4 ways to simplify your search for a new product or service

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IT is a huge industry, with worldwide spending over $3.7 trillion as of 2013.  In a market that big, how do you find the perfect fit for your needs?

Fortunately for all of us, IT research is a big part of the technology market.  Analysts, journalists, and other industry experts put a lot of effort into anticipating your questions and cultivating the information that you need to make a decision.   With so many products and so much advertising, how do you choose a solution?  That's what we're going to talk about today.

Let's start with industry analysts.  Research companies like Gartner and Forrester evaluate technology vendors and their solutions.  This information is often superimposed over larger concepts, such as industry leadership, marketplace vision, and so on.  Gartner Magic Quadrants, for example, offer a graphical representation of competition in a particular technology market.   You can see examples of Magic Quadrants and MarketScopes here.

Industry analysts generally cater to the enterprise market and they have different ways of organizing their research. Some of the research will focus on market sizing, such as the IDC Content Security tracker and the IDC PBBA tracker. Others are based on enterprise feedback. Gartner Magic Quardrants and Infotech Vendor Landscapes fall into this category.

Their reports can be expensive, which makes them less accessible to companies with smaller budgets.  The results of the reports usually make the media, so you can still get the results of the research through blogs, press releases, and other reporting.

Product reviews are a good source of information if you are looking to solve a specific problem.  For example, if you know you are going to purchase a backup device, you might check out this Storage Review article to learn more about the Barracuda Backup 890.  This article is pretty thorough, including details on features, technical specs, pricing, and more.  This SC Magazine Five-Star review on our Web Application Firewall is not as detailed, but offers a rating system on qualities such as features, ease of use, performance, documentation, and more. 

Unlike analyst information, product reviews are usually the result of a hands-on evaluation of the product.  Here's where you'll find out what people really think about the installation, configuration, out-of-the-box experience, etc.

Industry awards can also help you make a decision.  This isn't usually a starting point, but can help you focus your research.  If you are just looking for the best option among a few vendors, then an industry award might put one of them over the top.

Industry awards are based on different methodologies, depending on the organization.  Some are based on readers' choice (or resellers' choice), some are based on peer review, and some are based on how well a product, service, or program meets certain criteria.  Every organization has its own way of doing things, but will usually provide the award criteria on the website or through a media contact.

When you're doing your research, don't forget to check buyers guides.  These guides are a great place to start if you are new to a piece of technology.  Guides usually include a background on the technology and why certain features are important. 

These are just a few of the ways you can simplify your search for new technology.  You can also try word-of-mouth, technology forums, social media, and good old-fashioned search engines.  If you have questions about Barracuda solutions, you'll find a ton of information here in our news section, our tech library, and blog.  You can also contact us if you need information on any of our products, or click here to order a risk-free 30-day demo unit.

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