I’m frustrated by the state of the Enterprise Software industry, and I have been for quite some time. While there are some notable exceptions, I find fewer examples of good products in this space than any other. Many people view the enterprise software market as “mature” or worse, but I think customers are just frustrated and aren’t anxious to spend yet more money on more disappointing products. And they’re just not willing to dish out hundreds of thousands of dollars – or even millions – on “professional services” just to get them working.
In the last issue I wrote about the role that domain expertise plays in product management, and I alluded to deeper differences in types of products. For more traditional types of products, such as Enterprise Software, these differences are fairly well-known. But for consumer internet services, this is new enough that I thought I’d share some of the most important lessons that I’ve learned from doing large-scale internet services at Netscape, AOL and eBay, and working with clients at several other major internet service companies.