REVIEWER: Ginny Lee, director of business operations for Intuit's small business personal finance division.
BACKGROUND: Intuit Inc. is the leading provider of financial software and Web-based services for consumers, small businesses and accounting professionals. Its flagship products and services, including Quicken, QuickBooks, Quicken TurboTax and Quicken Loans, simplify personal finance, small business management and payroll processing, tax preparation and filing, and home loans. Founded in 1983, Intuit has annual revenue of more than $1 billion and reaches 25 million customers with nearly 6,000 employees in 13 states and four countries.
PLATFORM: Sun SPARC on SunOS.
PROBLEM SOLVED: We needed more timely, comprehensive insight into customer buying behavior and product sales/revenue information from data provided by customers at the time of the sale and captured from Intuit's sales and ordering systems. There were several parts of the customer profile that were missing from their view such as order information data. Previously, this information had to be manually assembled from disparate data stores into spreadsheets, limiting its timeliness, accuracy and consistency. The Informatica Customer Relationship Analytics solution pulls data from many different source systems to deliver enterprise-wide data to business users on a regular and timely basis.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The Intuit small business and personal finance group found that Informatica Customer Relationship Analytics provides powerful analysis and reporting capabilities and yet is user-friendly. Informatica Customer Relationship Analytics helps Intuit gain clearer visibility into sales, products and channels by providing a unified view of key performance metrics across the organization.
STRENGTHS: One of the strongest features of the product is that it's built on the Informatica Data Integration Platform, which is the industry standard for data integration. Intuit's strategy is that its software choices should represent a long-term view on IT investment. Choosing the Informatica platform that supports multiple applications and the most data sources in the industry is at the core of that strategy. A strong data integration platform enables Intuit to consolidate data more quickly and more consistently. Because Informatica Customer Relationship Analytics is built on an industry-standard J2EE infrastructure, it scales well and is easy to administer and support. From a business user perspective, the greatest strengths of the Informatica analytics solution are that it provides an executive dashboard of key metrics more quickly and completely than in the past.
WEAKNESSES: Although the call center and CRM analytics functionality of Informatica Customer Relationship Analytics satisfied many of Intuit's needs, the application had to be extended and configured to fully support the nature of Intuit's business model. The product was designed to work with Business Objects, and Intuit's reporting tool is Brio. Although custom work had to be done to make the application compatible with Intuit's standard, the time was still significantly less than having to build an application from scratch.
SELECTION CRITERIA: In our view, Informatica is the industry leader with its extract-transform-load technology. Because the Informatica Data Integration Platform is built on open standards, it's a good foundation for our future application growth. Also the Informatica analytics solution met the needs of the Intuit business user with its broad set of prepackaged metrics.
DELIVERABLES: The business analysts and advanced users receive detailed reports and analyses from ad hoc queries and root-cause analysis. Unlike traditional BI tools, the Informatica solution is designed to empower nontechnical users to use the product without having to rely on expensive IT resources to program and build reports. For instance, order data can be analyzed by SKU number, sales representative, channel and product family.
VENDOR SUPPORT: The Informatica implementation team worked diligently in setting up the platform and the application. Customization to integrate Intuit's business intelligence tool took additional time and effort. The best part of working with Informatica has been the team's willingness and initiative to tackle unforeseen obstacles quickly. Post implementation, the Informatica team trained Intuit's IT staff on the application functionality to transition that knowledge as quickly as possible.
DOCUMENTATION: Informatica provided adequate documentation to Intuit, including materials such as technical architecture, design documents, source to target design documents and configuration documents. Intuit would like additional documentation on how the out-of-box product has been customized for Intuit's business.
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