Xledger just released R1-2018, our largest-ever system update. We sat down with Xledger Founder and Product Director Jarle Sky to discuss the changes and what they mean to Xledger users.
Xledger: Thank you for taking the time to discuss R1.
Jarle Sky: It’s my pleasure.
X: Can you give us an overview of R1, then zoom in on some of the details?
Jarle: R1 is the biggest release we’ve ever done. If I had to come up with an analogy for it, I would compare R1 to lifting a skyscraper off the ground and replacing the entire foundation. We didn’t just change a few colors or reposition some buttons, though we did that. We completely restructured the database, which is something that no other ERP vendor has ever done, to my knowledge.
We didn’t just put out a car with a new mirror and call it a new car. We improved everything, the engine and the paint, the tires, the aerodynamics.
X: What were some of the changes your team made to the database?
Jarle: We always try to make Xledger fit more closely with the principles of accounting. Those principles, the principles of double-entry bookkeeping and stewardship, are over 500 years old. They’ve endured from the Italian Renaissance until now.
For R1, we were determined to structure the Xledger database in a more logical way. This wasn’t just an academic exercise for us. If there’s more than a five-second delay anywhere in the system, the first place we look is our data model. In many ways, the database is the engine of an ERP system. By making our database more logical, we made it faster, smaller, and able to store more information on less space.
So we altered data types and deleted duplicate data and tables. We cut excess fat any way we could. In the months leading up to R1, we shrunk the bulk of the Xledger database by 35%.
X: That’s impressive.
Jarle: It is. And that reduction has led to greater efficiency. It’s made Xledger a more nimble and powerful system for users, and I would say that it’s helped to prepare us for the next ten thousand customers.
If I had to come up with an analogy for it, I would compare R1 to lifting a skyscraper off the ground and replacing the entire foundation.
X: I understand that the flex screens are another highlight of R1. Can you explain what flex screens are and what benefit they bring to users?
Jarle: If you want to understand flex screens, you need to be aware of what makes Xledger special. In Xledger, all of your data are available and accessible at a moment’s notice. While you’re in a system session, all transactional data is stored on your local browser. So there’s no difference in speed between accessing your current financials and accessing financials from a year or two ago.
All of that makes it hugely important that inquiries and reports give our customers the data they need, in the format they want. Otherwise, they can drown in too many fields.
So back to your question. Flex screens are a new, more intuitive method customers can use to approach their data. In a flex screen, our clients can make their searches very specific. They can set any period, whether that’s the last ten years or just one or two months from 2016. Somebody who’s searching can sort the results by different dimensions, and can chart results if they need to. Xledger has pre-built search templates available, but customers can define their own. To address data overload, flex screens now have it where only the fields in active use are displayed.
X: You mentioned that Xledger did make some UI changes for R1.
Jarle: We did, yes. We redesigned the color scheme and text alignment, introduced all-new icons. We added popular next steps to flex screens. In flex screens, also, you can add maps of your contacts’ addresses to their profiles. That’s some of what we did.
But really, UX isn’t just about the interface. Everything we’ve done for R1 has a massive impact on the end user’s experience of the system. The system should be intuitive and powerful enough that customers have a kind of…embedded gravity as they use it. We didn’t just put out a car with a new mirror and call it a new car. We improved everything, the engine and the paint, the tires, the aerodynamics.
X: Excellent. Thank you so much for taking the time, Mr. Sky.