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The new economy: Wiki your product development

Fancy outsourcing product development because it’s difficult and expensive? Here’s a crazy idea: get your customers to do it for you. For free.

That’s what Intuit did with its Quickbooks accounting package and wound up getting a better deal than it might have from Chinese or Indian developers.

Intuit Product Manager – Global Small Business Nora Tucker sheds a bit more light: “We took the decision to expand our language support by throwing it open to the users of the Quickbooks product. The results were pretty amazing, boosting it from reaching 4 countries to 160 in a matter of months.”

That meant the product was suddenly available in some 48 languages at no particular cost to the company.

If that wasn’t surprising (and impressive) in its own right, Tucker says there were no real shocks or upsets with the process; asked if this may have had something to do with the commonly held perception that accountants aren’t very daring, she just laughed.

OK, so the software developers can relax now, but wordsmiths everywhere just cringed.

The effect on the company is a worldwide expansion, leading to American Tucker being in Australia to advance the case of the company (and an ‘ecstatic’ marketing team, unsurprisingly).

With the likes of MYOB and Xero well entrenched, Tucker confirms that getting into the Australian/NZ markets is pretty tough. She reckons Quickbooks brings a track record, competitive financial software and a commitment to spending time with users to deliver good experiences.

Good news for Intuit, too. We’re all English over here.

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