Business Information Systems Intuit Analysis Thesis

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Business Information Systems

Intuit Case Study Analysis

(i) Use this case study to explain how and why a given application, if left unchanged, invariably declines in usefulness.

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Any software application that over time does not stay in step with the preferences, wants and needs of customers will becoming increasingly irrelevant and fall out of use. This is one of the factors that contributed to NetScape's browser being eventually overtaken by Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. In the case study the researchers are continually looking for how they can add value to the 20 million American citizens who prepare their taxes by hand, in addition to those using a competing tax application already, or those hiring tax preparers. For those completing their tax returns manually, this has shown to be an incredibly time-consuming, tedious and given the myriad of new laws and regulations, a task that could potentially lead to significant errors in their returns. What is refreshing about the research practices of Intuit is that they are on a mission to enrich the user experience of their application, and this is shown in the drastic reduction of 125 setup screens to just three based on customer feedback. How much easier it would be to use fear as the motivator for people to buy their tax applications by showing statistics of how many people get audited that complete their returns by hand. Yet instead of relying on fear the company looks to continually align their applications to the unmet needs and pain points of their customers. In that recognition of how critical building applications are around customers' pain points is the insight into how to stay relevant as a software program and as a company.

Thesis on Business Information Systems Intuit Case Study Analysis Assignment

For this approach to innovation to be compatible and consistently applied across all product lines for years it must be an integral part of the Intuit culture. The case study makes the point hat failure is tolerated, even celebrated within the company. In an interview the CEO of Intuit has done (Mendonca, Sneader, 2007) this approach to nurturing innovation by taking customer listening to an entirely new level is a core value of the company. As with any initiative, for it to excel there must be a strong level of support for the CEO to make it matter and get done, consistently across product lines. Clearly this commitment to never stop innovating products at Intuit starts with the CEO's support and encouragement.

All of these factors contribute to the fact that any application, to remain relevant, must be anchored in pain points that represent the unmet needs of customers it is designed to serve. Cleary Intuit sees this as so valuable they are not buying market research reports about tax software off of Amazon.com or marketresearch.com; they are seeking the voice of their customers' first-hand.

(ii) This is Case Study Question 2 "Which do you prefer & #8230;" on page 510 of the textbook, concerning Case Study 3 "Intuit Inc."

Which do you prefer: Intuit's customer-driven development process, where hundreds of employees and managers are sent to consult with customers in their homes or places of business, or Microsoft's process of using professional anthropologist to do such research? Why?

In effect both will deliver exceptional insights, far beyond what can be learned from reading a summarized market research or purchasing a research report on the software applications of interest. In choosing to pursue the direction Intuit has taken I would reflect on the lessons learned by Japanese managers as they sought to learn about the distribution channels of the photography market in the U.S. (Johansson, Nonaka, 1987). Much can be understood and appreciated, and invaluable lessons learned from having the product development, engineering, marketing, sales and service teams at customers' homes or offices listening to their unmet needs and how they are trying to get to their goals on their jobs. Software, to stay relevant, must continually strive to help customers attain their objectives and also overcome their pain points (Mendonca, Sneader, 2007). The Microsoft approach of using anthropologists is quite effective for capturing ethnographic data that can be used for producing software applications and games aligned to their preferences (McMillan, Ng, 2007) yet the dispersion of this knowledge throughout the company could be problematic. It is better to have an approach to capturing customer insights that permeates an organization as Intuit does so that key assumptions about its value can be interpreted in teams and quickly integrated into products. Of the two approaches, the Intuit one would create a greater level of innovation in the culture of the any company. Microsoft's use of ethnographic research to define their branding strategies including "People Ready" is well-known (Maddox, 2006) yet this approach does not lend itself well to making knowledge permeate throughout an organization. It does however product targeted corporate-wide strategies.

SmartPhone Evaluation

(iii) Look at Figure 12.22 on page 497 of the textbook ("Hardware Evaluation Factors"). Suppose that you work for an insurance company and your IT team has to select a brand of smartphone for the company's business insurance sales force. These salespeople usually travel to customer sites. How would you rank or weight the factors in Figure 12.22 for this hardware selection? Explain your assumptions and conclusions. Weighting is done by assigning a factor to each item prior to the evaluation of smartphone models. The factors add up to 1 (or 100 if expressed as a percentage).

As smartphones have the potential to drastically improve the responsiveness of a sales force to customers, and insurance is a service-centric business, it is critically important that the device chosen has a high degree of reliability, connectivity and security. These are the top three criteria, as reliability is a core requirement to ensure the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is kept as low as possible for the entire project. Second, it is critical that the smartphone be capable of working with the many internally created applications and systems. This is why connectivity also has a score of .15. Lastly security is crucial in the life insurance business as many transactions involve customers' health and personal income data. All of these factors are critical for a smartphone to be effective in accelerating selling cycles as well. The factors of performance, cost, compatibility, and ergonomics all have a score of .10 as these factors are needed yet not as critical as reliability, connectivity and security for example. This selection of options is also meant to drive down the costs of operating and maintaining the phones as well. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is a critical concern when a company standardizes on new technology.

Hardware Attribute

Rating

Performance

.10

Cost

.10

Reliability

.15

Compatibility

.10

Technology

.05

Ergonomics

.10

Connectivity

.15

Scalability

.05

Software

.05

Security

.15

Totals

This End Up

(iv) "This End Up" is principally a moderate-priced furniture manufacturer. In the 1990's they operated stores in malls across the U.S. After going through bankruptcy, the company transitioned to largely a Web-order-only organization. Based on their website http://www.thisendup.com / and ancillary reading (e.g., http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/113594 / ), use the topics in Chapter 12 as much as applicable to describe a comeback strategy that you either see already implemented or that you would implement yourself.

In turning around the furniture retailer This End Up I would first assess just integrated the suppliers were with manufacturing and fulfillment, and audit incoming supply chain and costs. Next, I'd begin to benchmark production and consider migrating to a centralized Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that could manage all inbound materials and also report back financials on performance based on fulfillment and sales. In terms of selling I'd make the website much simpler to use than it is today by creating a product configuration system that would allow customers to define their own furniture… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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