A Stone Bell

Deep and Sonorous, or maybe just a Dull Thud?


Clients or Customers

You are my Client – They are your Customers.

In an odd way,I’ve always been unhappy with the word “users” – someone once compared the way software providers use the word with the way drug dealers do.

To me it implies a drug-addled dependency on the ‘system’, but I’d rather think of the ‘users’ as knowledgeable and competent in what they do, or else I’ve no  confidence I’ve provided software which meets their requirements
So, maybe it’s just semantics, but is there a better word than users?

As  a software developer the company or organisation which engages our  services is our client, but I assume they have clients too – or at least  customers.

A client actively engages an agent to perform a service.

A customer buys a product or uses a service of a supplier

For a software system, perhaps we should think of the owner or commissioning entity as the client (whether it is internal or  external) and those who make use of the facilities the software provides  as its customers – equally whether they are internal to the client organisation or external “clients of our client”

What about those personnel form the client who work on the project? DSDM calls them (or maybe “called”, it keeps changing) Ambassador Users and Advisor Users, largely depending on the degree of involvement with the project.

Recently I’ve seen references to SMEs – “Specialized Market Experts” acting as a bridge between the client community and the business analysts. So I like to refer to them as “Business Experts” or just simply experts.

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