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The Consumerization of the Enterprise App

This week tech companies from the around the globe plan to show off the latest gadgets at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Thousands gather for a first look at what might be the “next big thing.”

Consumer devices and apps that take off typically do something novel. But novelty is rarely enough. They also need to provide an intuitive, rich and even fun user experience.

Those same qualities are now making their way into enterprise apps. Professionals expect the platforms they use for work to mimic the apps they use in their personal life. So creators of B2B solutions are adopting many of the same techniques found in consumer apps (drag and drop interface, mobile adaptability, HTML 5 interface, etc.).

Today we spotlight 8 apps that have adopted the look and feel of a consumer app.

Box is making waves in the enterprise – and for good reason.

Using a simple interface that makes it easy to store your content and share it across teams. It’s also hosted in the cloud so it runs right “out of the box”, so to speak. It makes accessing your content from a mobile device about as simple as accessing music from an iPhone.

Chatter and Yammer
Facebook and Twitter make it easy to quickly post our thoughts and content to friends and perfect strangers alike. Salesforce.com’s Chatter app and Yammer provide the same kind of real-time collaboration for the enterprise.

While Chatter feels a little like Twitter and Yammer is more akin to Facebook, both tools make it easy follow colleagues, post updates, share links and organize the workforce into groups. And it’s much easier on your inbox, too.

Assistly’s model for managing customer service is about intuitive as updating your blog. The platform enables businesses to address customers concerns internally and across various social networks. Plus there are dashboards so you can see the results and feedback coming in.

Mindjet is like a whiteboard that doesn’t need to be erased and far less cluttered.

Users can quickly jot down their thoughts and re-organize them later. Brainstorming is fast and you don’t need to rifle through your notebook trying to find that one idea you had. Research works the same way, with search results pulled directly into a navigable map so you can keep track of workflow.

Imagine if your project management software was more like a social network and you’ll have a good idea of what working in Basecamp is like.

From that first step to finished concept, Basecamp allows teams and departments to store their projects, set deadlines, comment on colleagues ideas, flush out the details while managing everything from simple dashboards.

Recruiting has always involved a social element. But Jobvite takes the concept further.

The company’s technology makes it easy to recruit talent by leveraging a bunch of social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook. Even more importantly, its Web-based structure is easy enough to use by those outside of HR. You can send and track referrals from your smart phone.

Eloqua10’s drag and drop interface makes designing, running and tracking marketing campaigns faster than you might have thought possible. Built using HTML 5, customers can simply pull in pre-made assets like emails and landing forms onto a whiteboard-like display and automate the messaging of that content based on prospects’ behavior.

What B2B apps are you using that feel like consumer apps?

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