While both enterprise and consumer-facing design involve finding out who the users are and what they are trying to accomplish, there are also some key differences to keep in mind.
1. Different Audience, Different Needs
When it comes to consumer audiences, the buyer is a little more straight forward. But for many enterprise products, the buyer is not the end user.
At an organizational level, there may be more concerns about privacy, security, and data. However, the shifting trend nowadays is that teams get to choose their own tools (when it makes sense from a budget perspective). After all, using inefficient and poorly designed tools day after day not only lowers employee morale but deeply interferes with their ability to do good work.
There are specific needs and jobs to be done by different roles of an organization that are using your product (which sometimes correspond to their job title)-–mapping these user roles will help clarify who your users are and what they need to do.
2. Make it Easy to Onboard and Train
Enterprise products often serve thousands of customers, many of whom are in teams working together in an organization. This means there will be a process of onboarding and training for the team members from the organization. But as the product designers, you can also emphasize the need for great training assets and resources like good documentation, training videos, etc. Making this entire transition and learning process as seamless and intuitive as possible will help your product succeed, as enterprise products may be more complex, powerful and technical.
3. Recognize Risk Aversion
When it comes to enterprise, making a switch between products is risky. The products being bought are big expenses. There may be years of underlying infrastructure dependencies or lots of other costs involved in making changes. That’s why the end product has to be functional and appealing, otherwise, who will vouch for these changes within an organization?
There are functional needs to enterprise products (that’s why they exist) which makes it even more important to focus on jobs to be done. Determining the values that your users care about, whether those be flexibility, speed, or integration with other products, can help you develop a framework for understanding what your users care about.