Software has eaten the world - why the market is against you
In 2011, Marc Andreessen famously wrote, “software is eating the world.” With the SaaS industry increasing in size by 500% over the past seven years, it’s safe to say that Marc was right. Software has eaten, and few scraps remain.
On the one hand, this is a great thing! I nerd out daily as I see how effortlessly these softwares can solve massive pain points for businesses across the world.
But for all the efficiency of SaaS products, purchasing them is anything but efficient. Every purchase requires answering a mountain of questions.
And these questions don’t just pop up every now and then. The average company has 150 software products. This means that if those purchases were evenly distributed, they would have 3 software renewals per week to decide whether they wanted to renew, negotiate, consolidate, or replace. Multiply that by 100+ if you’re talking about a large enterprise.
Too often, teams are stuck in analysis paralysis with too many considerations and no objective data.
When my confounder James and I began to explore the options available for software research, we realized there are plenty of options.
But with all of them, the onus is still on the buyer to interpret a mass of uncorrelated data.
Many buyers initially turn to Gartner reports, magic quadrants, G2 Crowd, and Capterra lists. These are great for getting a broad stroke of the software space.
However, they have no capability data, and aren’t able to tell you insights specific to your business or tech stack. This leaves most of the work to you as the interpreter.
Plus, these software review sites are made profitable by the very softwares they list. In other words, whoever has the most cash will have the highest reviews.
“Maybe the vendors with the most money got that way because they have a good product that was successful?”
Perhaps. But it’s equally probable that VC money put them in a favorable spot on that list, leaving potential buyers guarded as far as who to trust.
For high stakes decisions, consulting firms are often brought in for software selection. They bring industry knowledge, frameworks, and the ability to do the research so that internal resources don’t get tied up.
This can be great, especially if you trust the consultant to do the research and have their knowledge up to date. But the unfortunate reality is that consultants have their own agenda: often go with the software they are most familiar with, or they do research for every client from scratch to get more billable hours.
The fundamental problem is that there is a lack of alignment, as they aren’t necessarily incentivized to get you the best outcome for your business.
As a personal anecdote: I once hired a consulting firm to help me run an RFP process, only to find out months later that there were about 10 more vendors who should have been included in the process who might have been a better fit for our needs.
The current state of software buying is that we are still in the wild west. Each technology leader is required to be an expert in their own technology stack. When they should be leading their business or departments, they are weighed down by tracking their software subscriptions, looking out for software risks, searching for rationalization opportunities and EULA changes, and so much more.
Something needs to change.
In 2018, James and I went to work to find a new way to navigate the software ecosystem. We weren’t looking for just a catalog of what’s available, but a platform that could give us real intelligence and insight.
Since we couldn’t find it, we built it ourselves: a continually updating database of every software product we come across and how it compares with every other software. We call this the Clearfind Research Engine. It was built by rocket scientists (no joke, this stuff is complex!) with one central purpose: to take the guesswork out of software decision making.
At Clearfind, we know Technology leaders are asked to be almost omniscient about software. So, we’ve built a platform that makes you an expert on every software product you have (or want). It notifies you of consolidation opportunities, product swap opportunities, smart renewals, and product risks. It allows you to search for a shortlist of products in the market by the features and integrations you are looking for. Or you can just type in a product name and see how it compares with what you already have.
If you relate to any of the above, we can help. We’ll help you categorize your software into business cases, show you the opportunity in your ecosystem, help you leverage what you have, and buy in the best way possible.
We even have a guarantee - if we don’t identify 3 times our price in savings opportunities, you don’t pay.
Try getting that from Gartner or your consulting firm ;)