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My key KPI: Customer retention

24th Jul 2018
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My key KPI
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Welcome to ‘My key KPI’, a weekly content series where we ask CFOs and FDs what metrics and measures they use to drive their businesses forward.

The aim is to understand how different finance professionals across a broad array of industries and sectors use data to inform their decision making.

For this week’s edition, we caught up with Elona Mortimer-Zhika, the chief financial officer of IRIS.

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My Key KPI: Customer retention

Mortimer-Zhika has been particularly busy over the past year. IRIS, where she is the CFO, has been on a spending spree: in May alone, the software giant bought TaxFiler and payroll software firm Star Computers.

Meanwhile, IRIS has been through its own cycle of sale and investment. In March, it was rumoured the private equity firm Hg Capital put IRIS up for sale, culminating in the UK’s largest-ever private equity-led software buyout.

Mortimer-Zhika has juggled these events with running the day-to-day. It wouldn’t be easy at any business, but the challenge is particularly acute at IRIS given the makeup of its customer base.

“IRIS’s top 20 customers are less than 5% of the business,” said Mortimer-Zhika. “It makes it hard for me to understand them. It’s different to my previous role, where 80% of my business came from my top 20 customers. It was easy to get to know your top 20 customers.”

Data acts as a substitute for this lack of intense familiarity with IRIS’s clients. If a client exodus was to occur, it’d be Mortimer-Zhika’s job to spot it early and stanch the bleeding. So she’s put together a data warehouse.

“It’s where we collect data from across the entirety of IRIS,” she said. “And then I use a BI tool to analyse and understand the different cohorts of IRIS customers.

“I analyse our customer base and find patterns around what makes the customer love IRIS or leave IRIS. We judge by vintage, what product they use, how many products they use from IRIS, what’s their location. I can create trends to identify their propensity for being happy or unhappy.”

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