Intuit’s chief innovation officer talks tablets

March 30, 2012
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Tablets are reshaping the landscape for Intuit, believes Kris Halvorsen, the chief innovation officer and a senior vice president of the financial services software giant.


“When you have a new piece of hardware with such broad adoption, the challenge is to redo all your offerings unique to the platform,” he tells TabTimes earlier today while hanging out at Intuit’s Innovation Gallery Walk held in New York’s Chelsea district.


The Gallery Walk is a fine idea: a product showcase dressed up as individual scenes, or “vignettes,” as Intuit corporate communications calls them. Over here is “Lily’s Florist” and across the way is “Mike’s Loft.”  Other scenarios include a working coffee shop (where guests can imbibe a high end caffeine fix) and a photo studio, all small businesses working better with tablets and other tech using Intuit products.


The company does just fine with tablet downloads, thank you. Its best-known product, TurboTax, was the overall top-grossing app in the App Store in the first two weeks it was released this tax season, confirmed a company spokeswoman. Among its offerings for the SMB market are Intuit Loan Finder, Intuit Payment Network and Mint, a finance app for iPad and Android that Halvorsen calls “super cool.”


The chief innovation officer says the company develops for both iPad and Android. Asked about the difference in working with them, he allows that Apple has “a tighter set of design guidelines and processes.”


He’s proud of the products the company has created. “We were the first among everybody to develop apps for SMB on the [Motorola Android] Xoom tablet,” he said. “We brought it out last year.”


I asked him about Windows 8 and whether Intuit will develop products for it. His answer mirrors pretty much everyone else’s. “If it takes off, we will develop for it,” he said. When I asked him if it was too late to the game, he shrugged it off: “When you’re late, you learn a lot from other people’s mistakes.”


Among the throng at the Gallery Walk were some end-users including Chrisie Canny, the owner of a jewelry business called FortuneKeeper. She’s a tablet believer from Brooklyn who uses her device to handle customers and payments. “I use my tablet for business about 50 per cent of the time,” she said. “And the more apps they come up with, the more I’ll use it.”


Halvorsen seems genuinely psyched about the possibilities of tablets in the workplace going forward. “These are exciting times,” he said.



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