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Showing posts from September 20, 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 fr…

Leadership: the greatest performing art of all?

Writing in the absence of Jack and Suzy Welch, The Essential Bennis author Warren Bennis highlights an actor and a President in his BusinessWeek (September 21, 2009) article. The actor is Orson Welles and the President is Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The President's unique leadership style inspired the term "imperial presidency" and what he shared with the actor, Warren says, was actorly attributes.

I do not know if you'd agree with Warren that leadership is a great performing art, but have a look at a related topic called Leadership Presence. In Columbia Business School's Essentials of Management program (spring 2008), we had an exciting day on Leadership Presence. Our coach, Greta Cowan (from The Ariel Group), covered the following competencies:

Present: Being completely in the moment and flexible enough to handle the unexpectedReaching out: Building relationships through empathy, etcExpressive: Conveying feelings and emotionsSelf-knowing: Accepting himself/herself…