Improving the Functionality and Performance of a Leading Solution
With more than four million active users of its financial management solutions for small and mid-sized businesses and accounting professionals, Intuit Inc. is an industry leader. Innovation and the continuous improvement of its products and services are the driving forces behind the company's success.
From senior management to its frontline employees, Intuit is passionate about paying attention to what its customers need. For example, many representatives from the company's engineering, marketing and support organizations visit customers at least once a year to talk with them, see how they are using its products and to gain first-hand insights into the business challenges they face. Intuit calls this customer driven innovation and it is a major factor in its success.
In the case of QuickBooks software, one of the company's flagship products, the insights gained from customer visits led the engineering team to conclude that it needed to improve the way QuickBooks managed users' data. The QuickBooks technical team felt it could deliver even better functionality, performance and reporting capabilities. To do this, the team decided to replace its existing flat file data management system with SQL Anywhere from Sybase iAnywhere.
SQL Anywhere Selected for Immediate and Future Needs
"Our goal is to help our customers save time on every day financial tasks such as creating estimates and invoices, processing payments, paying bills, managing payroll and more," says Siddharth Ram, Intuit group architect. "QuickBooks also enables them to see the big picture at a glance – to see all of their customer, vendor and employee information in one place. To do this, they need to be able to manage their financial data accurately and easily. We realized that by moving to a true relational database we could enhance the capabilities and the value of QuickBooks for our customers."
Ram and his team evaluated several relational database offerings before selecting SQL Anywhere. "We evaluated various products based on a list of criteria that included the ability to embed the database in QuickBooks, the ease of use and maintenance of the products, as most of our customers do not have DBAs or IT staff in-house, and on the basis of performance both in single-user and multi-user configurations," he recalls. Our evaluation and check of customer references convinced us that SQL Anywhere was the best suited solution for our immediate and future needs."
The changeover to SQL Anywhere in QuickBooks was completely transparent to Intuit's customers. As they upgraded their versions of QuickBooks, they received the SQL Anywhere-powered version.
Significant Improvements and Benefits
For example, while many small companies implement QuickBooks as a single-user application, larger organizations deploy QuickBooks in a multi-user, client-server configuration.
The earlier version of QuickBooks allowed customers to have a modest number of users working on QuickBooks concurrently. The earlier version of QuickBooks allowed customers to have a modest number of users working on QuickBooks concurrently. Now with customer data stored in SQL Anywhere, users can slice and dice their data in ways that were simply not possible before, and to do so with significantly improved performance.
"Using SQL Anywhere has improved the productivity of engineers and the functionality of QuickBooks considerably," says Ram, "which makes it a much more valuable tool for our customers.
A Very Solid and Productive Relationship
"One of the reasons we really like working with Sybase iAnywhere is because they have a really, really responsive support team that has pulled out all the stops on a number of occasions for us. We have also established a really good relationship with Professional Services where they pitch in with their SQL Anywhere expertise whenever we have a question or need to meet a deliverable fast," Ram explains.
"SQL Anywhere has provided us with a full function relational database management solution that is cost-effective, maintenance free, and continuously evolving," says Ram. "From our experience with the services we've received and with using SQL Anywhere, we feel very confident about continuing to use SQL Anywhere as our products evolve. The result is better functionality and performance for our customers and easier and faster development for our engineers.