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Implementing Enterprise 2.0 at Intuit, Part Five: Operational Impact and Lessons Learned

Posted by on July 24, 2010

This is part five (and the final part) in a multi-part series on how Intuit is implementing Enterprise 2.0 within their organization.  Part one covered the business drivers of Enterprise 2.0, part two looked at some of the change management issues of Enterprise 2.0, part three explored cultural and organization shifts,  part 4 talked about technology adoption and encouraging use, and today we’re going to take a look at the operational impact and lessons learned within Intuit.

The largest operational impact that Intuit realized was the speed in which it was able to go from idea concept to putting something in the customers hands.  Prior to any type of E2.0 initiatives it took Intuit around 13 months to come up with a product idea, build it, and put it into the hands of the users.  After their E2.0 efforts Intuit was able to do this in 5 months, a 60% decrease.  In the 6 months after Brainstorm was released the rate of ideation went up by around 1000% and the amount of participation was up over 500%.  Intuit has also developed several solutions that came as a result of internal ideas, many of these products are now generating revenue for Intuit and solving real world customer problems.

Tools make it far easier for employees to collaborate and work together whether they are in an office or not.  If you are a remote worker it is easier to still to become a part of the company and stay together as opposed to feeling detached and isolated.  Instead of having “remote” employees Intuit has what it calls a flexible workplace and these new tools are helping make that happen.  Tools help reduce a lot of collaboration friction.

Employees are now asking one another for help and are reaching out to people that they have never met.  Here are some quotes from team members at Intuit:

“You have one team out in Texas, and 2 teams in San Diego who didn’t know each other.  Through Brainstorm, they realized that there were other teams out there and they joined forces.  Now just a few months later, there is a project fully resourced and in market.”

“I didn’t even know these individuals who “appeared” from various functions and across business units to lend support and help guide me along.  As a result, I was able to assemble an implementation strategy without a lot of background experience.  This helped foster the idea, move it to the point of pilot and now it is generating promising results.”

Intuit is using a host of tools and platforms in addition to Brainstorm.

Yammer (very recently sanctioned by Intuit so it’s not at scale yet)

Used as human powered search engine.  Employees ask questions and within around an hour or two they receive responses this is much easier and efficient than finding managers and asking them for information.  Yammer is great because it has a memory or in other words there is a record of interaction.  There are around 1,900 users and this is growing every day.  Many employees also use yammer to share information and content with each other.

Office communicator for IM (or Gchat) or any IM (available to everyone)

Used as a way to chat with people, integrated with calendar and corp directory.

Brainstorm, for ideation (about15-20% of employees using it in a given month).

Over 3800 ideas have been shared since it started. was also created which is a public facing website that highlights innovation (plays an important role in making sure teams know there’s an easy way to get their innovative work into the hands of customers to see whether they’re solving an important problem well).  Brainstorm is not only highly energizing for entrepreneurial employees, but also helps provide critical early feedback to guide further work and investment.


Currently there are dozens of active installations storing information and process information.  Also used to keep track of meeting notes and projects.

WordPress blogs

There are currently a couple dozen wordpress blogs active in any one week (the same with Joinin blog, another internal blogging platform on Lotus Connections).  Some blogs are used for teams to update information on what they (or the company) are working on.  They are also used for general communication and personal information.


Mostly used for small group meetings when people are not in the same room.  It’s deployed on an ad-hoc basis and is used only for meetings.  Employees  collaboratively take notes in etherpad and when the notes are closed the final version goes in media wiki.

Internal video

The CEO communicates with the company regularly to provide news and updates and leaders use it as a way to update the business units as to what is knew in that area, i.e. new payroll mandate from government or all hands meetings.

Lotus Connections

A few dozen active blogs are active and around 40% of employees have done some editing of their profile.  Rich profiles help people find subject matter experts.


Used for online customizable database for teams.  Heavily used by teams for workflow management and as document repository.  Any time you need structured data you can use this, i.e. reporting, customer list, etc.  process and notification management.

As far as future plans for enhancement go Intuit has a few ideas for things they want to do such as developing a “who knows what” section or a Q&A area.  If someone answers or asks a question that was already asked/answered they can automatically find a link or info.  When asked about “lessons learned” Intuit shared that it’s important to always answer the question of “what’s in it for me”.  You have to give employees a reason to care about what it is they are doing.  Focus on the users first and the company second and really understand how does it make their job easier and their life easier.  Another important lessons they learned is “no anonymity.”  Social media applications work best when supported by well designed programs that catalyze initial usage and give them ongoing purpose.  They’re also increasingly effective as they’re woven into the fabric of employees’ normal workflow.  Intuit admits that they still have work to do and that the challenge for them is broad based adoption because they are still trying to understand how to put value on productivity and engagement.

When I asked about any horror stories at Intuit, they replied…”no horror stories.”

Key Takeaways
  • time to market with E2.0 decreased by over 60%
  • rate of ideation increased by around 1000% and participation increased by 500%
  • E2.0 made it easier for employees to feel like they are still a part of the company whether they are in the office or not, and allowed the work just as efficiently
  • employees started connecting with and helping other employees even though they have never met
  • employee values and benefits come before corporate benefits
  • still hard to put value on engagement and productivity
  • Kathleen Garolsky

    Thank you for the very good post! It’s high quality.I can't wait to see your next post.Thanks..

  • Thanks Jacob, interesting series, compliments to the folks at Intuit!

    • you are very welcome, glad you enjoyed it!