Drinking the Cool-Aid: What I Like About Intuit Financial Services

Byline: Maggie Scarborough, Managing Director
(c) 2010  FinServ Strategies. All rights reserved.

Digital Insight changed its name to Intuit Financial Services on March 16, 2010, a sign of things to come. Intuit has an excellent chance of actually doing what we have been talking about for years in banking – delivering integrated financial services – banking integrated with business processes. Integrated financial services have eluded most financial institutions, except for highly customized services developed for the largest customers of the largest banks. But there is movement to delivering integrated financial services to small businesses. A recent example is Wells Fargo, which announced its Business Online Banking (BoB) invoicing service. What of the community banking market, however, that lacks the customer scale to invest in such services?

Intuit Financial Services intends to deliver integrated financial services to the small business market through its thousands of community bank customers, which lack the scale of “gigantor bank.”  From new and old bits, Intuit Financial Services is building its new Business Financial Solutions software as a service (SaaS) platform using new development while leveraging existing corporate banking and business banking solutions including Web and mobile channels, payments, accounting, tax, invoicing, and bill payment. Smartly, Intuit Financial Services created an upward migration path from micro-business all the way up to services suitable for sizable middle market companies.

The Business Financial Solutions platform is in version one and development will continue through 2012.  Intuit, however, has the ingredients to succeed. Visible progress in usability (the largest complaint) can be seen in a just-announced dashboard that give users one click access to major features and functions, including portlets that provide quick access to the most important activities and most common reports. It has also created familiar bill payment usability to its payments, which will help banks sell the solution and provide businesses easy use.  A plus is that the company won’t have to build everything from scratch. Intuit owns the more complex high-end cash management intellectual property, has a major concentration of business users of Quicken, QuickBooks, and Turbo Tax for Small Business and the new Tax Caster service, and the newly minted (no pun intended) Small Business FinanceWorks. The company does, however, lack its own proprietary bill payment.

Intuit’s development approach is sound. Rather than listen entirely to what banks think businesses want (no offense intended), Intuit uses the “Design for Delight” process, which  builds in real end user input to process requirements straight from the business’s offices, desks, and autos. This capture of native process is essential to success in today’s process-driven business model. Plus bank adoption barriers are low as Intuit is smart enough not to charge to existing bank customers and arm and a leg to move upward to the new platform capability.  It is an investment in the success of its 7,000 financial institution customers and leverage of 7 million business uses of its software.

It was time for the Digital Insight name to submerge. It doesn’t really reflect the depth of what Intuit Financial Services can do on its journey to integrated financial services for consumers and businesses.  Completing the Business Financial Solutions vision depends on commitment we don’t see wavering.  Intuit is a seasoned SaaS provider that is making significant investment in its infrastructure including Web services and cloud computing. The company sits at the junction of businesses, processes, and banking. A recession is the perfect moment for community institutions to compete with big banks in the small business market, but most are very inexperienced with cash management and business processes. This is why Intuit, which is experienced in directly supporting businesses, may be an excellent partner, providing they sustain their investment. Am I drinking the cool-aid, maybe, but with a healthy dose of Intuit’s business process experience as the sweetener.

(c) 2010 FinServ Strategies

–end, please comment

http://www.FinServStrategies.com
Maggie Scarborough, Managing Director
Maggie@FinServStrategies.com, +1 410.685.2324

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