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G2 Crowd Wants to Crowdsource Enterprise Software Reviews (Video)

Roblimo posted about a year and a half ago | from the actual-users-often-know-more-about-software-than-anyone-else dept.

Businesses 26

All reviews are opinions. In theory, they are based on a reviewer's careful test of the product. But what about enterprise software? How can a reviewer do a real-world test of a CRM program designed to run on dozens or hundreds of workstations and to be used by dozens or hundreds of people? The idea behind G2 Crowd is crowdsourcing. Not just any old crowd, but people who use or administer enterprise software as part of their jobs. In other words, experts -- who get rewards if they supply detailed reviews. Logins require a LinkedIn identity in order to prevent bogus reviews. Will G2 Crowd work? It's still in beta, and this Slashdot interview is one of the first times it has been shown to the public, in part because our interviewee, co-founder Matt Gorniak, is a long-time Slashdot reader. So what do you think? Is this a good idea? Is their business model viable? Matt sounds nervous in this interview not only because he's not a PR pro, but also because he's anxiously waiting to see what you (yes, you) think of G2 Crowd, a business he and the rest of the company's management team hope is not only viable but really takes off.

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Slashvertisment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43402613)

And fuck you

Re:Slashvertisment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43403209)

CRM-114

Re:Slashvertisment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43404909)

Yawn what an utter waste of /. space. There's just so much that can be criticized about this BS that I'm filled with apathy even thinking about it; posting this took a Herculean effort. Trust. Nope, not giving it. Not worth giving it.

So I LinkedIn myself to a review... really? (2)

Jonah Hex (651948) | about a year and a half ago | (#43402643)

Wait a moment, what happens if I write a scathingly honest review that then costs me job opportunities because it's connected to LinkedIn? Or what if I write falsely glowing reviews in order to bulk up my apparent knowledge of a product in order to get a job? How is this going to effect the job market, and is subject to gaming or abuse? What if my review makes me liable for legal action by the company whose software I review? I'm just a contracting work from home Windows admin, I can't afford to have my LinkedIn screwed with. - HEX

Re:So I LinkedIn myself to a review... really? (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#43402797)

Wait a moment, what happens if I write a scathingly honest review that then costs me job opportunities because it's connected to LinkedIn? Or what if I write falsely glowing reviews in order to bulk up my apparent knowledge of a product in order to get a job? How is this going to effect the job market, and is subject to gaming or abuse?

I ain't going to bother with RTFA, but they could just use your LinkedIn - login to verify who you are and that you are actually worth your salt and then just anonymize the reviews themselves. That would solve all the issues you raise as far as I can tell. On the other hand, I don't know how they would reward you for your time, then.

Well, I wish him well (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year and a half ago | (#43402673)

But I hope he's researched the idea rather more thoroughly than the summary suggests.
It's a bit late to consult the /. 'experts' when you're already on the launchpad.
Probably more a slashvert than anything else, then.

Hard to see the added value over existing sources of information...especially since giving an non-AC, unvarnished review via LinkedIn of how you screwed-up your latest sf.com, SAP, whatever implementation is hardly going to endear you to your bosess, peers, support team, vendor/support provider etc.

Maybe they'll twin this with a job-seeking service?

Re:Well, I wish him well (1)

edcheevy (1160545) | about a year and a half ago | (#43402767)

Ditto! The irony of not researching the viability of your software platform, which is designed to assess the viability of other software platforms, is a little too much.

Corporate PR nightmare (3, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about a year and a half ago | (#43402719)

It won't work mainly because the people they're asking to review the software are in positions where good relations with the vendor are important. Their employer won't allow them to bad-mouth their vendors because that can impact contract terms the next time the employer has to negotiate licenses. And the requirement for a LinkedIn profile means there's no way to post a review without the vendor knowing exactly which customer has admins who think their offering is crud.

Remember, when customers are saying that there's major problems with a product, to the vendor the problem isn't that there's major problems with the product, it's that customers are saying their are. So the vendor will proceed to fix the problem: they'll go after the customers who're saying bad things to make them shut up.

Re:Corporate PR nightmare (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year and a half ago | (#43403205)

There's some truth to this.

