There are an estimated 5K to 10K SaaS and enterprise software companies that provide solutions for small, mid-sized and enterprise companies.
The large IT analyst companies such as Gartner, Forrester, IDC, EMR and Burton Group have made a $billion business out of evaluating and ranking these vendors on a magic quadrant or waves.
Over the last few years a host of companies have tried to disrupt the evaluation, comparison, review and ranking portion of the business.
The companies, G2Crowd, Credii, ITCentralStation, BestVendor and GetApp all pretty much offer a similar service with a few twists. The ability for business users to review, evaluate and filter the software solution for the based on their custom need.
Given the explosion of startups (thanks to the lower cost of starting a company), there are tons of choices for any buyer of software and many deployment models as well – mobile app, mobile web, SaaS, etc.
I had a chance to look at all these companies, and the intent was to review them from the point of view of a buyer of technology. I was initially looking for the best Early stage private company database, and stumbled upon one of these websites and went to research and see if there were others as well providing Yelp-type reviews for startups in a “crowd sourced” way.
There are 3 different approaches taken by these companies. While G2Crowd, ITCentral station and Best Vendor are more crowdsourced platforms, where any user can write a review and rate the vendors, Credii is more like a “Analyst on Demand” or “Analyst as a Service” solution. GetApp is a pure marketplace and seems to want to follow the App store model with some reviews, but more a listings website.
There were 3 things I was looking for when searching for a database of startups – first a good comprehensive listing of vendors, followed by analysis of their features and pricing, and finally reviews and recommendations by users like me.
Of the 5 solutions (none of who are comprehensive) I found Getapp to have the most listings – for other solutions than the one I was looking for. G2Crowd was a close second. The rest were pretty poor in the comprehensive nature of their coverage of a domain or the products within a domain.
In terms of analysis of features and pricing, company information, I found g2Crowd the best, but Credii very comprehensive. The limited nature of editorial reviews in the other sites, make them hard to take seriously.
If you are an SMB vendor with an interest in reviewing products and learning more about products before you start to shop, I’d be hard pressed to say an of them will truly meet your needs. They might be a starting point, but if you are expecting an Amazon like listing, with great reviews, multiple feature comparisons, you will be sadly disappointed.