26 Comments

Nice article, Nikhil. More and more enterprises today expect consumerized products - it helps improve adoption and reduce training cost, meaning better ROI. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that a lot of our enterprise customers wanted gmail like "swipe to archive" experience. But all said, enterprises expect highly secure products which do not change frequently - notable difference from consumer products.

Expand full comment
author

Thanks for reading, Anurag. Enterprises will increasingly have to bend to their employees’ wishes and provision the use of the products they want, providing that security/compliance is sufficient.

Expand full comment
Apr 13, 2021Liked by Nikhil Basu Trivedi

Just discovered this article, Nikhil. Definitely still rings true. The first thing I thought when I read it was, of course. Think about the user - people. The lines between work and not work continue to blur - and we want to use the same tools - the best tools - regardless of whether we're at work or at home. Just as consumers/employees demanded that they be able to use iPhones for work instead of their Blackberries, in the long run there is no way that people will be okay with having substandard products in either work or personal settings. And we don't want to have to learn and use different tools for official work projects vs side hustles vs personal tracking. It should all be as easy and fun to use as Slack, Gmail, Notion, etc. We are all workers and consumers, we are the same person and we don't even draw lines between working and not working anymore so why should our tools be siloed and different?

Expand full comment
author

agree, Sean!

Expand full comment
Jan 6, 2021Liked by Nikhil Basu Trivedi

Working for a Financial Services firm, I have often pondered over the difference in user experience between consumer vs enterprise software - particularly since the end-users are consumers as well.

These days, large enterprises demand more customization in their products, seen particularly in risk management space. Makes me wonder what it would take for an existing company that follows traditional processes to embrace consumerization. My guess is the higher the barrier for new entrants, the slower they will be to adopt the change.

Expand full comment
Dec 18, 2020Liked by Nikhil Basu Trivedi

Nice article. We have seen user expectations in B2B space being linked to the retail expectations in terms of timelines. It took us a bit of time to understand that the customer was not benchmarking against the brick and mortar option, as we were 3x- 4x faster but to the retail experiences of product purchase wherein we were multiple x slower in providing the bid. This at that time was the first platform in its space and we were dealing with SMBs.

Expand full comment
author

thanks for sharing, Anindita!

Expand full comment
Aug 11, 2020Liked by Nikhil Basu Trivedi

Since companies realized that using technology to create products and services based on the needs of the consumers and not the way arround, the probability of success penetrating the market is obviously a lot higher, there is no doubt that companies have a faster growth when there is the « consumeration of the enterprice ». I would like to use one of the examples used in this article: Zoom, to talk about how this idea was created to satisfy the consumer’s needs in 2012, BUT the real reason this company has become so popular in the last months is because the pandemic got this need multiplied X30!, still, the origin of this idea was born from a need.

Expand full comment
Jul 17, 2020Liked by Nikhil Basu Trivedi

Completely aided by reduction of work into malleable gigs, remote and micro entrepreneurship - moving away from the clutches of corporate walls - everyone is a CIO of their life now. This is one of my favourite blogs you wrote.

Expand full comment
author

cheers Sairee! "everyone is a CIO of their life now" <-- love this!

Expand full comment
Jul 15, 2020Liked by Nikhil Basu Trivedi

Interesting take! I don't believe "B2B2C" works though, because in its classic interpretation, to me that means SAAS for B2B that ultimately is leveraged by consumers (i.e. a dual-sided marketplace). What you are describing is more interesting in that the SAME SW that is traditionally used by the B2B community is now adopted directly by consumers! I'm not sure if such a term already exists...

Expand full comment
author

that's right Daniela!

Expand full comment
May 19, 2020Liked by Nikhil Basu Trivedi

Clipchamp for video-editing

Expand full comment
May 15, 2020Liked by Nikhil Basu Trivedi

Yes! I wrote about this back in 2016 after seeing Asana, Basecamp, Accelo, and Salesforce all go through a visual, very consumer, refresh in 2015: www.johnscrugham.com/b2b-ux. One thing I was seeing is that it goes beyond software; the devices we use set an expectation. If I'm picking up an iPhone or Android, I'm coming with a sense of what the interaction will feel like regardless of clicking on a B2B of B2C app.

