B2B Connection

Information and resources for technology buyers

2024 B2B Buying Disconnect Report: The Year of the Brand Crisis by Kristi Gamboni
B2B Review Sites Are Losing Buyer Confidence. Introducing Buyer Intelligence. by Vinay Bhagat

Application Performance Management (APM) tools help IT administrators ensure that the enterprise applications that employees use to do their jobs deliver a quality user experience and meet defined performance standards or KPIs. Not only do APM platforms indicate that there are slowdowns or other performance problems, but they can determine the root causes of these problems. APM tools have traditionally been purchased by the IT department to ensure that applications are running smoothly and efficiently. However, APM is increasingly being used by product development teams as well. Software Development and the DevOps Revolution The days of software developers throwing finished, debugged code over the wall to the operations team are over. Traditionally, it was the job of the operations team to ensure that the newly developed software runs smoothly in the data center. While this approach was common in the waterfall era, now that most software is built using much more iterative agile methodologies, the wall dividing developers and operations staff has largely crumbled. The DevOps revolution, built on the idea of continuous development and collaboration of customers, product management, developers, and QA is an extension of agile development methodologies. DevOps is an acknowledgement that clean and debugged code is […]

What are Application Performance Management (APM) tools? APM tools are any type of software that help you manage and monitor the performance of your code, application dependencies, transaction times, and user experiences. APM platforms typically contain a range of different capabilities. Standard capabilities of these products include digital experience monitoring, application discovery, tracing and diagnostics, application analytics, and AI for IT operations. Below we’ll define each capability. Digital Experience Monitoring The experience of application performance and availability whether by a human or a digital agent is the bedrock of APM. Tools must be able to monitor and troubleshoot application performance from the perspective of user experience. Application Discovery, Tracing, and Diagnostics These are the core APM services providing the most value to customers. The APM tools should be capable of discovering the application topology—a map of the layout of mission-critical applications in an enterprise, how applications are connected, how they can be accessed by various computers and networks, and how they are currently performing from an availability perspective. Tracing refers to a technique for monitoring microservice environments. When apps comprise many different microservices, figuring out the source of slowdowns is much more complex. Tracing, or “distributed request tracing”, is an […]

Today’s Community Contributor is Chris Hyde, a software QA lead who has extensive experience with test architecture, test suite/case management, and test direction for multiple projects. His former development experience helps with understanding how to componentize major test efforts into testable units for both manual and automated test solutions. Check out his reviews on Sauce Labs and JIRA here. Why you should use automated testing This is one of the hottest subjects in software development and testing today. What is automation? How much should I automate? What do I automate? How do I fit this into my development cycle? This is a topic that raises myriad questions. The first thing to understand is what is (and should be) automated testing? Let’s be clear that automated testing is not intended to replace human, senior, skilled testers. These people are very adept at using their experience to root out tests and test scenarios that are often overlooked. Automated testing can be technically defined as transforming a test from manually-executed to run by a machine. This is often done via various automated test frameworks available in the market and by integrating tools like Saucelabs for cross-browser testing. Knowing what automated testing is defined […]

Application Performance Management (APM) and Network Performance Monitoring (NPM) look quite similar at first and have misleadingly similar acronyms. Both of these technologies are designed to ensure that IT infrastructure runs smoothly and efficiently. But they are quite different disciplines and use completely different technology. What is Application Performance Management? APM tools are software applications that help IT administrators ensure that the enterprise applications that employees use to do their jobs every day deliver a quality user experience and meet defined performance standards or KPIs. It is not enough to understand that there are performance problems. APM can determine the detailed reasons for performance problems. How does APM Work? Most APM products comprise several different agents for data collection: An application agent is installed on the server running the application and it sends performance data back to the controller. It collects data on non-normal behavior and analyzes the data to understand the business impact. The software looks at things like RAM and CPU usage, response times, traffic spikes, availability, and uptime. An end-user agent collects performance data from end user machines and gives insight into how an application is performing from an end-user perspective. A database agent looks for slow-running […]

