Have you ever had a service or delivery person come to your home or business carrying a smart phone in place of a clipboard with pre-printed forms? You know, the ones you have to mash down hard when you write so all three copies will be completed? Outside of UPS or FedEx, I never have. But users of QuickBooks Enterprise can zoom their techs from the 1950s to 2009 with one of the add-on modules demonstrated at the QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions User conference last week.
Officially called the "Intuit Field Service Management ES" application (which marketing genius came up with that mouthful of a name?), Intuit has integrated WorkTrack powered by Corrigo into QuickBooks Enterprise, or they will later this year. This and two other major module additions were the hits of the user conference held in Dallas the week of September 8.
I rarely talk about what isn't available today, because you deserve better than another "coming soon" product story from a major vendor playing games. But WorkTrack powered by Corrigo is real, and QuickBooks Enterprise is real, and they're just hooking them together. That's a different story than waiting for Version 1.0 of some new product.
The other two major modules introduced for release later this year are Intuit Warehouse Management ES and Intuit Sales Management ES (now in beta). All offer something new for Intuit and QuickBooks Enterprise: online hosted applications that integrate with customer's server-based software. This major step for Intuit shows the paranoia of users about their accounting data in a hosted environment is moderating with the promise of easy access through Web browsers. All three of these new modules are hosted by Intuit, unlike QuickBooks Enterprise which runs on site on the user's servers.
Intuit execs told me about 44 percent of their current users claim to have no interest in hosted, online applications for their accounting information. That's a huge percentage, but I'm thinking the paranoid are being more reassured every day. Look at QuickBooks Online, a less-complex version than Enterprise, that has over 130,000 businesses using a hosted accounting application already.
It appears online applications doubters are being convinced by the market shift. Remember those 10 million active Google Apps users from 500,000 companies? And Intuit's own TurboTax processed about half of their 23 million tax returns with their online, not desktop, version.
So when QuickBooks Enterprise customers are ready to go online, Intuit is ready with these three new modules. I particularly appreciate the two modules for companies going real work with real people: the warehouse and field service applications.