The Crowdsourced IT Research Model: A New Way to Evaluate IT in the Procurement Process?

Peer analysis. Crowdsourced knowledge. User-generated content. Community-based research platform. These are some of the terms used to describe a new generation of IT research startups. This new generation is introducing a revolutionary and disruptive model that goes directly against the current IT research/analyst model used by Gartner, Forrester and others. This new model centers around the concept of reviews coming directly from professionals who are actually using the technologies in enterprise environments and have experience with them. These companies maintain that they are able to be nimble and can respond quickly to emerging new technologies. The reviews, they stress, are unbiased and free (although some also offer fee-based premium reports). The concept is exciting but Gartner is very used to competitors attempting to chip away at their market share. It will be fascinating to see how these companies develop and if they are able to gain traction and become successful. Here they are:

G2 Crowd. Launched in February 2013. “Business technology buyers use the site to 
compare and select the best software based on peer reviews. Co-founded by the founder and former 
executives from SaaS leader BigMachines.”

IT Central Station. Launched in September 2012. Founders Russell Rothstein and Naftali Marcus “designed an online site that now operates like a Yelp or TripAdvisor for enterprise technology.”

VendorStack. Launched in September 2012. “VendorStack is like a Yelp + Quora for enterprise vendors, starting with the vendors used by middle-market enterprise and startups.”

Ombud. Launched in January 2012. Ombud is a social research platform for B2B technology. “Think of us as your real-time analyst, equipping you with interactive research tools and streaming the IT purchasing process.”

BestVendor. Launched in November 2011. BestVendor helps users discover the best software and cloud apps for their business and believes there’s no better way to find them than through peers and contacts.

Wikibon. Launched in 2007. Wikibon is slightly different in that it is a community of practitioners, technologists and consultants that use open source to share technology and business systems knowledge.

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