Whether pandering to their voting blocks, politicians in this election cycle often say that most innovation takes place in small businesses. Indeed, how many times have we heard a statement to the effect of “The entrepreneurial spirit is a critical part of the global workforce and gross domestic product”? Yet small to medium business (SMB)-driven innovation often gets overlooked, as large companies have much more marketing muscle and public interest. The same holds in the enterprise software space, where Google, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, salesforce.com, Facebook, NetSuite, etc., first come to mind as the major technology innovators.
Not many think of Intuit Inc., a leading provider of business and financial management solutions for small and midsized businesses, as a tireless innovator. Perhaps many folks think that good accounting (well beyond a pocket calculator and spreadsheets) is not that innovation intensive? Yet, over the last several years, Intuit has met the challenges of innovating in an increasingly social, mobile, and global world, as the Gen Y workforce is coming into the accounting world with similar expectations of consumer-like simplicity for business software users. Brand new Intuit customers don’t usually think of going to, say, Staples or Best Buy, and buying a CD of accounting software and uploading it onto their PC. They live their lives on their mobile phone, tablet, and the Internet. That is where business software customers of the future will be. Read the rest of this entry »