Really good administrators may not have exposure to a sufficiently diverse number of products to make observations that are usable. Doesn't mean they're bad administrators, rather, that the depth in administrative software often also disciplines a different workflow than they might be used to, or care for.

If this is Yelp for enterprise software, fine. It'll be just as good and bad as Yelp is, in describing various products and services. For that, it might have some use. But Yelp also is extremely noisy, and the credibility of the reviewers is all over the map. Credentialization helps, but that takes time, and crowdsourced reviewer equity, too. Then reviewers need to worry about autonomy, and also what it means to the company they work for-- in good and bad ways.

Re:Corporate PR nightmare (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43403533)

With enterprise software you could easily have a situation where the IT group is happy and the end users aren't happy. The IT group may not have much pull over end users. Also people move from job to job. I can easily picture this working.

Besides the Streisand effect applies. If an employee gets disciplined for bad mouthing a vendor and goes public that could actually be a news item with millions of hits.

Re:Corporate PR nightmare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43408213)

Building ERP software are actually complicated.. Some seem crm(customer resource planning) == erp(enterprise resource planning) .Some also seem erp == accounting software. Some said erp just nearly the same as mrp(material resource planning).
if really wanted to crowd ,yess i build one.. but it much simplier version rather then microsoft ax or sap.. But more on property erp development.

Astroturing (4, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year and a half ago | (#43402727)

How on earth is this any less susceptible to astroturfing? Linked-in like every other form of social media has large numbers of fake accounts that are available as shill accounts. Has anyone thought this through at any appreciable level? Most enterprise management software has requirements that you either go through a sales team to get an evaluation or often times has license restrictions that prevent you from freely discussing and or bench marking it without prior approval. The only way to get approval is to have results that are for all intents and purposes written by the company themselves.

Even if you don't have to worry about license issues for reviews you still have to worry about the logistical issues of implementing enterprise management software tools. These tools often involve dedicated architects, consultants that get paid hundreds of dollars per hours for months on end, dedicated SQL servers and months of exclusive staff time in order to implement correctly. Implementing a tool like this correctly easily runs into the tens of thousands of dollars on the small side and multi-million dollar budgets are common. Dedicated servers are required that can easily cost tens of thousands dollars just in hardware, never mind license costs for things like SQL server licensing and maintenance. The idea that someone who doesn't have a clue could possibly provide a meaningful review of an enterprise management product is as absurd as expecting a freshly minted college grad to work as an enterprise architect.

The idea that you can install an enterprise management tool and run a review like you can the latest version of a game shows me that the people proposing this have absolutely no experience actually doing this. This is why white papers are written, because people sink these costs into real world projects and write up about their experiences and lessons learned. You want a review of a product, find the white paper, or surf the forums for vendors product. I'm sorry, but this has got to be the dumbest idea I have ever seen submitted to Slashdot.

Re:Astroturing (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43403587)

How on earth is this any less susceptible to astroturfing? Linked-in like every other form of social media has large numbers of fake accounts that are available as shill accounts

I think it is pretty easy to tell shill accounts from real accounts. It is also easy for a computer. There are cross correlations that human accounts will have and shill accounts won't. My biological sister is on my linkedin account. My linked in account has diverse connections and comments.... This sort of depth doesn't exist for shills.

Now paid positive reviews that are real people that's a different story. But any vendor would have to be very careful about that sort of marketing.

Re:Astroturing (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year and a half ago | (#43403915)

Shill accounts are not only created by computers though [infoworld.com] . High quality shill accounts are created and managed by human beings who do so as their professional job. Some accounts are quite obvious, however other accounts are created and professionally maintained for years.

You can buy cheap shills and you can pay for high quality shills, it all depends on what your needs are. Professional companies or industry lobbying groups will maintain and develop shill accounts for years or even decades to increase their value and perceived trust. They are no different from the spammers or the malware authors in that they are professionals who have made a career in monetizing their product. They would certainly take the time to add in 'legitimate' looking sisters and other adjunct accounts for high quality accounts as a form of quality control.

Re:Astroturing (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43405575)

The system won't work against that kind of concerted effort. But I'd assume that kind of concerted effort is rare.

Usenet (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43402775)

I remember a place which offered trusted, crowd-sourced reviews of enterprise products by "people who use or administer enterprise software as part of their jobs" ... it was called Usenet.

