The missing element in software product reviews
If you are involved in technology in just about any capacity, you have probably had the need to evaluate software solutions. Most go out to the internet to find product reviews. Many of the reviews are similar with regards to the metrics they use, and most if not all evaluate and focus on the cost and functionality of the solutions. In my experience reading reviews, I have found one metric to be conspicuously absent in just about every case, and that is complexity of the solution. The complexity of installation, maintenance and use.
Think about all of the solutions that you have interacted with. Where there was frustration, what was the source of that frustration? Yes, there was “I wish it could do this or that”, but by and large the main frustration was always centered on using the solution, and accessing the things that you regularly use. If you are an administrator, it was on installing, upgrading and maintaining the solution.
So why do reviewers infrequently include complexity in their reviews? My opinion is that if they did, many if not all of the vendor solutions would be rated poorly. Why include a metric that most of the vendors are going to rate poorly on. So the reviewers simply skip this metric.
I have blogged a number of times about the complexity of software solutions, and more specifically about network monitoring and management solutions. There appears to be little effort on the part of software vendors to change their architectural approaches to address the complexity of their solutions. Perhaps if reviewers began rating vendor solutions on this metric, it just might encourage vendors to pay a little attention to the complexity of their solutions.
One of the reasons that Vallum Software was founded was to address the pervasive complexity that is found with network monitoring and management vendor solutions. We believe that we have succeeded, but you be the judge. You can download a fully functional version of our solution from our website. We welcome your comments.
About the Author:
Lance Edelman is a technology professional with 25+ years of experience in enterprise software, security, document management and network management. He is co-founder and CEO at Vallum Software and currently lives in Atlanta, GA.