Explaining the UX Gap between Consumer and Business IT


Consumer technologies are simple. To start them up, you click Next, Next, Next, OK, enter credit card information, hit Next, and you’re done. But business technology just has not reached that point yet.


This can become a problem when the customer brings that previous experience into the initial consultation for a business IT strategy. They hear about configuration and customization, and their forehead wrinkles up. They expect business tech – especially communications apps – to be the same, simple process they use for their personal apps, and the complexity can be disappointing. That’s not a good place to start a relationship.


So how do you come back from the uphill battle of customer expectations for business apps? How do you explain the difference between consumer and business technology in that perfect way, which shifts the orientation to a more realistic framework?


Possibility #1: Information Overload (Read this, but don’t take it to heart)


The gut reaction most technical people have to this consultation is to simply look back across the table, and try to explain everything they have learned about software and businesses in the last 20 years.


Bottom line: This defensive posture does not work well. Maybe some customers will accede to the technical “authority” of their IT company, but everyone walks away with a sour impression of IT communications skills, and they certainly do not want to ask any questions in the future. This is why so many businesspeople still view IT as a support function, instead of the strategic function that IT is.


Possibility #2: Acknowledge the UX gap and explain on a STRATEGIC level


The simplest explanation is the best: “Businesses are far more complex than individuals. Instead of one person logging into the interface, we will have many times that. What is more, every business evolves its own individualized processes and resources. These are all developed to support the way they do business and MUST be preserved in order for the software to work with you. The software is the thing that needs to change, so that you don’t need to.”

Maybe at some point business technological ecosystems will reach that same plug & play level that consumer techs have standardized. But we don’t see that happening any time in the near future. Meanwhile, they need IT professionals who will help them customize, integrate, and adopt the best technologies to their business process.