Small businesses found themselves without the ability to process credit card payments, payroll and use Intuit’s Quickbooks messaging system for the better part of Monday and Tuesday of this week while the company claimed that there was a problem during a recent ‘routine maintenance’ on their servers.
Intuit stumbled many times during the outage, claiming that it was fixed only to have the problems quickly re-emerge several times. At about 3:45 pm (EST) Intuit announced that some of the services were back online, but users at that point had lost the ability to use critical functionality for what can seem in the small business world as an eternity.
During this period of uncertainty the stock lost nearly 3% in value and many small businesses began searching for alternative ways to settle payments and process their payroll. This is not the first such problem to affect Intuit’s online systems for small businesses, either, as last year a similar problem brought down payment processing for at least one business day.
The question becomes, is Intuit able to competently manage their online systems or is this a sign of events to come, where random outages as a result of ‘routine maintenance’ happen during prime business hours and are not corrected in a timely manner?
Only time will tell, but I feel that with a company that has more debt than cash and a market cap that exceeds their enterprise value, a correction in INTU shares is warranted and an heartfelt apology to their customers is absolutely necessary.