Cloud Success Hinges On Customer Satisfaction, Partners


In the opening keynote kicking off the All About The Cloud conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Intuit Senior Vice President and CTO Tayloe Stansbury said the 26-year-old business productivity software company first tackled SaaS in 1999 with its Web-based TurboTax tax software. Now, more than two-thirds of TurboTax users, roughly 13 million people, leverage the cloud-based version of the popular tax software, pushing Intuit’s estimated SaaS revenue to $1 billion for this year. Additionally, a host of SMB customers are leveraging Intuit cloud-based software offerings to run their businesses.

“The game may have changed, but the rules -- including focusing on the customer -- have stayed the same,” he said.

Intuit’s 10-year journey into the cloud, Stansbury said, was fueled by its key principles of focusing heavily on customers and customer service and building an ecosystem of data, users and partners: principles that can be adopted by solution providers and other SaaS players to ensure success as well.

Stansbury said Intuit relies on word of mouth -- which represents about 80 percent of new sales -- and customer feedback to ensure it creates an active customer base. Additionally, Intuit focuses heavily on understanding the customer and how customers work, engaging customers at every turn.

Sponsored post

“The customer is at the heart of everything we do,” he said.

The trick to cloud and SaaS success, he said, is to find an important unsolved customer problem that you can solve well.

From there, Stansbury said, building and leveraging an ecosystem of partners and third-party developers is a main catalyst for cloud success. Intuit offers the Intuit Partner Platform (IPP), in which partners and third-party developers can build and distribute applications that ride on top of Intuit’s cloud offerings. For example, Stansbury said, one partner built a third-party application called AuditMyBooks, a subscription service that analyzes QuickBooks data to find errors and possible instances fraud.

Additionally, Intuit offers an open source SDK for the IPP which lets developers build for Intuit software offerings and share code.

Ultimately, Stansbury said, finding success in the cloud and with SaaS requires strong partnerships.

“Figure out what you do best and build and leverage an ecosystem for everything else,” Stansbury said.