Jurnal by Mekari Helps SMEs Digitalize with SaaS Solutions on AWS
Modern, Work-from-Anywhere Solution
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Indonesian economy. Nearly 60 million mom-and-pop shops across the island nation contribute 64 percent to the country’s GDP. Jurnal by Mekari (Jurnal) is a cloud-based accounting software created to serve these customers.
When Daniel Witono, founder and chief product officer of Mekari, established Jurnal in 2015, his vision for the software-as-a-service (SaaS) startup was to provide a modern accounting solution that wouldn’t require a large IT team to maintain. Unlike traditional accounting systems running on on-premises servers, Jurnal supports SMEs with a pay-as-you-go costing model while enabling SME employees to work from anywhere. The business was born on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud, and Witono selected AWS for the startup credit he received and the strength of the online AWS support community.
Time-to-market is really critical, and AWS supports us in that area.”
Founder and Chief Product Officer, Mekari
Adding Value with Native Cloud Services
In 2019, Jurnal merged with two other SaaS vendors, Sleekr and Talenta, into Mekari, with a mission to enable SMEs to digitally transform their backend operations and ultimately foster their competitiveness. Mekari offers a suite of four software products that facilitate financial, tax, and human resources (HR) management. A team of eight engineers work on Jurnal and Talenta, each tasked with a value-driven function such as customer acquisition or retention.
Without any dedicated DevOps or Ops engineers, Jurnal finds value in the intuitive AWS interface and native automation features such as monitoring and backups. Witono says, “Being on AWS helps control our headcount, which is a priority for startups like us. Developers can make changes themselves without the need for dedicated DevOps engineers.”
Low Time-to-Market Enables Frequent Releases
One of the benefits SMEs can expect from Jurnal’s cloud-based software is continuous, seamless platform enhancement. This allows SMEs to stay on top of evolving reporting requirements and financial trends without the need to update software or handle releases on their own. Jurnal engineers sometimes deploy daily, with an average of 5–10 minor platform deployments a month. “Time-to-market is really critical, and AWS supports us in that area. If we have a new code ready, we can push it to production in 1 or 2 hours,” Witono says.
In addition to minor improvements, Jurnal introduces major system changes or new services once or twice per quarter. Recently, it released a revised invoicing system to benefit larger customers that have complex operations or multiple branches spread across the country. The new system lets customers set multiple payment terms for different services based on their delivery dates. Jurnal users thus spend less time processing invoices and can offer their own customers better payment terms.
Scaling While Saving Costs
Jurnal has grown exponentially in the past two years. Its database, containing years of books from tens of thousands of customers, has likewise multiplied. Currently, Jurnal stores about 10 TB of customer data.
However, with growth often comes growing pains. Last year, the company noticed high latency in database queries, which was slowing the software down. Fast access and high availability directly impact Jurnal customers’ ability to execute core financial functions. “Low latency is critical for our customers to operate our software and increase productivity when serving customers,” Witono says. After consulting with AWS solutions architects, Jurnal found a way to efficiently add computing resources to resolve and avoid such bottlenecks in the future.
“AWS solutions architects give us deep insights about our infrastructure and how to scale while saving costs. We are more efficient with capacity planning because they advise us on how to calculate and predict resource consumption,” Witono says. Jurnal now uses AWS Elastic Beanstalk to set a schedule for deploying and scaling up its applications during business hours, when user traffic peaks.
Developing an Advanced Analytics Practice
Jurnal has been able to optimize its architecture as the company grows, which helps keep costs down for SMEs with minimal software or IT budgets. To overcome its database capacity issue, Jurnal moved its logs to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)—which the company also uses to store data that has been processed for analysis—gaining efficiency and cost savings. Amazon S3 is used as the foundation for the company’s data lake, along with AWS Glue and Amazon Athena.
Currently, the startup is using Amazon Elasticsearch Service to run queries and Amazon ElastiCache to simplify search and analytics. Jurnal is also investing in an advanced analytics practice to better understand its customers’ level of engagement with the software and identify what is required to grow their own businesses. The three other products in the Mekari group also use AWS to support their software, which streamlines data aggregation and analytics across the organization.
One project under consideration is the use of machine learning to make predictions for customers based on transaction data from past years and future economic indicators. “We hope to have the capability within coming years to estimate future sales levels for our customers, which would be a first in the Indonesian market,” Witono shares.
Increasing Technology Adoption
Machine learning is just one of the ways Witono plans to help his customers digitalize. With the support of the Mekari partner companies and a foundation on AWS, Jurnal is well on its way to increasing technology adoption and sophistication among Indonesian SMEs. “The AWS experience is really great,” he concludes. “The community, support, pricing, and all the services available to us have enabled our company to grow faster.”
To learn more, visit AWS Elastic Beanstalk.
About Jurnal by Mekari
Jurnal by Mekari is one of four technology products in the Mekari group, a company that offers accounting software as a service to small and medium enterprises in Indonesia. The group’s mission is to help domestic SMEs prosper through digitalization.
Benefits of AWS
- Deploys new code in 1 or 2 hours
- Scales exponentially in 2 years
- Introduces 1–2 new features every quarter
- Stores 10 TB of customer data for processing
AWS Services Used
AWS Elastic Beanstalk
AWS Elastic Beanstalk is an easy-to-use service for deploying and scaling web applications and services developed with Java, .NET, PHP, Node.js, Python, Ruby, Go, and Docker on familiar servers such as Apache, Nginx, Passenger, and IIS.
Amazon Elasticsearch Service
Amazon Elasticsearch Service is a fully managed service that makes it easy for you to deploy, secure, and run Elasticsearch cost effectively at scale.
Amazon ElastiCache allows you to seamlessly set up, run, and scale popular open-Source compatible in-memory data stores in the cloud.
Amazon Simple Storage Service
Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance.
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