Thursday, November 21, 2013

Software reviews: Read beyond the ratings

By Vinay Bhagat, CEO TrustRadius

It may seem odd for the CEO of a review site to take a stance against star ratings, but I believe they receive far too much emphasis.

Don't get me wrong. They have their place. In an era of content scanning and low attention spans, star ratings give a quick visual representation of sentiment. They do however need to be considered in context.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Social Media Management Software in Large Enterprises

TrustRadius recently published the Social Media Management Software (SMMS) Buyers' Guide based upon in-depth user reviews of over 30 different products.

The guide primarily discussed the seven primary use cases for SMMS, but also highlighted the unique needs of large enterprises. A few key themes emerged:

1. Complex listening to support brand and sentiment analysis
While many social publishing/ engagement tools contain some element of listening, most are not designed for more complex listening functions like brand or sentiment analysis. Purpose built enterprise listening tools like Radian6, NetBase, Sysomos MAP, MutualMind, Synthesio, Ubervu, Crimson Hexagon ForSight, and Attensity can scan across millions of sources including social networking sites, blogs, discussion forums, and other social media channels for things like brand mentions and then process enormous quantities of unstructured data.

2. Enterprise suites to enable cross-functional social co-ordination
The desire for stronger coordination across geographies and functions coupled with the desire to avoid data silos from disparate applications has catalyzed a trend towards integrated platforms covering multiple use cases. Increasingly, customers want to be able to monitor brand mentions, publish posts and engage social followers, and finally gather analytics data all from a single platform. For large enterprises wishing to coordinate social media management across the organization, a number of specific capabilities are required:

Friday, November 15, 2013

Your guide to marketing automation vendors at #Dreamforce13

Marketing automation has emerged as a hot category. The last year saw some exciting developments with Oracle’s acquisition of Eloqua, Marketo’s IPO, and Salesforce’s acquisition of ExactTarget and its subsidiary Pardot. We’ve also seen newer competitors like Act-On scale and Hubspot continue to mature its marketing automation capabilities. To help Dreamforce attendees interested in marketing automation have more in-depth vendor conversations, we decided to pull together a quick snapshot of what our members are saying about the vendors exhibiting at Dreamforce. The order of vendors listed below is alphabetical. Please note that Treehouse Interactive is omitted as we don't have any reviews about them yet.


Act-On positions itself as Marketing Automation for the Fortune 5,000,000 and has been successful in rapidly developing a large client base.

It's very well rated on TrustRadius and considered a very good value all in one solution. Users like its methodical approach to helping you create automated drip email campaigns, its lead scoring capabilities, visitor tracking/analytics, and integration with Salesforce.com. It also leverages templates effectively for ease of use.

Areas for improvement include more flexibility in templates, more robust lead scoring models, more advanced social media integration, improving the HTML editor. Some also feel reporting, integration for Webinars, the survey module and email deliverability need improvement.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What Users Want to Hear from Salesforce at Dreamforce 13

Dreamforce is just around the corner, and more than 100,000 users are anticipated to attend.

There's no doubt that Salesforce will use this event to showcase some exciting new developments. A question we pose is whether those announcements will elate current users. Analyzing in-depth reviews of Salesforce users in TrustRadius two principal wants stand out:

1. Enhanced reporting & trending analysis capabilities within Salesforce

Users consistently mention that the native reporting capabilities in Salesforce don’t fully meet their needs. In particular, they would love to have the ability to snapshot and warehouse data for reporting and trend analysis. While Salesforce does have some ability to capture trend data, it’s difficult to expose it and use through standard reporting templates. Most users are left with the option of exporting their snapshot data to either Excel for manual analysis, to a database for more structured querying, or to an Analytics platform such as, C9, Birst, GoodData, or Tableau. While some of these tools support out-of-the-box packaged analyses and visualizations of sales and marketing performance, they still require configuration and customization not to mention the monitoring or another periodic data integration. Moreover, many organizations have already committed to more general purpose Business Intelligence platforms and are faced with the choice of building and maintaining visualizations from scratch in their existing platforms or introducing another purpose-built BI platform into the mix. Expect to see users attending the analytics sessions hoping for good news in this area.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fab 5 Business Software Reviews

Every month, we publish hundreds of business software reviews. Some are longer than others. Our average is around 500 words.

Irrespective of length, all are structured and provide insights from users with deep practical knowledge. We continue to be impressed by the quality of insights provided.

What makes a great business software review?

  1. Includes detailed insights about how reviewers are using the tool in the context of their work. Knowing that a tool is great is helpful, but truly understanding how well a tool can or cannot support specific use cases is most useful to help our readers evaluations.
  2. Avoids jargon and uses clear language to describe what works well and what doesn't work well. Uses concrete examples which can be easily understood.
  3. Provides practical advice for buyers as they navigate the selection process, implement, and tips or tricks that can make a big difference in daily use of the product.

Check out our these "Fab 5" reviews published in October. All epitomize the characteristics of great reviews.

By Robert GoodmanDirector of Business Intelligence & Analytics at Georgetown University
By Brian MasseyConversion Scientist™ at Conversion Sciences LLC

Tibco Spotfire: Robust Visualization and Analytics for a Small Budget
By Alex NaumovGlobal Pricing & Marketing Operations Lead, Analytics & Research at General Electric

By Ashley LeónAssociate at ICF International

As always, make sure to check our latest business software reviews or even better, share your own software expertise with our community and raise your online visibility.