B2B Application Design

I was perusing the design section of the bookstore and noticed something odd.  I couldn’t find any B2B (Business-to-Business) application design books.  Clearly, it is a different process and skill set than a B2C (Business-to-Consumer) application.  Let’s take a case study.

Research in Motion, the makers of the Blackberry have alot to be proud of.  Next to the iPhone it is the most popular handheld device.  It has alot of goodness baked in to make it this popular.  The consumer side of RIM is pretty solid.  Maybe it’s not as good as Apple, but it’s no slouch.  However, to use a Blackberry, some poor schnook in the IT department needs to install their server-side application.  I discussed previously the horrendous nature of the interface for the blackberry enterprise server.  It is one of the worst pieces of crap I have ever seen, and I have seen alot of crap.

How did RIM get the B2C so good and the B2B so bad?  Something tells me that they have very different sets of processes/values/guidelines steering each team.

I believe that good designers can apply their skills to either B2B or B2C, but maybe I am wrong.  My experience has definetely emphasized the business applications over the consumer ones.  I wish there was a magical chart somewhere, that you could ask questions like, “Compare B2B and B2C startups.  Show people, profit, money, designers, etc”

As always, I encourage everyone to be introspective about their business, their skills and most importantly, their values.  I started working on the Glen’s Values Sheet the other day.  Still in progress.

Whatya think?