Enterprise technology is the backbone of the modern economy. Less sexy than its consumer counterpart, it’s the myriad services businesses use to keep their operations going. But there’s a problem: it’s not working very well, at least for some entrepreneurs. And that’s causing big headaches.
There are always issues with new enterprise software and services. But today’s issues are more critical than ever, given the reliance most business leaders have on their technology to function as advertised. So what’s broken and how can you fix it?
Enterprise Tech Is A Step Behind Consumer Counterparts
Consumer technology is pretty exciting. Every year, we get treated to a raft of new technologies at shows like CES. Enterprise tech, on the other hand, always seems to be playing catch up. Part of the reason for this is structural: businesses depend heavily on their existing technology stack, and it can be costly to change. But it’s also the result of a lack of excitement in the sector. Enterprise tech doesn’t always inspire.
With that said, some companies and managed IT services are staying current. Many are beginning to incorporate a consumer mindset into their own operations and are providing company leaders with the tools they need to transition to newer products quickly.
Poor User Interface
Ask any consumer-facing software business what they think is the most essential feature of their product, and they’re likely to say the user interface. Popular apps do a great job of making their UI intuitive and straightforward. But the same can rarely be said of enterprise technology. Often interfaces are hard to understand, ugly and unnecessarily cluttered.
Poor UI remains a significant problem for entrepreneurs. Often, only a few people in any organisation understand how to use enterprise-facing products, with others merely relying on basic rules to see them through. The solution is twofold: to provide training to staff, and to lobby solution providers to improve their products.
Lack Of Feedback Facilities
Customer-facing software products provide users with multiple feedback methods. They can write reviews online, send specific feedback messages to the company providing the product, or rate on the app store. But enterprise technology providers rarely collect data like this on a mass-scale to improve their product. Often, they’ll rely on dribs and drabs of feedback from particular clients via email. Feedback like this is not conducive to creating better products.
What enterprise technology companies need is a feedback mechanism that helps them to focus on the most critical issues, rather than a nitty-gritty approach which sees them splintered in all directions. Knowing this, entrepreneurs need to provide practical advice on how the product could be improved overall, rather than for them in particular.
Lack Of Differentiation
Breaking into the enterprise technology market is difficult. The incumbents include firms like Apple, Microsoft and Cisco - big players that have been around for a long time. Smaller entrants not only have to address unmet needs, but they have to do so in a recognizable way by differentiating themselves. They don’t always succeed. Buyers, therefore, need to look past brand signals and investigate all third-party providers to see whether they offer additional value.