Software Categorization

Software ProvidersCategorization Methodology | Standard Definitions

Making G2 Crowd research relevant and easy for people to use as they evaluate and select business software products is one of our most important goals. In support of that goal, organizing products and software companies in a well-defined structure that makes capturing, evaluating and displaying reviews and other research in an orderly manner is a critical part of the research process.

Categorization Methodology

To manage the process of categorizing the software products and the related reviews in the G2 community, the following methodology is followed:

1. Basic Product Guidelines:
In order to be reviewed and available in the G2 community a software product must be:
  • Associated to a specific software vendor or an open source project
  • Available for access and use, either from a customer accessible distribution medium and install process on some premises, or as a cloud or hosted service. The actual license of the software to the user organization can be a traditional perpetual, open source, some form of a term, metered or other limited use license.
  • Categorized into at least one category or subcategory heading based on the function(s) of the software (features), and not based on what the software is used for or who uses it. Many products could be used for purposes other than those that they were specifically designed for, but that subsequent use does not change the categorization of the product. For example, project management software’s functional design is to provide the features necessary to manage the work and resources associated with planning and executing a project. Projects take many forms though, and you could use the software equally well to manage the construction of a bridge or track the maintenance of a factory. The software is still project management software in each case, and not bridge construction software nor factory maintenance software. It might integrate to other systems to help accomplish those activities more effectively, but the software remains categorized as “project management”.
2. Pre-Integrated Product Suites:
Some products are available bundled as a suite of pre-integrated products. Suite products will be categorized in the following ways:
  • If the bundled products are only available in the bundle (are not priced or sold individually by the vendor), then the entire bundle will be placed in a single category that is appropriate for that bundled set of functionality only.
  • If the bundled products can be purchased as a bundle and as an individual module, then each product (module that is sold / licensed individually by the vendor) will be placed in an appropriate category by module function. In addition G2 Crowd may choose to provide a higher-level category that represents the complete bundle / suite at its discretion, based on generally accepted market understanding and use.
3. Compound Products:
Products that have the capability to be used in several different categories based on product configuration or a broad set of features (referred to as a compound product), can either be treated as a platform on which custom solutions are developed (and placed in an appropriate category for that type of platform), categorized by its most commonly recognized set of features into a single category, or included in more than one category at G2 Crowd’s discretion. (Note: These products are different from a product that is used for a function other than what it was originally designed or can be used for other functions outside of its generally intended purpose without unique configuration.) For compound products, reviews will be added to the category that most closely matches the function(s) specifically identified by the reviewer.
4. All-In-One Products
Products that are sold as an individual product, but have the capabilities that cover features of several different categories. These products differ from compound products in that they have generally have less robust features for each category than products dedicated to that category. These products usually target the SMB market with a single tool that provides a breadth of features. All-in-one products will be categorized only in the appropriate All-in-one categories, as these products are packaged and sold as an all-in-one product and used by users in such a way.
5. Company Size Product Segmentation:
In addition to categorization by function, products will also be evaluated for, labeled by and have the capability to be segmented by the appropriateness for use by company size and broken into 3 groups. The evaluation will include looking at vendor intent, market perception, market share by company size if available, reviews and other information that may be available. The subsequent decision though, is at the description of G2 Crowd. This segmentation does not change the categorization, but does provide the capability to display “like” products in a category based on target company size. The three categories are:
  • Generally appropriate and most often used by small and medium businesses (below $1B in total annual revenue)
  • Generally appropriate and most often used by large businesses ($1B and higher total annual revenue)
  • Generally appropriate and used across all businesses regardless of company size
6. Acquired Products:
Acquired products would remain categorized as originally assessed and the company name would be adjusted to the acquirer (or other naming / branding as established by the acquiring vendor), unless the acquired product is incorporated into another product as a feature / function and not available as a separate SKU under the new ownership. All reviews will follow the product. All changes to acquired products and companies occur after the acquisition officially closes.
7. Vertical Product Categories:
Vertical products are products that are developed for use in a specific industry vertical to execute a unique process or set of processes, and cannot be used by companies that are not in that industry without significant customization. These products are, in other words, unique to the respective industry. Other software that could be used in the vertical but is based on horizontal software like financial accounting or procurement, even if the software has some tailoring to make it more industry relevant, would not be included in the vertical product categories, but instead with its respective functional category.
8. Composite Categories:
From time to time it is necessary to create a new category that is effectively the combination of some of the products and /or features from an identifiable set of other categories. These new composite categories will be clearly defined and will not impact the underlying category structure. Instead they will operate in conjunction to the original product categories.
9. Categorization Inquiries:
Questions and / or challenges to the categorization of a product can be submitted to G2 Crowd and will be evaluated on an individual basis, with a decision communicated in a reasonable amount of time. The above categorization methodology will be applied to all inquiries and the reviewer will include a thorough review of any evidence or information provided by the individual / company filing the question.

Notes:

Company size categorization is based on this chart:

Company Size Number of Employees
Small Total number of employees 50 or fewer
Medium Total number of employees between 51 and 1000
Enterprise Total number of employees greater than 1000

From a software buying and use behavior perspective many departments of enterprise companies can and do perform in many of the same ways as small and medium businesses. Many departments or divisions have the authority to purchase, deploy and operate their own software based on specific needs, and simply roll up data to the corporate systems as needed. Cloud software is making this behavior more prevalent as it removes the need for the division / department to provide and operate its own infrastructure.

5/13/16 – Added definition for all-in-one products.

Future changes and updates to this policy will be made in the body text and a change note will be included in the notes footer.