The New Standard for Evaluating Enterprise Software is How Consumer Grade It Is

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It’s no secret that much of modern day enterprise software (specifically around collaboration) is being modeled around consumer web software; and there’s good reason for that. When we think of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or (insert company here), we associate them with things such as ease of use, access on any device, connecting with and finding people and information, building communities, and engagement (and I’m sure many other things). But, when we think of enterprise software those are pretty much the exact opposite things we think about. If you look at pretty much any piece of social/enterprise collaboration software today you will notice two things; virtually all of them look alike and do similar things; and they all have features and functionality taken from the platforms we use in our personal lives aka social media, aka the consumer web.

Enterprise software is starting to be evaluated based on how “consumer grade” it is and this is a big shift; how often do you hear an executive say something like “can it do hashtags like Twitter?” or “can you create groups like in Facebook?” Traditionally there has always been this big rift between consumer software and enterprise software and now the two are starting to blur quite closely. Sure, there are still some differences in a few areas such as use cases but for the most part they are converging. Many business leaders want to have enterprise software that can do the same things that consumer software can do (and of course go beyond that). After all, if it’s so easy for us to find and access people and information on any device on the consumer web shouldn’t we expect just as much, if not more, within our organizations?

Collaboration vendors which offer cloud-based offerings are making this that much easier. For the most part it’s just as easy to set up a new Facebook page as it is to set up a collaboration environment for your team and this is pretty amazing; what’s just as amazing is that anyone in your company do it…anyone. This poses an interesting challenge for many CIOs who used to have enterprise on lock-down, meaning nothing happened unless they said it happened. But, that’s a topic for an upcoming post!

So what does this mean?

For the first time there’s going to be this give and take between enterprise software and consumer software. Right now consumer software is the front runner which is spurring innovation ideas for the enterprise but eventually this will change and the enterprise will start to develop very specific use case or scenarios which may then be relevant for new innovation in the consumer web. We already see this for example in the financial space where companies are adding compliance functionality on top of enterprise collaboration platforms. It’s a bit of a see-saw effect. Twitter, Facebook, Klout, Foursquare, Wikis, Blogs, and many other pieces of consumer software are now the standard for enterprise software.

This also means that it is still important to not just focus on enterprise software but to also pay attention to what is happening on the consumer side of things because at least for now, that is where many enterprise software ideas are coming from. However, what’s also particularly interesting is how enterprise software vendors are able to take ideas from the consumer web and improve upon them; adding additional features and functionality.

Personally, I still think we are near the early stages of innovation for enterprise software. The seesaw has only moved in one direction and there are many more moves still to come. But one things is clear, the standard for evaluting enterprise software is how consumer grade it is.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jacob Morgan
I'm a best-selling author, keynote speaker, and futurist who explores what the future of work is going to look like and how to create great experiences so that employees actually want to show up to work. I've written three best-selling books which are: The Employee Experience Advantage (2017), The Future of Work (2014), and The Collaborative Organization (2012).

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