Truths of Enterprise Product Management: 5 Cons to B2B Product Management
Citrix Fmr. Product Lead on The Truths of Enterprise Product Management (Part 2)
In this part of the series, I’ll share five cons about B2B product management. In the next part I’ll share five things that are pretty cool.
Con #1: Lack of Visibility
Let’s start with the lack of visibility. Especially for on-premise products. Usually, you don’t know what the heck those users are doing with your product. Even more than that, you don’t know if they’re using it at all.
Of course, in the enterprise space, it’s getting better with the SAAS model. However, not every company or customer wants to share telemetry information with you on your B2B product. Also in the enterprise space, the buyer is often not the end-user. Usually, whoever signs the check is some executive or somebody in finance. And then the actual users are either underneath the people writing the check or in different departments. Even worse, often enterprise companies sell through the channel to their partners. At that point, you don’t have any relationship with a customer because it’s the partner who owns that relationship. You have no visibility.
Con #2: Everything is Legacy
I’ve heard that the city of San Jose has a handful of Windows XPs on their network for one reason or another. And you know, that’s just the reality. It’s there. There’s often some kind of software that is browser dependent, some archaic version of Internet Explorer. In addition, the vendor that created that software is no longer in business or no longer maintains the software. So it’s a mess.
Con #3: It’s Complex
The enterprise world is full of complexity. For some reason, there will be a customer demanding on-premise implementation rather than SAAS for the sake of security or some kind of compliance. Or they need some crazy recovery, high availability needs, and they want some in-depth documentation from you. Perhaps they’re even asking for a supportive operating system that you’ve never even heard of. That’s all very common. And this happens all the time. So it’s okay to say no. I learned this lesson after trying to create a backup for DVD for a previous project.
Con #4: Everything Is Slow
Everything is slow from the sale cycle to the release cycle. It’s not uncommon to spend 12 months agonizing over one sale. Fed sales can take even longer. If you sell in that space, the Fed sale can last three years.
The same goes for adoption. We think everyone can’t wait to get the latest feature from us. Guess what, they probably hate you for that. Honestly, people don’t like change (even if your feature will improve their life).
Con #5: Certification Nightmare
Okay, the next one is certification nightmare. There are all these crazy acronyms that you may need to learn. In addition, there are these security certification compliance requirements. In fact, they can get painful at times. And sometimes you just don’t have a choice. You have to do them because they are a requirement.
Click Here For Part 3 (live on 10/18)