Consumerization of B2B Software

Partha Neog, Co-Founder, Vantage Circle
Monday, January 30, 2017
Partha Neog, Co-Founder, Vantage Circle
Headquartered in New Delhi, Vantage Circle is India’s leading web based employee privilege platform reaching out to working professionals with an array of services to pick from, for both employers and employees, advantageous to either parties.

B2B Software gets a Consumer Facelift

How do you normally buy anything as a consumer? Well you probably compare products, seek opinion, read reviews, and test the same if that is an option and then buy. This is typically what is considered B2C (Business to Consumer) behaviour. However, businesses are people too and there are a lot of transactions that happen among businesses which is B2B (Business to Business). And, it is in this B2B space that consumerization is calling the shots. Historically centralized IT departments drove adoption of technology within businesses large and small, but today user-level adoption is the norm. Today’s business users drive enterprise technology adoption. So, whether it is tablets and smart phones via Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) movement or Software as a Service (SaaS) tools like Yammer, Salesforce, and others (most of which started bottom up at the user or workgroup level, not enterprise-wide from top down), regular users are driving new software purchases. Today B2B marketers need to shift their thought process like their peers in the B2C marketing space as they are marketing to an audience that is increasingly behaving like a consumer audience.

End User Disconnect

In the B2B space, however, the drive for greater digitisation has only just begun to ripple down due to the consumerization of the B2B buyer. Again, most enterprise software followed this trend where the offering is functionally sufficient, but poorly designed and often difficult to use. This category of software is typically characterized as ‘feature-rich’ In fact, these products are sold as lists of features to C-suite executives, and the conventional wisdom over many years has been that the package with the most features wins. Unfortunately, the executive who signs the check rarely has to actually use the product he just bought and the exact same features that look so good in a PowerPoint actually manifest as a mess of unusable complexity for the end user in the firm. For decades, B2B application developers could skip on innovating in the presentation layer. This was in part because purchase decisions were driven by other factors, but also because until comparatively recently most end users did not use software and digital media that much in their personal lives.

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