Phone calls and emails have been the two main business communication methods for decades. But companies are increasingly using other technology, like video conferencing and instant messaging applications, to help serve their daily communications needs.  Voice communication, using either traditional private branch exchange (PBX) telephones or VoIP technology, and business email aren’t going anywhere. But the use of other types of digital communication software is expanding. For enterprise companies using multiple types of communication software, consolidating all their communication technology under one platform may be the best move. But for smaller businesses only using one or two of these applications, transitioning to a unified communications as a service (UCaaS) platform may be overwhelming and too expensive for their organization.  Is VoIP being swallowed by UCaaS? The short answer to the question ‘is VoIP being swallowed by UCaaS’ is no. But the larger story does involve the integration of the two. VoIP technology, which allows users to make voice calls over the internet rather than using traditional PBX phone systems or cellular data, is part of the underlying technology supporting UCaaS platforms. UCaaS platforms typically encompass four main capability areas: Voice/VoIP Meeting solutions (including audio and video conferencing) Team collaboration (e.g. […]

Marketers have a ton of digital tools at their disposal. But when those tools don’t automatically work with each other, it can feel like you are taking steps sideways for every step forward.  “From our own proprietary CRM, to our B2C email database to our B2B marketing automation platform, to event marketing software, our tech stack is fairly fragmented,” explains one TrustRadius user, a Director of Marketing. This fragmentation can create large gaps in customer information and communication when left unaddressed.  That’s where iPaaS software comes in. iPaaS solutions enable marketers to get all their separate tools — no matter the environment — to work together seamlessly. iPaaS products like Zapier and IFTTT let you set sequences for triggers in one application and resulting actions in a different application. “Zapier is a great product if you have a fragmented tech stack like ours. Most marketing teams have multiple software tools that get customer information. Zapier is a great tool for connecting those without using developer resources,” further explains the same user.  Along with Zapier, many TrustRadius users explore how IFTTT can reduce divisions in their stack. These two products support marketers to automate their workflows, streamline their data, and receive […]

Your data is invaluable to your business. That’s why you need to feel confident that you have your critical data securely backed up.  With the increasing complexity of data management and recovery, legacy systems cannot efficiently (or cost-effectively) keep up with your transforming business. You may need data backup and recovery systems that offer multi-tenant needs, unlimited scalability, AWS and VMware integrations and more. When searching for new data center backup software, we often see customers exploring Cohesity and Rubrik reviews. Both are Top Rated solutions and can be seen side by side quickly on our Cohesity vs Rubrik comparison page.  If you want a more in-depth look at the differences between the two, we take a deeper look at these powerful data backup and recovery solutions. Using Data Center Backup and Recovery Solutions Data center backup software allows companies to provide business continuity and ensure that data will not be lost in case of emergency.  Natural disasters, hackers and ransomware all present serious risks to businesses that need to keep their data safe. Data center backup systems provide an extra layer of insurance against the threat of data loss or holdup.  Whereas legacy systems often rely on multiple point […]

Today, we’re proud to announce the new Buyer’s Guide to VoIP Providers. It includes product profile summaries for 7 popular VoIP solutions, in-depth comparison charts, and information about how to tell if your company should start out with a voice solution or if it’s ready for a broader solution like a UCaaS platform.  Why is VoIP Important? Voice communication, whether using traditional landline phones, mobile phones, or voice over IP (VoIP), has been a standard mode of business communication for decades. Rather than being overcome by other forms of digital communication like video calls or instant messaging, voice calls are still an incredibly popular and effective way to get in touch with people.  One reason for this is that VoIP offers an affordable way for small and midsize businesses to set up a professional yet secure business phone system. Most VoIP solutions nowadays are also cloud-based, or have cloud deployment options available, and are therefore extremely mobile as well. Users can install VoIP applications on their mobile phones, tablets, or laptops and be able to place a voice call from anywhere that has a strong internet connection.  This also makes VoIP software an ideal solution for larger businesses with highly […]

