Why Product Reviews are More Important than Ever in Enterprise Tech

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Scrabble letter tiles spelling product review

The purchase of an enterprise technology product involves the outlay of a great deal of money and an equally large-scale expenditure of effort by people who want to make sure they’re making the right buying decision. When a Fortune 500 corporation acquires an $8 million cybersecurity solution, for instance, it wants a high level of confidence that the technology will meet its unique requirements. The buying decision process is almost always done by committee. One person may be tasked with figuring out Return on Investment (ROI), another with the solution’s impact on IT operations and so forth. Each member of the buying committee takes his or her responsibility seriously. Mistakes hurt careers.

The dynamics of the enterprise technology buying process leads stakeholders to seek accurate information about the products on their list of possibilities. In this context, they seldom trust the vendor all that much. Rather, they want the truth. The real truth, the truth that emerges when people can speak freely. That’s what we offer.

IT Central Station is a review site for enterprise technology products, specifically in cybersecurity, DevOps, and IT. We collect reviews from verified IT professionals, most of whom work at large corporations or public sector entities around the world. By visiting our site, prospective buyers of technology discover a diverse array of honest peer feedback on a solution they’re considering. For example, a buyer considering Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) for the identity control aspects of cybersecurity could learn that an engineer at a large communications provider finds “the flexibility to grant anyone access to the network easily and in a secure way is its most valuable feature.” This insight comes from just one of dozens of reviews of the product.

The availability of numerous detailed, probing product reviews by industry peers is driving a change in the way enterprise technology is bought and sold. On the customer side, buyers can now satisfy their need to be well-informed about how products work in the field. They can learn about what went right, and wrong, with a given technology in a real-world setting.

The current COVID moment, too, has led to a surge in the relevance of online reviews in general, and even more so in cyber security. Informal peer-to-peer chats that so many of us enjoyed at tech conferences are on hold for at least another year. The drop off in in-person meetings has corresponded with a big jump in traffic on our site.

For vendors, access to so much rich peer feedback has been transformative. Anyone who has worked in enterprise technology sales and marketing knows that it can be an excruciating experience to convince a client to offer a testimonial or serve as the subject of a case study. The process can take months, involve lawyers and offers of free products and perks. It’s a nightmare, basically. Review sites enable tech sellers to offer literally hundreds of case study attestations of product quality at little or no expense.

We offer vendors a number of different ways to leverage reviews to drive positive sales and marketing outcomes. For example, our PeerPaper offering comprises a customized content about an enterprise technology issue, such as the role of next generation firewalls, using real user experiences to shape the conversation. Our clients have found PeerPapers to be an effective way of engaging with prospects and establishing that their solution can indeed do what they say it will—because they’re now benefitting from unbiased testimonials.

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