The relentless advertisers invaded Usenet, they have invaded Slashdot (this topic offered as Exhibit A), they invaded TripAdvisor and they will invade this new website (if anybody is insane enough to invest in starting it up).

Now excuse me while I go back to my rocking chair and yell at the kids on my lawn.

I know what I'd like to pan... (1)

david.emery (127135) | about a year and a half ago | (#43402777)

Deltek time and expense tracking software...

But it takes time and effort to write reviews, with more time required to write an unfavorable review (same holds true for peer review of articles, which is one reason why I declined the opportunity to review a journal article today...) A really good system would have some means to evaluate and weight well written reviews. (That's a characteristic that's probably missing from Slashdot's scoring criteria.)

Useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43402931)

I work as enterprise architect for a large financial organisation. Reviews of software done with this model are useless. Why ?

- Products are chosen to answer business needs, depending of the industry, the localization, other products in the organization, the same software can be rated 5 or 0.
- The only differences between "regular" software and "enterprise" software are integration capabilities and support. Support means not only troubleshooting but capacity to take the blame when things are going south ...
- In large organization, software are tools. They are only to support process. The value is not from the tool but how you use it.

I don't see how such site can be useful to my daily work ...

fu3Ker (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43402981)

Larger employers forbid this (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about a year and a half ago | (#43403037)

The largest employers forbid employees from posting "official" reviews. The largest software vendors forbid *anyone* from posting performance reviews.

Other than that, great idea!

Re:Larger employers forbid this (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year and a half ago | (#43403611)

And people leave all the time.

If It Looks Like a Cow, Swims Like a Dolphin and Q (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43403281)

"If It Looks Like a Cow, Swims Like a Dolphin and Quacks Like a Duck, It Must Be Enterprise Software" -- http://www.subtraction.com/2007/10/19/if-it-looks-

and http://37signals.com/svn/posts/669-why-enterprise-software-sucks

No truth will happen this way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43405773)

I've worked in small and large enterprises with lots of "enterprise software" the last 30 yrs.
* All "enterprise software" sucks. ALL OF THEM.
* I can't think of 1 product that does what we were sold on features. Sure, the tools "could" perform everything we were sold with 20x more fees for consultants to make that happen.
* Never buy anything from Oracle except the RDBMS and only buy that if absolutely necessary.
A few small enterprise products actually do what they claim, but those are very specialized and of limited use for a wider public.

More and more, enterprises should learn that contributing to F/LOSS makes more sense over the long-term. It works best for governments and large companies, of that, I am absolutely positive. For small and medium-sized companies, it is less clear if F/LOSS makes business sense or not.

I don't see the value in this... (1)

erp_consultant (2614861) | about a year and a half ago | (#43406713)

Enterprise Software is a different animal, so to speak. The software itself does what it's supposed to do but your success with it boils down to a few key areas:

1) Choosing the right ERP solution that fits your needs. I can't tell you how many square-peg-round-hole solutions there are out there.
2) Choosing a good implementer. ERP products are nearly infinitely configurable and every configuration requires analysis and decision making. Some of the decisions you make can be difficult or nearly impossible to undo once the product is live. Evaluating your implementation parter is critical to the success of the project. In my experience, stay away from "Big Four" companies. They will stack the team full of college kids with little more than a few training courses and no real world experience. You'll get a few experienced one that get most of the client face time but the majority of them will be training on your nickel.

These are the things that determine the success of your implementation, not the software itself. So having a bunch of people saying "SAP sucks" isn't very helpful. The software works...if it sucks it's most likely because something went wrong with #1 or #2 above.

LinkedIn login (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year and a half ago | (#43408387)

This was getting interesting until I red: "Logins require a LinkedIn identity"

No, thanks.

Useless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43410045)

Yeah, right, like I'm going to associate my review with my LinkedIn account to tell the world my thoughts of the system I have to run day to day... bet the vendor I also have to deal with day to day will love that and I'm sure they'll make my life super swell afterwards... Using LinkedIn for verification is stupid, most reviews are going to be bad (let's face it, most of this software sucks due to poor competition) so vendors are going to pressure any employer who has an employee who gives negative reviews.
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