Difference between Enterprise and Consumer software

Having been a Product Manager managing Enterprise software all my work life, I wanted to take a shot at how Enterprise vs Consumer software has evolved in recent times.

Now with the popularity of cloud and  software-as-a-service (SaaS) through the gap between the enterprise space is becoming more like the consumer space, there are still differences between  “enterprise”  versus “consumer” software. Here’s is my take.

1. Market Problem and Buyer Persona:

  • Enterprise software address a business problem for  user communities that are large groups of people having the need to solve a common business need. In consumer, the software is mainly to address and enhance the needs of a single user.
  •  The Enterprise software vendors will have to regularly listen and take feedback from the user groups  if they need to keep these users happy and loyal to their software product. Hence the Voice of the customers (VoC) is important.
  • Consumers take what they’re given. If the user does not like what the software offers  then he will pick a software from an other vendor

2. Sales:

  • Enterprise software, you sell to organizations. The consumer software, you sell to people. Does high volume sales mostly through retail.
  •  Enterprise software sales are direct. For consumer software, sales are  done mostly through self-service, you can now deliver the product via the web. In enterprise, you deliver a packaged software that can either be hosted in the cloud as SaaS or a managed service that can be hosted onPremise.
  • Pricing and packaging needs are very different for Enterprise software than Consumer. For Enterprise software the cost of ownership is a big factor that drives sales. Hence pricing of the software has to be thought through well before the software is released. The pricing for consumer software can be set depending on the buying power of the individual user.

3. Product Requirements:

  • Engineering requirements for Enterprise software has special needs. The requirements around hardware, localization, security, scalability, interoperability are factors that need to be taken into consideration early on in the product development cycle. For consumer software the feature sets are controlled and dictated by the vendor instead of the individual user contributing to the required features of the vendor software.
  • Enterprise software rely on early adopters in the user community  to test and provide feedback on the software before it gets released to the market. The consumer software does not have the luxury of early adopters, hence the software is tested after is out in the market.

Posted on December 20, 2012, in Blog, Product Managment. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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