Peer Insights, the Crowd & Big Data: the Modern Way to Select Enterprise Software

October 16, 2013

We started G2 Crowd to change the game in business software buying. We saw the shortcomings with the traditional analyst model and the shifts in purchasing behavior occurring in both the consumer and enterprise spaces.

So we set out to build a trusted enterprise review site based on data from peer reviews and social signals — a modern solution that incorporates successes from the consumer world as well as evolving roles in IT decision making.

We based this new solution on the shifts and trends that we observed in enterprise software. Here's how we're innovating to create a new standard for researching and comparing business software.

Democratizing access to software research

Enterprise software is booming — just check TechCrunch, Forbes, Inc. and others that have highlighted the growing and changing landscape of enterprise software. In this new enterprise world, SMBs, mid-market companies, and large corporations can often use the same cloud and mobile technologies to power their business. 

We experienced the shifts in enterprise buying first-hand as we built our prior company, BigMachines, into the leading SaaS sales configuration partner for Salesforce and Oracle CRM On Demand.

We successfully served small customers with as little as $10 million in revenue all the way up to huge enterprises such as GE and Symantec that have billions in revenue, all using the same cloud software (albeit with different configurations and workflows).

If businesses of all sizes are selecting from the same pool of products, everyone should have the same level of access to the research and reviews to help them pick the right software. We're building G2 Crowd to be a comprehensive source to read reviews and compare everything from Salesforce and Oracle to MailChimp and Expensify.

Providing peer insights for the new IT buyers

Buying power in IT purchases is shifting from CIOs to CMOs, VPs of Sales, and other line executives. As the influence of the CIO in making these purchase decisions has declined, and analyst model employed by Gartner and others, which is based on providing expert advice to CIOs, makes less and less sense.

The line executives are much more interested in learning from other line executives — their peers — rather than traditional industry analysts. In addition, these executives want to ensure that sales reps and other end users adopt the technologies. Many have been burned by experiences with software such as Siebel that expert analysts highly recommended but that many sales users hated.

G2 Crowd uses reviews of validated users, administrators, and implementers. The perspectives of both systems experts and front-line users are valuable inputs to other enterprise buyers given how critical usability and adoption are to capturing ROI.

Combining the wisdom of the crowd with social data

The practice of aggregating expertise and influence from a large group is now used in everything from encyclopedias (Wikipedia) to funding (Kickstarter). Seeing crowdsourcing in action in these areas, as well as the positive impact that peer review sites such as Amazon, Yelp, and TripAdvisor made in our consumer lives, prompted us to create a similar model for the business software industry.

G2 Crowd uses a big data approach that captures web and social signals along with user reviews. The wisdom of the crowd and the aggregating and crunching the largest amount of data and sentiment in real time will lead to the most valuable insights for enterprise buyers. 

Why stop learning now? 

If you haven't checked out the more than 7,000 reviews on our site or our research, we welcome you to visit G2 Crowd, write a review, and give us feedback on how to make it better.