Expand full comment
author

great point, John. the smartphone and the increasing frequency of the same computer being used for work and life increases the blurring of the lines between consumer and enterprise, and as your post points out, raised the bar for enterprise ux. thanks for sharing!

Expand full comment

Very interesting read. From a brand pov, B2B companies have started changing their marketing approach sometime in the middle of the last decade - by not being Boring 2 Boring anymore. They understood this fuzzing of B2B and B2C (ie "The Consumerization of the Enterprise and The Enterprization of the Consumer") and started moving on the fancy communications of their more glamorous B2C colleagues.

(PS: Boring 2 Boring no more is my rallying call for enterprise marketing).

Expand full comment
author

Good point, Adnan. As one data point, I think there are more "enterprise" technology companies with billboards in San Francisco than there are "consumer" companies. But a lot of these companies are in the middle :).

Expand full comment

I believe there have always been categories of products that are similarly useful across the spectrum from consumer to enterprise - Microsoft Office/ GoogleDocs/ Browsers/ FileSync&Share/ AntiVirus and some that are inherently specific Enterprise Accounting system is different from Quicken/Mint, Enterprise AntiFraud, Large Servers but the overlapping/extendible category does seem to be growing and the question is why. Perhaps it is as simple as the degree of compute power/mobile technologies we consumers all have.

Expand full comment
author

Hi Laura! Yes, you're right that these products have been around for a while, but this category does seem to be expanding. I think one of the reasons is the line between work and home blurring... and it's especially blurred right now when most knowledge workers in the U.S. and many other countries are working from home. As technology pervades every industry and every aspect of our life, it's perhaps inevitable that the line between "consumer" technology and "enterprise" technology blurs further.

Expand full comment
Jun 13, 2020Liked by Nikhil Basu Trivedi

I wonder if it’s also part of the natural evolution as we grow our software tool belt. When we only used 4 or 5 software tools it was okay to have a set for work and a set for personal. But now that we have 10 or 20 or 30, perhaps we prefer the consolidation of having one company be multi use case where possible.

Expand full comment

Agreed and I also believe small business knowledge workers were a huge area of "unmet need" for technology that was typically the purview of "IT" with consumer ease of use so as the tech became available the growth was rapid.

Expand full comment
May 13, 2020Liked by Nikhil Basu Trivedi

Where would you put an old-guard company like HP in that diagram? I think they would be split far apart into both sides and not so much in the middle. They've been in both worlds forever but maybe missing this opportunity in the middle?

Expand full comment
author

I don't know enough about the HP story. I think acquiring Autonomy was their play to try to become both consumer and enterprise and in the middle in a more profound way, but it didn't work, hence the spinoff of HPE. It feels like they have failed to innovate or acquire to find that opportunity in the middle, though as you point out they've been both consumer and enterprise forever.

Expand full comment
May 13, 2020Liked by Nikhil Basu Trivedi

To my understanding B2B2C is not how these companies work.(figma, notion,etc)

LambdaSchool is different, it might be a two sided marketplace.

But coming up with a new word which describe the "free for consumer, hefty for enterprise" model is needed. Is it really a new thing?

Expand full comment
author

yes, agreed that a new word is needed. i don't have the answer for what it should be, yet.

i haven't described something that is "new" per se. Microsoft and Adobe are canonical examples of companies that built products in the 90s for the personal computer which consumers "brought" to the workplace, and products for the workplace that consumers "brought" home.

but i hadn't seen anyone clearly articulate the fact that so many powerful companies are both consumer and enterprise, hence this post.

Expand full comment
deletedMay 24, 2020Liked by Nikhil Basu Trivedi
Comment deleted
Expand full comment
author

Cheers Sergery, agreed, and all the best!

Expand full comment