If you’re a fan of Brooklyn 99 like I am, you know there’s only one thing that could make Amy Santiago late: a line at the bank! This popular cold open reflected a universal cultural stereotype: working with banks is inconvenient, time-intensive, and can derail even the most prepared customer’s day. With the advent of the digital world, and the demands for accessibility that come with it, it’s a stereotype that financial organizations cannot afford to reflect in reality. Banks are working to make their services more accessible and customer-friendly, and mobile or online banking have already (in my experience) yielded dividends on customer satisfaction. However, a primary obstacle for banks is the prevalence of data silos and duplicated processes between various lines of business within their institution. Breaking down data silos and integrating processes is a crucial step in bringing financial institutions into the modern customer-centric age. While there are many ways to do so, a key component to integration strategies is using an Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS). What can iPaaS do for the finance industry? In some ways, financial businesses are like any other: they have to create a product or service, market and sell it […]

Anyone who’s worked in education knows that it can be a workplace unlike any other. From the hierarchy to the content to the clientele (students), educational employees encounter unique challenges and opportunities daily. Education is also changing in ways that reflect technological trends across the economy. Academic spaces are increasingly digital, from student information management on campuses to actual digital classrooms and learning content. Just like the broader business world, educational organizations like universities, eLearning companies, and educational management organizations can benefit from integrating their growing software sprawl. Like other businesses, educational organizations don’t all have the IT support to integrate everything in house. Fortunately, Integration Platforms as a Service (iPaaS) can help educational organizations break down internal data silos and automate routine processes to help employees focus on the work that matters. If you think your education organization could benefit from better integration, but don’t know where to start, you’re in luck! Others in your industry have already adopted various iPaaS offerings for their organizations. We’ve compiled data of iPaaS users from educational organizations that have reviewed their products on TrustRadius, and we now have some key takeaways on the top iPaaS products for education. These insights can help […]

Today’s community contributor is Derek Schroeder. He has been working in IT and specifically in the MSP market for over 15 years. He has extensive experience in the small-to-medium business management market and has been consulting on technology and solutions for much of his career. He has worked as an entry level engineer to a service manager of clients and teams of engineers as well as project management. He has an expertise background in IT security and email / collaboration systems and has embraced many of the Barracuda products to achieve those milestones. He has written many business software reviews on TrustRadius. ______________________________________________________________________________ It seems like every website or domain host has an email hosting service to offer. There are a few flavors and types of hosts, and they are not created equal. While Microsoft’s Office 365 is the most recognizable (and fastest growing), Google’s G Suite is still a very popular option. Intermedia should not be counted out as another vendor offering email hosting for a relatively low cost option. Intermedia Intermedia is simply a hosted Microsoft Exchange system. Intermedia overlays its own interface and gives end users some options to customize. This is the same system that companies […]

Today’s Community Contributor is Eric Hodge, Software Engineering Manager at Waters Corporation. He is a Certified Scrum Master and has written several detailed reviews on TrustRadius of the tools he uses at work. Here, he takes a look back at his most recent experiencing working with an outsourced Agile team and shares some advice on how he made their partnership a success. Choosing the Right Outsourcing Partner and Knowing When to Re-Evaluate At the start of our software development project, I selected a team whose statement of work said all the right things about Agile, while having a good mix of technical skills. At our first sprint planning meeting, however, it became apparent that the team, while technically competent, had no formal Agile experience. Sprint planning quickly turned into a crash course in Agile 101, and we were off to a rough start. After a couple of weeks of playing the roles of Agile Coach, Product Owner, and Scrum Master, I realized the project could not continue like this. I had previously raised my concerns about the lack of Agile experience to my colleague managing the business relationship, so I was well supported when I decided to cut ties and move on to […]

