UPDATED 18:00 EST / MARCH 03 2020

BIG DATA

Customer diversity plays important role for Intuit in product design

Diversity applies to more than just the makeup of any given workforce. It’s become especially important in understanding how products will be received by customers.

Intuit Inc. develops and sells accounting and tax preparation software, and its QuickBooks product serves more than 2.5 million users worldwide. With a customer base that large, being attuned to the diverse needs of its subscribers has become a key ingredient in the company’s overall success.

“We serve consumers, small businesses, and the self-employed,” said Nhung Ho (pictured), director of data science at Intuit. “The diversity of our customers mirrors the general population. You need to bring in diverse perspectives so you can build the best products possible because the people who are using those products come from a diverse background as well.”

Ho spoke with Sonia Tagare, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the Women in Data Science conference in Stanford, California. They discussed how testing in the cloud has helped Intuit build products for a highly diverse customer base and ways the company can tailor its solutions for specific users.

Cloud enhances testing

One way to know how users might respond to newly introduced products is through a process known as A/B testing. It’s a process of showing two variants of a product to different groups of people to determine which will achieve better results.

Before the cloud, testing was usually limited to once a year — just before a new product would ship. Times have changed.

“Now that we’re in the cloud, it allows us to test continuously via A/B testing,” Ho explained. “You turn what was once a one-time change-management process to one that’s distributed throughout the entire year. At any one time we’re running hundreds of tests to make sure we’re shipping the best things for our customers.”

This process has also allowed Intuit to personalize products in ways that weren’t often possible before.

“We have enough data and we have enough compute where we can build a model tailored just for you,” Ho said. “That means I can help a cupcake shop owner actually manage her cash flow to help her succeed. That’s really powerful, and that’s where data science is headed.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the Women in Data Science conference.

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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