This was a bad week for Intuit. But, it was even worse for employees who count on Intuit's Quickbooks payroll services to process their direct deposit paychecks via the cloud. Unfortunately, the "cloud" had an outage just in time for the first of the month. Unfortunately, it happens to be a week that a lot of people take as vacation tacked onto their Memorial Day holiday (in other words, some folks are not around to physically take an alternate paycheck to the bank the old-fashioned way).
The problem started just at the start of the business day East Coast time on Wednesday. Intuit did not publicly react for another six hours. Payroll services were not restored until after the close of the business day on both coasts.
It's difficult to tease out which of those three failings have customers most angry. It may be the middle one that it took six hours to communicate with customers. Looking at Intuit's community's board, the fur is flying on this one.
Let's begin with the raw meat thrown to boiling mad business owners. Intuit began with a statement acknowledging the problem:
"We know you rely on Intuit and understand the need to restore your ability to upload direct deposit. We apologize for the inconvenience. We're working to get it running as soon as possible."
(My favorite part was the boilerplate "Don't forget to "like" us on Facebook" at the bottom of that announcement)
Here's a sampling of posted complaints from small businesses that use Quickbook's payroll services:
"This is not an inconvenience. This is people's livelihoods, and when it is too late for the banks to process I will have 35 angry employees. There should be more options and answers than sorry. We need updates so we can inform our employees."
"How will you make this up to us? I have 17 companies waiting for payroll."
And, more to the point...
"Shame on Intuit for the way that they have handled this..."
A story like this, once again, raises concerns about relying too heavily on someone else's cloud. It remains to be seen how Intuit will be held liable for delayed checks. But as one business owner from Oregon pointed out, its against the law in his state to pay employees late. He could be facing fines as a result. What about employees unable to get paid in time to pay their rent or mortgage on time and may now face late charges?
What do you think? Is your business ready to rely on the cloud?
Last updated: Jun 3, 2011
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio