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Enterprise Consumerization Entry
If you’ve been following this newsletter since its inception, you’ve picked up on my interest in the consumerization of enterprise software. After obsessing over this Kevin Kwok blog post for a while, I’m now dissecting this Scott Belsky podcast episode. It’s worth a listen, but I’ll summarize my takeaways (and favorite quotes) on what it takes to tackle enterprise software with a consumer flair:
Surfaces Beat Services
Learning Isn’t Tolerated
Default to Multi Player
Everyone Walks First Mile
Progress Begets Progress
Let’s dive in!
 Surfaces Beat Services
The point of interaction (i.e. front office) is now the focus vs the point of integration (i.e. back office). By simplifying how work gets done by the user (or department), you can create a new entry-point into an enterprise; this was traditionally more a cross-departmental concern handled by IT, which looked for shared services. If your product abstracts away the complexity of underlying technology, you make the line of business you are catering to less reliant on centralized IT.
 Learning Isn’t Tolerated
Everyone is bringing their “expectations of elegance” that they’ve picked up as a consumer to work, and software that requires a steep learning curve just doesn’t cut it anymore. Whether your UX goal is more intuitive or delightful or appealing, removing the learning curve goes a long way towards successful adoption and engagement.
 Default to Multi Player
Work happens collaboratively (vs individually), and the team is now the primary persona to build for. So much of enterprise software comes down to “wall to wall” deployment strategy, both on the part of the buyer (change management) and seller (product adoption) - but if you think of teams (vs individuals) as the most atomic unit, that growth is modeled more easily and executed more predictably.
 Everyone Walks First Mile
All the onboarding funnels / adoption loops / inert flywheels have one thing in common: step 1. Every user at a minimum goes through the initial setup process, but the “devil is in the defaults”. By being more thoughtful and proactive about the bootstrap experience, you can save the customer a lifetime of pain, since those first choices tend to live forever.
 Progress Begets Progress
We’re in the era of “ego analytics”, where vanity metrics are used to nudge users into action. If you “merchandise progress”, you can lead lead folks not only to successful setup, but also healthy adoption. This is a bag of tricks well understood (and over employed) in consumer apps; in the enterprise, it can be leveraged to take users that are stuck in consumer mode (low utility, churn risk) towards creator behavior (high value, retention probability).
I’d love to hear from readers on other enterprise consumerization trends they’ve encountered - please chime in via comments👇. And if you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing.
further reading / references
my last / long post on how consumerizing enterprise == loop sequencing
this SaaStr podcast provides UX tactics for enterprise consumerization
childish drawing / interpretation