Software has historically been created for businesses. Back then it was fine to have clunky specialized software. People spent their whole careers specializing in one sales platform. In recent years, software specializations have been left off the resumes as software’s become less feature heavy and more user-friendly for consumers.
Let’s take a look at why consumerization is the future of Enterprise Software.
How People Work Has Changed
Solo entrepreneurs and digital nomads; every man, woman, and child can potentially start a business or their own enterprise. Software needed to become saleable. If you want to track sales for an online shirt business, run out of your spare room, you don’t need as much data as a large company with entire teams trying to optimize their marketing efforts for a better ROI.
Software is Cheaper to Make and Maintain
The price of writing and maintaining high-end software has declined. Competition, advances in technology, and a solid foundation of tech talent has led to inexpensive enterprise software with a strong focus on the user experience.
Consumers Care About User Experience
There is an expectation that enterprise software will be user-friendly. In a saturated industry, developers are forced to compete on user experience. We have come to expect enterprise software that lots of people can use without any additional skills or training. This hasn’t always been the case.
Adoption of New Devices
Software is no longer for the powerful work computer. It is run on the home PC and laptop and increasingly phones and tablets. Good enterprise software is compatible with all screens and has features like phone notifications and chat, a custom built mobile or tablet interface.
The screens on iPhone are a lot smaller than they are on computers. The interface must be perfect for people to navigate it with only their thumbs. Normally the mobile application is a compliment to a full version of the software run on a PC. No one wants to sort through data and table on a phone, but you don’t mind a notification to keep you in the loop when away from a screen.
Adoption of New Channels
Social media needs to be accounted for in all enterprise software. The distribution channels have changed. Substantial portions of the internet aren’t being accessed through a search engine anymore. Think about the people that write posts for social media, these aren’t exactly data scientists. The enterprise software that they use has changed to include things like graphs, and charts, and if they didn’t adopt someone else would fill the void in the market.
Software Vendors That Didn’t Adopt Consumerization Died Out
There were a lot of prominent software vendors who didn’t respond to changes in the market. We don’t talk about them anymore. Competition is a driving force behind consumerization and the future of Enterprise software.
Internet Communities are Enterprise Software
The way that people learn on the internet has also changed. Forums like Reddit, Quora, Yahoo Answers and Whirlpool, let people benefit from other people’s experiences. A collective intelligence if you will. Teams building a community around utilitarian information sharing is the way forward for enterprise software. Jive is a company doing exactly that. They have built communities for Salespoint, Office365, and Google.