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Big Data offers huge potential for smaller companies, Intuit says

Thor Olavsrud | Dec. 18, 2012
'Tis the season for prognostications. Staring into the big data crystal ball one thing seems clear: We can expect to see the continuing growth of the Internet; wireless networks; social media; and the number of mobile devices, sensors and other digital technology that is flooding us with new data every minute of every day.

It has transactional data, behavioral data (drawn from products like TurboTax Online and Mint), user-generated data and even social data drawn from social networks and Twitter. By aggregating and anonymizing the data, Intuit is creating a massive data store that can be accessed and used by customers.

This data could be used in lots of different ways, from comparing what businesses similar to yours are paying in wages to a new hire, to finding the most cost-effective vendor for your raw materials.

"We're able to take an individual's small business and with a dashboard compare them to other small businesses that are like them," Smith says. "If you're a two-employee florist shop in Boston, we can compare you with other two-employee florist shops in Boston and around the country."

As Smith notes, Intuit has already begun the process of transforming its products to help small businesses and consumers harness the new era of big data. Examples include the following:

  • QuickBooks Online's Trends feature. This feature anonymously aggregates customer data, allowing small businesses to see how their income and expenses stack up against similar businesses.
  • Intuit Loan Finder. This service is a loan matchmaking service that analyzes a small business's data through QuickBooks, helping to "derisk" a loan decision for banks.
  • Mint. Mint helps customers manage their financial data. It's Ways to Save engine analyzes that data and other data at Intuit's disposal to find ways to help customers save money on everything from lower credit card fees to better mortgage rates.


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