki.

How are you using Zoho Wiki?

Support for Google Checkout in Zoho Invoice

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Happy to announce the availability of one of the most requested and long awaited features in Zoho Invoice – “Google Checkout Integration”

Yes, we have integrated our service with Google Checkout.  We have already integrated our service with PayPal and now this integration gives more options to our customers.  Now they have the option to choose either PayPal or Google Checkout for accepting online payment from their customers.

Configuring Google Checkout in Zoho Invoice:

Configuring Google Checkout in Zoho Invoice is easy and can be done by following the steps below-

  1. Sign-in to Zoho Invoice and click on the “Settings” link at the top right.
  2. In the settings page that comes up, click on the “Payment Gateways” link under “Invoice Settings” on the left.
  3. Specify your “Merchant ID” and “Merchant Key” and click on the save button.

Updating the invoice balances:

When your customers pay you online via Google Checkout, we can automatically update your invoice balances.  For us to do this automatic update, you will have to do the following-

  1. Sign-in to your Google Checkout account and go to settings.
  2. Click on the “Integration” link on the left.
  3. Now set the “API callback URL” to “https://invoice.zoho.com/gnh.ma”

Getting notified when customers pay you online:

Over and above updating the invoice balances, we can also notify you when your customers pay you online.  Just select the “Notify me on online payments” option in the payment gateway settings page to receive the notification.

Sending payment thank-you to customers:

We can also send payment acknowledgement mails to your customers when they pay you online.  Just select the “Send acknowledgement to customers” option in the payment gateway settings page to send the thank-you mails.

What next?

We definitely have plans to add support for more payment gateways.  If you want us to add support for any specific payment gateway, let us know.  Based on the number of requests, we can prioritize and add support for it.

You can try out this feature by signing into Zoho Invoice now. We would definitely like to hear your comments and don’t forget to drop us a note when you enjoy using this feature.

Regards
Siva