Question #1. How Were the Estimations Developed?
We began by performing detailed research into cost and duration factors for our beginning sample of 57 applications and 33 software vendors. This research was a blend of personal implementation experience as well as discussions with buyers that had purchased and implemented each application. From this we created our proprietary and original research, which uses a series of uplifts that increases the cost and duration of different applications per different software category based upon adjustments to how the software is planned to be implemented. This has all been placed into our self service calculates allowing for unprecedented ease of simulation of different scenarios and their impact on costs and timelines. This is currently the only research database of its kind that we are aware of.
The Benefits of Specialization
Our database benefits from having a wide range of applications across 10 different software categories. While there is never a perfectly accurate estimation, and there are some factors that we cannot account for (and which in some instances can be estimated as part of our service offering) because of the extensive research we have performed, we will put our estimates against anyone’s.
Our Expertise and Time Commitment to the Subject Matter
Many of the areas we have quantified, no one else has quantified, much less put in a self service form allowing buyers to calculate their costs, durations, etc. for themselves. For instance, we evaluated applications for risk using a model that has been honed over many applications using both application and vendor risk criteria. Our uplifts to time and costs change dependent upon the size of the implementation and provide SaaS versus on premises comparisons for applicable software. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the specialized analysis that we offer.
Question 2: Why Don’t We Simply Create the Estimations Ourselves or with Help from our Consulting Partner?
Why Buy This Research?
Software Decisions has significantly more expertise in quantitative estimation than any other entity. Our self service estimations are based our proprietary original research, which is the largest and most validated database of enterprise software in the world. We created this database because we knew that the one off approach to enterprise software estimation is costly and inefficient.
The Efficiency Issue
When a project manager within buyers is tasked with developing estimations, each project manager at each buyer must redo a similar analysis. Project managers are generally not given the time to perform a research project and certainly do not compare and contrast their estimations across multiple software categories and the applications within the category. Often they cannot know pricing – without entering into a lengthy and time consuming sales process with software vendors.
We have also pre-evaluated vendor statements through our research – so we know the typical implementation time line for each of the products based upon real implementations – something which is also not available to buyers through interacting with either IT analysts, software vendors or consulting firms. While buyers can and do attempt to perform similar types of estimations, it is not anywhere close to as cost effective, nor will the quality or accuracy be as high as if you use our self service calculators. Our self-service calculators are resident within our web pages, and can infinitely adjust specifically to the way you intend to implement the software.
Consulting companies charge weeks of billable hours in addition to travel expenses for what we provide – with far higher accuracy, research capability and zero bias for several hundred dollars per analytical product package. Software Decisions offers our unique research in a self-service form, no other available alternative offers either the quality or the cost effectiveness of our analytical products.
Question 3: How Do We Know if Software Decisions is Biased?
The question of bias and influence should be asked of every media outlet. Commentators routinely come on to news programs and without declaring their associations, provide commentary on entities for which they have a financial relationship. During the Gulf wars almost everyone of the ex-Generals that came on to news programs had some ongoing financial relationship with the Pentagon – and their positive portrayal of the war generally helped them continue to gain contracts. Conflicts of interest are supposed to be declares, and if they are not, then the source cannot be considered to be as serious research entity. This problem is rampant with IT analysts with most of them being both buy and sell side. Gartner declares none of its financial conflicts of interests even though we estimate around 30% of its overall revenues come from software vendors – with a disproportionate share coming from the largest software vendors.
How We Work
Our research into financial bias demonstrates that the most important bias to account for is financial bias. Software Decisions takes no compensation in any shape or form from software vendors. This means we are 100% buy side. This should be somewhat evident from our Honest Vendor Ratings and in our MUFI (Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability) Rating & Risk where we provide in some cases critical analysis of vendors and applications – something Gartner or Forrester could never do – as if you criticize customers, they won’t be customers for long.
Therefore, we can confidently put our objectivity against any other source. This includes IT analyst, and any consulting company. In fact, the competition is not even close. Every entity we have evaluated in the enterprise software space has considerable bias. For
Question #4: Why Are Many of the Analytical Products Limited to a 2 Month Access?
Time Limit Logic
We do not have any specific publication dates or update frequency on our analytical products. They can be updated at any time as new information comes through or as we complete new research. Therefore, the two month limit on our analytical products allows you to fully experience the product, while compensating us as we update it as time passes.
Most but not all of our analytical products are actually calculators. We periodically refine the formulas as we learn new information. We may even choose to add new fields, or add extra explanations as we receive feedback from our customers. Our concept new information can continually improve the accuracy of our calculations and estimations.