It can be difficult to feel like you’re getting a straight answer from salespeople. The image of a sleazy car salesman has been haunting salespeople for decades now, and it makes it difficult for buyers to feel like they’re getting the whole truth from vendors. Still, vendors are the experts on their own products, and they have valuable insights if you know how to get to them. Towards that end, we’ve already created a list of questions buyers can use to grill any software sales rep as part of our Evaluation Readiness Guide. Now we’re providing a list of questions tailored for the Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) buyer. The question list is organized to help get insight into either the product itself or the vendor and their positioning within the marketplace. But before you talk to the vendor, be sure to do your homework! What to Know Before the Call Before you talk to the vendor, you want to know as much as possible about iPaaS in general, and specifically about what features and capabilities you need in an iPaaS. It’s also important to know what you don’t need in your iPaaS so you don’t end up paying […]

Today’s Community Contributor is Kenneth Hess, Community Manager Enable SysAdmin at Red Hat.  Kenneth’s technical expertise is in web hosting, virtualization, and open source operating systems and technologies. He has several years of experience in technology blogging and journalism. He has written several detailed reviews on TrustRadius of the tools he uses at work. Here, Kenneth shares his insight on the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) trend, which was initially tough on employees and on corporations who kept trying to get it right. Now, employees and businesses enjoy BYOD environments that work for both parties. The bring your own device (BYOD) trend is not new in technology terms. The practice began just after smartphones hit the market in the 2009/2010 timeframe and employees insisted that they use their personally owned devices rather than corporate ones.  BYOD advantages and disadvantages The arguments for BYOD are that employees can be more efficient by using familiar technology and can be happier using technology that they have chosen for themselves. Employees already carry their mobile phones with them and almost no one wants to carry a second device. Business owners counter arguments include security concerns with personal devices, lack of control over technology choices, mixing of personal […]

Today’s Community Contributor is Peter Iles, Director of Instructional Technology at Wisconsin Lutheran High School in Milwaukee, WI. He has been involved in implementing and utilizing technology in the classroom for 8 years. Schools across America are all speeding towards 1:1. In less than 10 years Chromebooks have gone from non-existent, to the majority device in schools in the country. I know this because I was the first teacher to implement them in a small school in Oshkosh, WI in 2011. Since then, I’ve worked with Google and other companies to make devices like Chromebooks more powerful tools and not just glorified notebooks. Currently, I teach and serve as the Director of Instructional Technology at Wisconsin Lutheran High School in Milwaukee, WI. In my experience, the services and tools a school provides on Chromebooks are just as important as the devices themselves. My requirements for a great teaching tool are that it has to do one of two things. 1. It has to make student learning more effective.  2. It has to make teaching more effective or efficient.  When it does both, you have a slam dunk! Here are my favorite services for teaching in the Chromebook classroom. Peergrade Peergrade […]

How long do you flirt with a new piece of enterprise tech before you dive into a committed relationship?  Integration platform as a service (iPaaS) isn’t exactly disruptive, but it has meant that both enterprises with legacy architecture and major software vendors have had to figure out where it fits in. In terms of market growth, it seems to be fitting in nicely.  iPaaS is no longer the new kid on the block — it’s a growing software category around the world. But how and why is the global iPaaS market growing? In this post, we cover the trends that buyers should be familiar with as they consider an iPaaS solution. From critical acquisitions to surprising numbers, we discuss into the most important elements you need to know about the growing global iPaaS market.  Along the way, we want to answer two questions: what does the global market growth look like and what does it mean?  Why all the buzz on iPaaS?  As with any piece of software, iPaaS has grown in popularity because it addresses the particular needs of the modern enterprise.  iPaaS is distinct from other SaaS and PaaS solutions because it solves the problem these solutions have […]

