Enterprise technology is a booming industry. Companies are creating software that better meets the needs of their customers and solves the problems they face. But the industry isn’t without its problems.
Enterprise tech as an industry faces many issues that are threatening the success of new software and new businesses. From the cloud to customer demands, here are some the biggest challenges in enterprise tech right now:
1. Outdated UI/UX
In the past, enterprise technologies didn’t always have the best user interfaces or user experiences. Processes and products are complicated for large corporations, and thus the software that served them often became cumbersome.
As technology advances, companies are putting more emphasis on UX, but getting it right is still a major challenge. The problem is finding a delicate balance between the function of enterprise tech and how it interacts with users.
Companies need to create products organizations want to use. The software needs to be complicated enough to effectively solve problems, but simple enough for end users to use easily.
2. Mixing cloud and on-premise services
At one time, enterprise tech only existed on premise. There was no cloud. Now, that story has reversed.
To be competitive, enterprise-tech companies need to offer cloud options in addition to traditional, on-premise ones. In fact, a report released by RightScale in March found that 93 percent of companies surveyed are using the cloud. Although the cloud has grown in popularity, many enterprises still want on-premise solutions because they can be less vulnerable to attacks than cloud-stored data.
3. Standing out
Just like any other industry, differentiation is a challenge for enterprise-tech companies. Giants such as Apple, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco already dominate the industry -- but there is room for small and medium players as well.
Industry newcomers are making waves and gaining capital by solving unmet needs, listening to feedback to create better products and finding niche clients to serve. For example, Docker, which allows distributed programmers to easily build, ship and run apps, took off because it offers a solution to a new problem in a new area of technology.
4. Following consumer tech
Enterprise tech is typically a step behind consumer-tech pioneers when it comes to user interface and design. Salesforce modeled the user interface of its social platform Chatter after that of Facebook. When Yammer launched, it was seen as the Twitter for companies.
Consumer tech is on the cutting-edge -- enterprise tech watches and follows suit. The challenge for enterprise tech companies is to beat this trend and stay ahead of the curve.
5. Catering to one customer
One customer should never be more than 20 percent of a company’s revenue, but many enterprise-tech companies find themselves in this situation.
While developing advanced software, one customer may want new features and products to fit its needs. The company starts customizing products for that customer, and soon, the whole business is tailored to it. Now one customer makes up half of the company’s revenue.
This is a real risk to enterprise-tech businesses. Putting too many eggs in one basket can lead to a downfall.
6. Balancing feedback and focus
Customers have a hundred ideas for new features and updates to make products and services better. Companies that listen to every suggestion are pulled in too many directions, and the original focus and vision for the software is lost.
Although customer feedback is crucial and constantly iterating and pivoting is central, make sure to stay true to the original product vision and not get splintered in too many different directions because of customer feature requests.