Enterprise mindset vs. consumer mindset

by Volker Weber

I am currently participating in four different beta tests of unreleased products. Three are from vendors firmly in the consumer space. To upgrade their product to the latest test build, you will find a message on the device telling you there is an update. You select the option to install the update and the device does the rest.

One vendor however sold most of its products into the enterprise space. To update their software you get an email telling you to log into their beta portal. It will tell you that all the new features are on the portal and the mail does not even link there. To login to the portal you need to enter your email adress and a password that you had to build according to their rules, meaning you have to look it up on a piece of paper attached to your screen. Yes, you have to do that from the device if you don't want to make your life even more miserable. Once you logged in, you have to find the download page in a web application that was designed for much larger screens. Once you found that page, you have to find the link to download the software, click on it, scroll down through a lot of legalese you are not going to read anyway to find the 'I agree' checkbox and hit a button. Which does not download the software but leads you to another page where you have to fill in all your details, the ones that don't change very often, and then you have to do another 'I agree' song and dance. Then you get the package, have to install it, and then finally decide whether you want to reboot now or later.

Corollary: people use enterprise products because they have to. The only person who loves the product is the corporate administrator.

Comments

Blackberry?!?

simon frelier, 2010-08-31

IBM?

Patrick Picard, 2010-09-01

It sure sounds like Big Blue to me.

James Bliss, 2010-09-01

It isn't, but yes, it looks like it.

Volker Weber, 2010-09-01

Could be anyone but I agree with you, enterprise apps should be as easy to install/update as consumer apps. The only reason why they aren't is because no one ever told the developers they were to do it that way.

Keith Brooks, 2010-09-01

Can somebody please define "app" for me. App means many different things.

Bruce Elgort, 2010-09-01

@Vowe - I agree, it should be easier to upgrade your enterprise applications than it currently is. I love Apple's model, it checks for updates every so often, alerts you - gives you the option to download, download and install, or ignore (and you can 'reset' your ignores if you change your mind). I never have to check if my OS or Applications (Final Cut, Aperture, etc) are up to date, I know they are. There is NO excuse why enterprise level application developers cannot come up with a similar routine (not install automatically by default [a la Firefox]).

@Bruce - yes, what is "app" is it IdeaJam? is it WAS? Domino? or the Traveler Companion "App" on my iPhone, or is it the 'service' running on LotusLive (meetings, files), which are to be rebranded as Apps (which makes sense to the end user)

Ben Chapman, 2010-09-01

Keith,

It is more about focusing on the need of the user before developing an application.

Bruce,

What is an app? From the perspective of an developer, it is a piece of software code to that performs a certain series of functions, but to an end- user it is a tool no different than a pencil. Regardless, whether it is an enterprise application or a consumer application it needs to be easy to understand and use.

Richard Moy, 2010-09-01

Richard what I didn't hear from you were the words "what the business needs". Also I laughed when I read "end users" as that's an IT 1.0 term :-).

The space is all too interesting now and I suspect that we will continue to see the consumerization of many IT services and we will also see "enterprise" vendors getting smarter about how they develop, manage and deploy their goods to enterprise customers.

Bruce Elgort, 2010-09-01

Sounds very much like the BlackBerry beta experience to me. An absolutely horrendous user experience, and that's coming from a fan of RIM who's been an avid user of 4 different BlackBerries over the past six years.

Although, I have to say at least they're trying. They're now blogging regularly and they have several employees actively participating in the beta forums, which is more than I can say for most companies. They definitely appear to be listening--now the question is can they execute fast enough to keep up with Google, Apple and (dare I say it) Microsoft?

Paul Simpson, 2010-09-01

Ha,
You guys look at the wrong side of the business. Not everything is as complicated as installing websphere. I hate administration with a passion you can only dream of. For us, we found the solution that is all enterprise, but easy to administer as a consumer system.
Need Domino server? Click, Click, runs (and I haven't even downloaded anything)
Need IM server? Click, click, runs
Need VMWare? Click, click, click, click, runs
Need Notes client installer? click, click, deployed to user volume
Need virtual Linux instance? Click, click
Need DB2? Click, Click, runs
... we are still on the same box here ...
Need Webpage? Apache runs
Need OS upgrade? Click, click, restart, runs
Need Domino upgrade? Click, click, back in business
Need Tivoly CDP? Click, click, ready
Need Domino Application? Click, Click, ready
Need Antispam, Antivirus, PHPMyAdmin, MySQL, ShakeHands....
... still on the same box...
Could go on. There is a team of very dedicated people out there and they have understood, that the darn thing doesn't have to be complicated.
Thank (who ever you are believing in except MS) for that insight. Keeps my hair from going grey.

Christian Tillmanns, 2010-09-01

@Christian, I assume we're talkin' Foundations here?

Shame it's too expensive, too difficult to licence, too hard for prospective customers to understand. I wish it wasn't so...

Also, why hasn't the rest of the Lotus business moved in that direction? Why are we still forced to endure login screen after login screen, forms asking for feedback that require all our address/phone details to be entered for the nth time, customer/BP forms that ask for country/geography/IBM manager name etc.

Why indeed IBM would ever think that asking interested parties to register to see a presentation on Slideshare would be a good idea?

James Governor said a few months ago 'The blurring of consumer and enterprise tech is real. IBM has to adjust to that reality. "We don't do consumer" is not a strategy.'

I agree with this 100%, IBM (or at least the Lotus brand) has to start thinking/marketing/transacting like a consumer-focused organisation. So does RIM - at least there are signs of movement by that vendor.

Stuart McIntyre, 2010-09-01

My bet is on HP.

Hubert Stettner, 2010-09-01

I assume before IBM goes consumer they will probably sell it or give up (which would translate to business as usual). As a highly profitable company I am not sure if IBM has to start anything in this area.
For the topic I bet on Research in Motion.

Henning Heinz, 2010-09-01

Company: a collection of consumers.

Vendors - change your marketing of apps, desktops, laptops, and devices to acknowledge that, or get out of the space and go back to selling servers to IT managers.

Lisa Duke, 2010-09-01

Volker,

I could have swore you were talking about the Traveler Andriod Beta. After reading Mr. Brill's post about it, I decided to give it a try on the ol' Evo. However, I got halfway through the self-nomination process and decided IMAP was still good enough.

On a side note: I've replaced all of my password sticky notes with KeePass ;)

http://keepass.info/

Reid Partlow, 2010-09-01

had the enterprise user "experience" Volker mentioned, a moment ago when trying to install Ciscos VPN on a Mac. CEM (Customer Experience Management) should be a non-optional requirement in all those wonderful ISO norms dealing with quality.

Armin Roth, 2010-09-02

it must be IBM... because you would not bother writing otherwise..

joel david, 2010-09-03

Absolutely install and configuration should be as simple and fast as possible. But let's not pretend that an enterprise user is the same as an individual consumer.
At home, I love it when applications such as iTunes ask me if I want to upgrade to the latest software, I click Yes, and it "just works". That's the way it should be.
But now ask any enterprise admin, "would you like all of your users to be able to upgrade any of their apps at any time?", and the answer is always "of course not". Most enterprises do very controlled rollouts of well-tested corporate platforms - a whole suite of applications and often OS patches at once.
All that being said, there's no excuse for the upgrade experience that vowe mentions.

Art Thomas, 2010-09-03

Old vowe.net archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.

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