Intuit develops business and financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses including financial institutions, banks and credit unions, as well as consumers and accounting professionals.
The company’s products and services simplify business management and payroll processing, business and personal finance, tax preparation and tax filing.
Intuit’s enterprise products include QuickBase database development tools, QuickBooks Point of Sale, QuickBooks enterprise solutions and related business applications.
“Our company is professionally managed to stay lean and efficient,” said Karen Hartsell, Manager for Channel Development, Intuit Solution Provider Programs. “We don’t have a direct sales force for our enterprise products – instead, we depend on a network of 400 expert resellers to serve our enterprise customers in the field.”
When Hartsell joined Intuit in summer 2008, her first mission was to implement an automated, single-statement system to manage three different channel programs, each with its own unique requirements. “Because our core technologies are specialized and targeted to different market segments, we have three enterprise product divisions, each with its own solution provider network. About 25 percent of these resellers belong to more than one of our programs, so it’s important that our data and reporting infrastructure delivers a consistent look and feel while fulfilling the needs of all three programs,” Hartsell added.
Critical 60 Day Deadline
The company had a national partner conference scheduled in 60 days, and Hartsell was tasked with rolling out a consolidated co-op management and partner portal by that deadline.
“This was a tall order with a short timeframe. There are significant liabilities associated with co-op programs if you don’t do them right. Co-op is one of those categories that was abused by other companies in years past and it’s highly scrutinized today as a result of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Since Intuit is an accounting-oriented company, we had to execute this flawlessly.”
Making a Wise, Safe Investment
“We had the option of using Intuit’s in-house development resources to create an automated co-op tracking system, but we thought it would be wiser to rely on experienced third-party experts who could deploy existing, best-practice technology and host best-in-class SaaS solutions to manage our reseller base. In our business, you want to play it safe when you’re dealing with audit criteria,” Hartsell explained.
In addition to meeting their critical 60-day rollout target, Intuit needed a flexible, extendable global solution that could grow and evolve as their channels expanded within and beyond North America.
“We evaluated a number of potential vendors and consulted some industry experts who pointed us immediately to CMR. I had previously met the people from CMR when I worked at 3Com and I knew they did a great job there. CMR already had existing co-op management solutions that closely matched our requirements at Intuit, and all we needed was some branding and fine-tuning to tailor them to our programs. It became quickly obvious that CMR’s Partner Avenue channel management applications were the wisest, safest investment for Intuit to make and were also likely to produce a better ROI than other alternatives.
“CMR responded quickly to our requests and rapidly implemented a single statement co-op management system for our three reseller networks on time and within budget. We were so pleased with this initial tool that we expanded it into what we now call our ‘Solution Provider Tracker.’ This is a single, integrated application that helps us manage 400 resellers across our three core technologies. It gives us the big picture on finance data, revenue and statement information on all of our solution providers.”
Intuit’s channel support team is now investigating ways to integrate the Solution Provider Tracker from CMR with other systems in the company to enable executives and sales managers to view dashboards and reports that show how the channel is contributing to the company’s overall financial performance.
“We have a marketing-on-demand system and other data repositories that we’d like to connect to the CMR reseller tracking system. Since CMR was so responsive to our earlier requests, we’ll probably ask them to take on the development of these interconnections. We’d like to have even more automation and more real-time data at our fingertips.”
“We evaluate how well we met key milestones and rollout schedules,” Hartsell answered. “When we promised last year to deliver a new co-op system to our resellers within 60 days, we absolutely had to be on time, and CMR was very successful in meeting that firm deadline. We also look closely at feedback from the people who use the system, and I can say that our internal users and resellers are very happy with CMR’s solutions. This satisfaction gives our department high credibility with our solution providers and our peers in the company.”
Measuring how reseller channels are contributing to the big picture is critical to Intuit executives. The Solutions Provider Tracker developed by CMR is now among the best systems in the company for measuring performance and results, according to Hartsell.
“CMR is unquestionably one of our best partners. When we sit down with CMR and look for ways to solve a challenge, I feel that we connect with them in a spirit of true partnership. They’re always willing to be flexible and listen to our ideas. So now, when we need to develop a new reseller tool or application, we’re quick to call CMR, because we know that we’ll have a good conversation and it will be an excellent experience.
“CMR is unquestionably one of our best partners. When we sit down with CMR and look for ways to solve a challenge, I feel that we connect with them in a spirit of true partnership.”
Karen Hartsell, Channel Development Manager