Godard Abel, Matt Gorniak

What do we want to do next? That was the question Matt Gorniak and Godard Abel pondered after their software startup, Big Machines, was sold in 2011 at a valuation of more than $100 million and later bought by Oracle. 

“One of the things that really became evident quickly in our 10-year experience as a vendor is that when you are trying to differentiate software in the marketplace you’re engaging with traditional analysts like Gartner and Forrester,” said Gorniak. “That model is very much based like it’s still the 1980s.”

Magic Quadrant Disruption

They soon developed the crowdsourcing, user-review-based enterprise software review website, G2 Crowd, aiming to provide “neutral, democratic, unbiased, trusted” reviews. It launched publicly about a year ago.

It now includes 14,000 users who have combined for about 20,000 reviews in roughly 200 software categories, including more than 2,000 products. It averages about 50,000 visitors per month with a “nice balance” between IT, business professionals and executive leaders from small to medium sized businesses and enterprises, Gorniak said.

The goal? To disrupt the Gartner Magic Quadrant and any other existing business software review models.

customer experience, G2 Crowd: Enterprise Software Review Disruption

Gorniak called industry reviews -- he specifically cited Gartner and Forrester -- untimely and reliant upon input from analysts who have “never used the software” and the vendors themselves who feed the analysts information.

“It’s a human being who’s never used the software before because they can’t,” Gorniak said. “It’s enterprise software. You can’t really buy these pieces of software, deploy them to 1,000 people, wait five years then write about it. It doesn’t work like that.”

Gartner Response

CMSWire asked Gartner and Forrester about their review methods and whether they’ve heard of G2 Crowd.

Forrester declined commentary. The company has published a Wave research methodology.

Gartner spokesperson Andrew Spender told CMSWire he can’t talk about the value proposition of other organizations — and said Gartner is the “IT professional's best first source for addressing virtually any IT issue.”

Gartner employs, Spender added, more than 900 analysts in 26 countries who cover 1,200 topics across the IT landscape. Gartner analysts have an average of 12 years of experience in their respective field, he said.