For the past few years, Iâ€™ve been working in an enterprise computing environment that has both striking similarities and dissimilarities from the open source freelance and the academic institutional environments. Iâ€™ve been frustrated a number of times by products that either havenâ€™t thought about their enterprise users or, perhaps, donâ€™t care.
So, how is the enterprise different?
- Enterprise users often arenâ€™t allowed to login to Google or Facebook. Any authentication scheme in your product that requires these tie-ins is a non-starter.
- Enterprise users often canâ€™t setup an account with every product provider. That is, leaking information from the enterprise network by filling out your new user form is not acceptable.
- Two factor authentication via SMS… many enterprise users donâ€™t have an SMS-capable phone issued to them for work and crisscrossing business use with personal devices is a no-no.
- Enterprise users often donâ€™t have the choice to openly share their work with the world. If your product requires pushing to public repositories, we canâ€™t use it.
- Your one-click solution for publishing to the open web… it’s lovely, but unusable by many enterprise users. However, if the end user could choose where that publish goes—say, to an inside-the-firewall enterprise server or even simply to a network shared drive—that would be extremely useful.
- Enterprise networks often use custom SSL certificate authorities to allow them to perform packet inspection at the enterprise boundary. To many products and websites, this looks like a man-in-the-middle attackâ€”which it is. Enterprise end users donâ€™t have a choice.
- Enterprise users canâ€™t legally sign your EULA or terms of service on behalf of the company. My assent is worthless and could get me fired.
- Even when an enterprise userÂ couldÂ pay for your product, they often canâ€™t pay by credit card or paypal or bitcoin. What options do you afford them to do business with you?
Youâ€™re creating good products and services that users want to useâ€”often in the public interest and to try to make the world a better place. How can we find a way to do that that doesnâ€™t leak information from the enterprise and keeps you in business?