Sunday, April 26, 2009

No.6 Intuit Technology


Industry: IT
Employees: 224
Workplace locations: 1
Business units: 1
Unique roles: 16

A WORK culture that answers to customers is Intuit’s “secret sauce”, says Managing Director Vijay Anand. “Engineers, typically, never get to connect directly with customers. They sit in their cubicles and come up with cool products they think people will want. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way,” he says.

So, Intuit teaches its engineers to follow their customers—that is, meet prospective users of their products, at their workplace (small enterprises like a tailor shop, a local kirana store, a beauty salon, a welding shop, a farming field). The objective is to see their pain points first-hand, and then design products that provide a soothing effect.

Typically, 10-15% of the work time of engineers is left free for them to follow the customer home, connect with the outside world and solve real-time problems that have the potential to become the next big Intuit product. Unstructured time, it’s termed. “This free time is not monitored—you are free to do as you please,” says an employee.

Engineers don’t have to wait endlessly to see their ideas take shape—it can take just six weeks for an idea to move into the prototype stage. UVG Sekar, Head, Human Resources, says Intuit helps engineers hone their entrepreneurial skills, be it the ability to take risks, the passion for an idea, taking an idea to fruition or customer orientation. Products like TurboTax, the number one tax preparation software in the US, and QuickBooks, the number one business accounting software for small enterprises,are outcomes of such support systems.

This open culture requires active participation by senior management. The company is proud of this culture—senior managers are often found lounging around with employees, discussing ideas and strategies. Access to senior management is actively encouraged—Founder & Chairman Scott Cook himself conducts a few training sessions for employees every year. All this makes it a satisfying experience for employees, who vote with their mouths—30-40% of lateral hiring in the company is through employee referrals.

Source : outlook business

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