A vast majority of us servicing the IT industry are familiar with the famous Gartner Magic Quadrant and Forrester Wave, tools invaluable to IT and business leaders when faced with the grueling chore of making the “right decision”. We depend on these insights because of the time and effort required for our teams to research on complex IT subjects combined with the many competing products and solutions in the market. Companies such as Gartner, Forrester etc. have built their businesses around market research and analysis and have the teams of experts on their staffs. They provide great evaluations of legacy and emerging vendors while predicting the future of the industry. But, we pay for these experts, typically with a pretty hefty price tag.

Decisions made at the juncture of growth and transformation are critical to most all companies, organizations either don’t have the capacity to endure the cost others may not garner the required value. For most SMB clients, this ends up being a "make or break" scenario. So are there options? perhaps crowd source alternatives? A concept not unlike Yelp, but for our software/hardware choices from a community of actual users sharing their opinion. Some sites are entirely free, while others share a good portion of the “research” and opinions while others are provided for a fee.

Turns out there are several options that boast several thousands of users claiming validated responses from the user community. Some of these have enjoyed enough notoriety to become acquisition targets. A few more options, especially ones that are not cost prohibitive might be a good thing in this respect.

Below is a short list of available options.

Please share your thoughts if you use Gartner, Forrester etc. or one of these alternative sites.

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