We live in a world where our refrigerators have been talking to our phones for years, so shouldn’t our business systems talk to each other as well? While the business value of integration tools, such as Integration Platforms as a Service (iPaaS), are apparent (read this if they’re not yet or if you’re not clear what an iPaaS is), knowing which iPaaS is best for you is much more complicated. If you’re not sure what to look for in the myriad iPaaS available, here’s the top 10 self-evaluation questions to ask yourself to determine what you need. These questions revolve around 3 key areas: You, Your Tech Ecosystem, and Your Data. You These are the eagle-eye questions to ask yourself to solidify what you want out of an iPaaS and the people who will be using the platform. The answers will serve as the background for more effectively exploring the rest of the questions. 1. What do you want to do with an iPaaS above all else? When in doubt, start with the basics. What’s the key function that you envision your iPaaS performing? Understanding what the key value proposition for iPaaS is for you helps drill down into the […]

Today’s Community Contributor is Benjamin Plotkin, Technical Project Manager at California State University, Northridge.  Benjamin has managed software development teams and IT projects for more than 20 years, and has held additional IT and technologies roles throughout his career. He has written several detailed reviews on TrustRadius of the tools he uses at work. Here, Benjamin shares his experience and advice for completing an on-premise to cloud migration. “The Cloud” — a phrase that is, at turns, both idyllic and ominous. Clouds can be fluffy and fun, or dark and foreboding (reports of silver linings remain, at present, unverified).  Will “The Cloud” solve your data center infrastructure problems, or will it “lift and shift” them into a remote and confusing new paradigm? Wikipedia defines cloud computing as the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage and computing power, without direct active management by the user.  But you knew that already, right? In fact, if you’re reading this article, it’s probably because you’re considering jumping on the cloud bandwagon.  Your timing is great, because you have a plethora of vendors to choose from. Popular services include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM Cloud (and this is, […]

We are excited to announce the Top Rated Prototyping Tools for 2019! Top Rated awards showcase today’s top-of-the-line products in Prototyping Tools based solely on positive user feedback and satisfaction scores. These awards make the voice of the market the primary decider into the industry’s best products. Top Rated awards are the most trusted in the industry because they are never influenced by analyst opinion, the vendor’s size, popularity, or status as a TrustRadius customer. Here are the winners: InVision Invision is a design and prototyping platform. Its layered, vector-based drawing interface lets users create and customize their designs. It includes a timeline view for customizable animations and in-window animation previews. The tool also supports mobile layouts and gestures. Review, commenting, and collaboration tools help teams brainstorm, give feedback, and sign off on finished designs.  A little over a third (35%) of InVision users on TrustRadius are from midsize companies. Reviewers value InVision’s depth of interaction choices, granular inspection tools, and robust collaboration features. “It is a great collaboration tool, where our clients, developers and [ux]—designers can mark out thoughts at any point of the project and respond and share their opinions. I love that I can hand off the […]

**This post was updated on October 9, 2019 to reflect recent changes in the Server Virtualization industry** We are excited to announce the Top Rated Server Virtualization Software for 2019! Top Rated awards showcase today’s top-of-the-line product in Server Virtualization Software based solely on positive user feedback and satisfaction scores. These awards make the voice of the market the primary decider into the industry’s best products. Top Rated awards are the most trusted in the industry because they are never influenced by analyst opinion, the vendor’s size, popularity, or status as a TrustRadius customer. So without further ado… Here are the winners: Scale Computing HC3 Scale Computing HC3 is a server virtualization platform that integrates server, storage and virtualization into a single appliance. HC3 features self-healing tools that automatically identify and fix issues in the infrastructure without downtime. Simplified browser based management reduces the time spent managing the IT interface. Unlike some competitors, Scale Computing HC3 users pay no virtualization software license fees and have no external storage to buy. Most (74%) Scale Computing HC3 users on TrustRadius are from mid-sized companies. Users consistently appreciate that Scale Computing H3’s integrated solution replaces several stand alone solutions, thereby reducing costs.  “We […]