I use both an iPhone and Salesforce on a daily basis. Comparing the two is like comparing apples (no pun intended) to oranges. But from a user experience point of view, such an improbable comparison could lead to some interesting observations about the past and future of software design philosophy.
A big factor behind the success of smartphones and tablets has been the fulfilment of users’ needs at a micro level. The “there is an app for that” catchphrase perfectly describes the concept of developing each application to solve a particular problem. It is a simple concept consumers understand and, considering the success of smartphones, find very attractive.
Compare this approach to how Salesforce works:
Of course it’s not just enterprise software that suffers from feature bling; most Microsoft and Adobe programs fall into the same category; Word or Photoshop anyone? There is a lot of talk this year around the future of software development and how the proliferation of mobile apps and the popularity of the Apple App Store are influencing things. But from a user’s point of view, simpler software packages with a bare-bones engine sold at a lower price and a post-sales marketplace of individual features and feature packages is likely to make software use (and purchase) a lot more fun.