Enterprise Product Development: The Customer Versus the User

As a product manager, it is important that you know who your customer is, and this holds especially true when product developing in an enterprise setting. Take Apple for example, they build beautiful products that factor extreme attention to detail to produce a User Experience (UX) language that makes it intuitive to use and interact with.

Customers you sell a product to in the consumer space have a specific set of skillsets, use cases, and personas that you customize toward, ranging from the MacBook Air college students, to MacBook Pro freelance developers, the family parents who use an iPhone for both work and pleasure.

In the enterprise world, product development personas are different. You cater towards the C-level executive personas, engineers, technical project and product managers, directors, whom have a distinctively different set of selection criterion, when using your product solely in an enterprise environment.

This is why the exercise of persona development, and empathy mapping play a crucial role in helping you understand why you are developing and for whom. Is it a User, or a Customer?

Answering these fundamental questions help you prioritize focus as far as feature development, user experience, and release management. Enterprise engineers may be interested in advanced feature sets, but not so much in the simple polished animations that you would artistically spend time crafting.

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