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11/16/2007
03:09 PM
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Intuit Sneaks Into Enterprise Collaboration

Intuit's Quickbase, a Web-based workgroup collaboration app, has quietly found its way into 53 of the largest 100 companies, the company says.

Three of the largest mega-trends in business technology -- software as a service, collaboration, and the ever-growing power of employees to bring their own tech into the workplace -- are making Intuit, best-known as the makers of personal and small business financial software like Quicken and TurboTax, an unlikely contender in the enterprise collaboration market.

Intuit's Quickbase, a Web-based workgroup collaboration app, has quietly found its way into 53 of the largest 100 companies. However, though Intuit has offered an enterprise version of the software for a few years, it's not gotten into big business by any great effort on the part of the company or of the IT department; rather, it's been generally brought in by business leaders, according to Intuit execs.

"Up until the last couple of years, it hasn't taken off in sales, and it's because we hadn't figured out how to position it in the market and who to sell it to," Bill Lucchini, VP and GM of Quickbase, admitted in an interview. Now, however, Quickbase is finding itself more often among teams in large businesses. "The great thing with QuickBase? They say, that's a great application, let me slide my credit card and let's go. That's the way we've been selling QuickBase and growing this business."

Quickbase is a collaborative Web app that consists of a significant number of ready-made, customizable workgroup apps for tasks like project management and sales management and allows users to build their own app via simple templates. Customers have built apps for resource scheduling, order management, and conference registration.

Intuit has grasped the opportunity to launch into bigger businesses, and plans to push forward as approved software, instead of coming in under the radar to the dismay of IT admins. To that end, Intuit will soon launch a new version of Quickbase, Quickbase Enterprise Edition, to which the company says it will dedicate significant support staff and attach newly scalable pricing. Quickbase Enterprise Edition will include directory integration and some significant new security features, such as granular user, password and access control.

"What we really tried to do was thread that needle between centralization and decentralization, to continue to give those business owners the capability to customize, but build out those reporting capabilities and those management capabilities," Peter Fearey, Intuit's group marketing manager for Quickbase, said in an interview.

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