Bias in Enterprise Software Evaluation
There is a great deal of biased information offered by market experts in a variety of fields and this is certainly true of enterprise software evaluation. We often write about this bias and how it leads to poor decisions being made. This bias in information sources is why an economist would consider the enterprise software market as inefficient. This is because efficient markets require good information and bias, often driven by financial incentives results in poor quality information. This is particularly true for any product or services which is bought by one set of individuals (for instance executives in this case) but used by others (for instance planners).
The Higher Burden of Evidence we Bear
The reasons why we must provide more evidence than most is related to the following:
- We take positions that are sometimes counter to conventional wisdom and we write many things that other sources of information on the internet will not. One reason is we actually test most of the software that we write about, while most analysts don’t. So we run into real world limitations of software.
- We are sometimes critical of the largest companies in the enterprise software space and call out their products. These are same companies that many other sources of information uncritically republish semi-press releases from large software vendors. We analyze all applications the same regardless of the vendor’s size, which is against the grain. “Journalism” in the enterprise software space means showering praise on the largest vendors. This is because they can pay the most.
- We have not been around for as long, and are not as large or established as outlets like CIO or InfoWeek. The major outlets can be lazy. They can publish information without evidence, and still be listened to.
Because we are small as well as taking the path less traveled, we have to be more clear about our internal incentives. Information outlets that publish inaccurate information bear almost no burden in this regard. This is particularly true if the information outlet is large and established. Large media outlets are considered trustworthy by default. Yet, large media outlets are actually at a disadvantage versus smaller outlets in this regard because they have so many incentives to provide biased information.
No Reseller Arrangements or Referral Income
We have no reseller arrangements with any vendor and have no arrangement where we receive referral fees or commission. (We had one with WinShuttle, but terminated it because we re-evaluated what we wanted to do. We never made income from the WinShuttle relationship.). We have ample opportunities to be referral partners with vendors and never accept them. We make no income if a company purchases a particular application which we recommended.