In a world where information is expected to be free, G2 just made its research reports available to the public gratis. Sure, you have to be a registered user, but how hard is that?
From what I know so far, these are interesting reports, but they may not be the last word because they’re primarily high-level overviews and indices based on G2’s crowdsourcing research approach.
Crowdsourcing is fine as long as we all know the rules — like one person, one vote. I don’t know the rules, so I will take it all on faith and trust in others until something makes me rethink.
I am most interested in CRM, naturally, so I went to the CRM report where I had what might be an aha moment. The list is extensive, but many of the names on the list are only passing acquaintances. Only Paul Greenberg can know so many emerging CRM companies!
At any rate, the CRM Usability Index offers some interesting insights. The scores are compiled from indices that track ease of administration, ease of use, requirements met, and other factors.
Presumably the survey takers answer questions from each column, and G2’s algorithms churn out numbers that, when added together, give a combined score on a 0 to 10 continuum.
I get it — but this doesn’t give me context. I don’t know, for instance, if Less Annoying CRM clocking in at the pole position (9.54) has the same complement of features and functions as Freshsales (8.95), or bpm’online (8.82) or how they’re better than market leaders like Salesforce (8.43) and Zoho (8.30).
It’s hard to have really high numbers when millions of users get a say. So I’m thinking that the 8.5 range is pretty good.
Data vs. Information
A few years ago I did a back of the envelope study by searching on a COMPANY NAME plus the word “sucks.” As I recall, bigger companies had more to suck about and did, which is what you’d expect for outfits with multiple product lines.
Ultimately this list gives you about as much as Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. If you’re a vendor you get bragging rights, and if you’re a buyer seeking information, you get a list of companies to investigate if you’re in the market and, sadly, a list of companies to avoid if you’re reading from bottom up.
Since success with CRM is all about how well any chosen system works within the context of your organization, you can use this data as a first step — but it doesn’t relieve you of doing your homework.
Also, I’m fairly certain that some of the listed companies don’t support a full CRM lifecycle including sales, service, marketing, commerce, analytics, and all the rest.
Having G2’s data to work with is highly useful, but as we know from artificial intelligence, the data is the thing that drives information generation, and it’s information we crave. That last step happens in the mind of evaluators and acquisition committees.