What Does “Enterprise Ready” Really Mean?

Pat Enterprise Ready

To continue the theme of putting yourself in the customer’s shoes when pursuing enterprise sales, it is useful to consider some (perhaps unexpressed) expectations typical of enterprise buyers that may not be typical of entrepreneurial design practices. To effectively sell a platform as “enterprise ready” startups must understand and address these expectations. Attempts to address these concerns in AI products has recently been a newsworthy issue, but the concerns are relevant to all information processing technology.

1. Ease of deployment: Customers are not happy to buy innovative technology only to find the deployment requires months of bespoke engineering before the innovation is ready for use. The deployment process must be streamlined and automated to the greatest extent possible. Minimal intervention on the part of the customer should be needed.

2. Integration with Existing Systems: Many enterprises already have established systems and processes in place, making it difficult for new solutions to seamlessly integrate with their existing infrastructure. Startups need to focus on interoperability and smooth integration to overcome this barrier.

3. Data security and privacy concerns: Enterprises are rightfully cautious about the security and privacy of their data. Startups must demonstrate robust data protection measures, compliance with relevant regulations, and transparent data usage practices to gain enterprise trust. Cloud native SaaS may be a useful design paradigm, but startups should recognize that some types of enterprises will only be comfortable with on-prem solutions and that some types of data are considered too sensitive to be stored in the cloud or used for feedback to improve the startup’s product.

4. Data provenance: Enterprises care about trustable insights. Startups must be able to deliver trustable results that are based in true / verifiable data.

5. Lack of understanding and buy-in: Resistance to adopting new technologies may arise from a lack of understanding or misconceptions about the technology’s capabilities and benefits and from a general aversion to change. Startups need to effectively communicate the value proposition of their solutions and provide clear evidence of ROI to gain buy-in from enterprise decision-makers.

Developing a platform which addresses these customer expectations can really accelerate enterprise sales. It is critical that startups think about these issues at design time since it is difficult and expensive to make changes to address these needs once the product is built.