3 B2C lessons for B2B solutions
It is no news that the way people communicate has radically changed in the past decades with the coming of the Internet. Naturally, those changes also had an impact on companies and the way they relate to employees, clients and business partners. But are the tools your company uses – to schedule meetings, send documents, communicate with suppliers, share knowledge or evaluate employees – as simple and intuitive as Facebook? There is clear discomfort and uneasiness when business solutions are so different from those created for the end-user.
Here are three lessons you cannot disregard when you think about business and B2B solutions:
1. Millennials have invaded the workplace
At this time, a significant part of the economically active population is represented by younger generations who never knew a world without the Internet. According to Forrester Research, Millennials will be 40% of the workforce in 2015 and 45% until 2020. Such a change creates the undeniable need to make business and B2B solutions look more like those used in personal life. Facebook itself, for example, has conquered such a high number of users that it has become not only a social network, but a cultural strength of society. Facebook is no longer only seen as an entertainment-related social network, but also as an opportunity for businesses and brands to approach their consumers.
In 2013, Facebook reached the number of 1.2 3 billion active users throughout the world, a number close to India’s total population. In that same year, the social network was responsible for 5.7% of the world’s total Internet advertising expenses, showing a new direction of the public’s attention. The influence of social networks on day-to-day life goes beyond a connection, an example of which is how Facebook influences 23% of its users to purchase at brick-and-mortar stores.
2. The barriers between the social and the corporate world are increasingly lower
The way of dealing with the Internet today is a lifestyle with no distinction between home and office. Working has become increasingly mobile and free from physical barriers, which brought the need of friendly and easy B2B solutions inside companies too. An example of that was the migration of more “corporate” telephones like the BlackBerry to devices like the iPhone, the iPad and Android.
The 2014 study Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise by the IDG Enterprise showed that the vast majority of companies (90%) already has employees who routinely use services like Facebook, Dropbox, Google and Skype for business purposes, and in 41% of those cases the websites were used without the IT area’s approval. That shows the need for better business solutions.
3. People (not departments or positions) use technologies
Very often, B2B solutions are not intuitive, easy or interactive. People want to be able to share documents or information with their fingertips or use smart phones for corporate operations just as they already do to access social networks. That is why companies are beginning to choose apps and solutions and address the needs of such a demanding market that expects the same B2C usability in B2B solutions. The focus is on improving experience. Ease, mobility and collaboration are some of the main impacts companies expect their business solutions to bring to their work routine.
Business solutions are in the process of absorbing much of what is done in B2C to build more intuitive tools, and consequently to bring more productivity to relations within and between companies.