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Note: this is a part of our CRM Definitions Series.
If you’re researching CRM software, or really any type of business software, you’ve probably seen the word “Enterprise” thrown around a lot. Enterprise software, enterprise-grade security, or enterprise-level features are all examples of how the term might be used, but what does it actually mean?
The dictionary definition of “enterprise” is: a business or company. So on the surface, “enterprise software” just means software meant for businesses. I wish it were that simple, but it’s not. When software companies use the term “enterprise” there’s a hidden meaning.
The real meaning of “enterprise” is: a really really big business or company. Enterprise is the alternative to small business. Enterprise means that you have hundreds to thousands of employees, or at least that you’re behaving as if you do (lots of small companies like to act much bigger than they are).
As soon as the word “enterprise” is used in association with software, you should think of it as an industry buzzword that means you’re going to be treated like a huge company, whether you are one or not. Here’s how huge companies are treated when purchasing software:
If you work at a big company, most of those bullet points probably sound pretty good. Enterprise software sales are meant to embed themselves into the bureaucracy of your organization and slowly make progress until they’ve got the sale. So if you have 500+ employees and you’re looking for a CRM, project management, or some other type of business software, then you almost certainly want to go with a company that says “enterprise” every other word.
On the other hand, if you’re a small business, most of those things probably sound pretty terrible. You just want to test out a few products, receive training and help from knowledgeable customer service people, and pay a reasonable price. If that’s the case, you probably want to avoid the “enterprise” buzzword, and focus more on “small business” or “SMB” software.
I hope this clears up what “enterprise” means. If you have any questions, you can always reach me on Twitter (@TylerMKing)
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