Intuit Taps Web 2.0 Technologies - InformationWeek

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2/1/2007
05:25 PM
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Intuit Taps Web 2.0 Technologies

The financial software maker is hiring engineers who can develop rich online apps to augment its marquee products

Tax preparation and financial software maker Intuit is gearing up for the next phase of its product offerings--one that may include lightweight widget-like applications. To do that, CTO Kris Halvorsen is hiring engineers who can develop rich online applications to augment Intuit's marquee products: QuickBooks, Quicken, and TurboTax for small businesses and home users, and ProSeries and Lacerte for accountants and tax preparers.

Halvorsen says he's motivated by the company's partnership last year with Google. The search vendor's AdWords campaign management product and other Google-related features are integrated into the workflow of QuickBooks. "Hybrid solutions give you the benefit of the desktop and online connectivity. We're using more and more of these design paradigms that move us into that realm," he says.

Intuit is focused on five areas with its next round of hiring and products: collaboration, mobility, user contribution, data, and new interaction technologies, Halvorsen says. Collaboration is already a core feature in products such as Intuit's TurboTax Personal Pro, which has integrated an instant messaging client that includes videoconferencing as an interactive product between a customer and a tax specialist online.

Mobility centers on the various ways in which customers can submit or monitor their business activities. "You can file your taxes in Norway using a GSM phone with SMS [Short Message Service], but their tax forms are a lot easier than ours here in the U.S.," Halvorsen says.

User contributions are coming in the form of online support groups, including a social networking site that taps into the directory of Google Custom Search Engines.

Intuit also is tapping into other Web 2.0 technologies. The company's TaxAlmanac is modeled after Wikipedia and is subjected to a strict peer review of tax professionals.

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