Intuit: TaxAlmanac

By Sean Harrington, Andrew Rachleff
2007 | Case No. E252
On June 8, 2005, Scott Cook, founder and chairman of the Executive Committee of Intuit, sat down to a meeting with CEO Steve Bennett to discuss the future of TaxAlmanac. Intuit had developed a strong business selling software to tax professionals, but they had yet to make inroads into the tax research market. Each year, tax professionals purchased online or printed volumes of information interpreting the latest tax code amendments or updates, and TaxAlmanac was an attempt to address this market with a disruptive technology. Initial enthusiasm for TaxAlmanac, Intuit’s first major foray into user contribution systems, had waned. Although everyone had been impressed with its speed to market—less than two months from idea conception to product launch—growth of its users and contributed content were far below the targets set at the beginning of the project. Cook was inspired by the colossal success of Wikipedia and convinced there was a way to leverage its underlying phenomenon to help Intuit achieve its strategic goals. But for now, he had to face the reality that TaxAlmanac was off to a sputtering start. Cook opened the meeting by posing the obvious question: “Should we shut the program down now or give it more time?” If Intuit were to forge ahead, he wanted to know what had gone wrong and how the team responsible for TaxAlmanac was going to fix it. Was it a problem with the way the website was structured? Was it a function of the audience they were targeting? Or, was it something else altogether that was to blame? Whatever the case, now was the time to do something about it.
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