Sep 26, 2009

Business software Vs consumer software: what software teams should know



Try googling for "differences between business software and consumer software" or some such string. How many useful results do you see? You will, of course, find some information about how to SELL to these two "markets." But you will hardly find the kind of differences that can help vendors better meet the NEEDS of the two "audiences."

The software community does not appear to have created quality factors customized for each audience. This partly explains why usability, which is such an important factor for consumer software, is touted as all-important for business software as well -- often at the cost of more important factors such as business process excellence. Result: while there are some excellent consumer software products, neither set of factors is well addressed in business software.

Business apps are indeed different from consumer software in many ways. Performance objectives, usage scenarios, buying criteria, etc of an enterprise are different from those of individual consumers.

Here's one example of a fundamental difference -- though an obvious one: unlike consumer software, business applications involve a business process. Keeping this fact in mind would allow us to see what the primary quality factors are and what capabilities we need to achieve those factors.

What are some of the other differences that software teams developing business software should be aware of?

1 comment:

  1. I have considered this from a "Cooper Persona" persective. Consumer personas tend to be fairly rich, while business person personas are quite flat. They still are afraid of looking stupid, but the next goal tends to be getting the job done. A lot of the other items are fluff in a doing-business context. Personas can still be valuable in identifying the driving needs of business people, and can certainly be used to differentiate those needs from consumer needs.

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