Business Users are driven to new experiences that are simple and useful

We've heard for some time how consumer innovations are shaping user expectations in the enterprise.  I believe this and see it in the evolution of a number of new enterprise solutions.   For me, the key is to distill the lessons learned from successful consumer innovations to create a number of guiding principles and strategies to frame investments in enterprise innovations.   



Fred attempts to answer the question "What drives consumer adoption of new technologies?" in prep for a panel discussion with a major media company.   I liked his quick assessment: 

"Let's take ten of the most popular new consumer technology products in recent years (with a couple of our portfolio companies in the mix): iPhone, Facebook, Wii, Hulu, FlipCam, Rock Band, Mafia Wars, Blogger, Pandora, and Twitter and let's try to describe in one sentence or less why they broke out (feel free to debate the reasons they broke out in the comments):

  • iPhone – mobile browser with a killer touch screen interface
  • Facebook – a social net with real utility
  • Wii – gesture based user interface for gaming
  • Hulu – your favorite TV shows in a fantastic web UI
  • FlipCam – a video cam that fits in your pocket comfortably
  • Rock Band – everyone can be a rock star for a few minutes
  • Mafia Wars – a natively social game built for social nets
  • Blogger – a printing press for everyone
  • Pandora – drop dead simple personalized radio
  • Twitter – blogging everyone can do in less than a minute

In most of these cases, the breakthrough product or service delivered a new experience to consumers that they had never had before. Sure there were social nets before Facebook, but none allowed you to run your life the way Facebook does for my kids. Sure there were browsers on phones before the iPhone, but there hadn't been one that you could actually use like you use a browser on a computer. Sure there had been personalized internet radio services before Pandora but not one that was drop dead simple and delivered a great experience.

So it seems to me that consumers are driven to new experiences that are simple and useful and/or entertaining. It is not enough to be the first to market with a new technology. You have to be the first to market with a version of the technology that is simple and easy to use.

I agree with Fred.  Today, our Business User expectations are being shaped by our Consumer User Experiences with new technologies.   If we extend Fred's consumer lessons to new enterprise opportunities, we can add 2 more guiding principles to the Enterprise Edge Strategy manuscript:


1. Business Users are driven to new experiences that are simple and useful and/or entertaining.  

2. It is not enough to be the first to market with a new technology; you have to be first to market with a version of the technology that is simple and easy to use.

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