Yellow Africa increases efficiency with Zoho Analytics

    80%Time saved in data analysis
    20%Increase in payment rates

"Zoho Analytics made us more efficient by helping us track our agents' performance—which is the lifeline of our business—our customer repayment rates to predict our cash flow for the future, and to identify potential write-offs for every year, thereby assessing potential risk."

Ben Walwyn
Chief Technology Officer, Yellow Africa

About Yellow Africa

Yellow Africa enables a distributed network of sales agents to serve rural households with life-changing products and services through digital technology. They operate in Malawi and Uganda, with a head office in Cape Town, South Africa. They essentially focus on rural households in Malawi and Uganda by distributing solar lamp systems, a consumer retail product which is solar-based and provides lighting to households. In rural Malawi, 90% of households don’t have access to electricity. Yellow's purpose is to make life better for people living in Africa.

Challenges: Large complex data

Ben Walwyn is the CTO of Yellow Africa, and not long ago, he realized that he needed to better track the performance of his business.

The company has nearly 800 agents, and he wanted to understand their performance, credit health, opportunities lost, payment patterns, and much more. With their agent application built on Zoho Creator, they needed a BI tool to analyze this data.

He was in need of an overall picture that would show the performance of his agents end-to-end, and help him increase payment rates for his company.

Yellow Africa wanted a solution that could:

  • Import and blend raw data from Zoho Creator
  • Get actionable sales insights through reports and dashboards
  • Provide collaborative analytics with user-based permissions

"We needed to understand the whole distribution of agents and their performance—across a host of measures in real time—to understand their portfolios and detect opportunities, and the credit health of each agent. To be able to do that, we were in need of a simple BI tool to see how an agent performs from day one."

Ben Walwyn
Chief Technology Officer, Yellow Africa

Solution: Zoho Analytics

Yellow Africa was using Microsoft Excel and Python to bring in data for analysis, which took up a substantial amount of their time. Moreover, Python requires custom code for analysis, which was complex.

The company started looking for a BI solution and then decided Zoho Analytics was the ideal choice, as they were already using Zoho Creator. Another factor in their decision was that Zoho Analytics had zero implementation costs.

They were especially wowed by the seamless data-blending capability between Creator and Analytics. The integration between the two solutions was quick and seamless, and they were able to integrate, blend, and generate reports within minutes.

Yellow Africa used Zoho Analytics to create:

  • Agent performance metrics that included sales run rate per agent, by product, by category, by region, by agent, and more
  • Customer repayment rates, like the percentage paid over time for any customer by region, by agent, etc. to predict cash flow
  • Write-off metrics, or the amount that's expected to be lost every month/year.

"Zoho Analytics gave us more control over our business. The important one is the sales run rate per agent. If the sales run rate goes low, then we have a very serious problem for that region, because they'll have customers who are still paying. If their agent stops working, then we'll lose a lot of money in those regions. We want to push the sales run rate higher and higher to grow faster. This is a key growth/risk metric for us, and Zoho Analytics enabled us to track it in real time."

With Zoho Analytics, insights about agent performance was made available easily to top management, investors, sponsors, and the board. This was critical in determining performance and identifying agents who needed more guidance, as well as to plan for the future.

Since most of the analysis work is now through Zoho Analytics, the company is saving nearly 80% of the time that used to be spent on data analysis.

Zoho also helped them improve their payment rates for Uganda, by closely tracking and comparing month-on-month numbers, to identify which customer payments were pending and have agents focus more on them. With continuous tracking and follow-up, the repayment rates have improved by 20%, and they're now targeting 100% repayment rates by the end of the year.

Features like query tables, merging data across tables, the variety of data visualizations, and the formula engine, pivot tables, and aggregate formulas were all of great value to Walwyn.

The dashboards created with Zoho Analytics are shared with 30+ users, including management, board, investors and departmental heads.

Benefits & results

  • Yellow Africa saved 80% of time previously spent on analytics
  • Increase in payment rates by 20% in Uganda
  • Created insightful unified dashboards
  • Enabled end-to-end agent insights.