Finding the right business software is as easy as pouring time and money into a hole. Or, you can try a new Web service for free and cut to the chase.

Don Fornes, a 33-year-old research analyst who had seen how leading companies approach the problem, dreamed up RiverGuide for Construction Software and launched it in mid July. It is a software selection resource for companies in the $250 million and under revenue range. See it at

Networking. Fornes lets users weigh in
(Photo by Lauren Mullins)

"It's tremendous," says Steve Kuhn, president of industry consulting firm Integrity Construction Services, Franklin, Tenn. "You would normally have to go to every individual website and deal with sales reps. This helps me compare stuff side-by-side."

A questionnaire narrows choices for accounting, project management, estimating, human resources and payroll software, all of which is shown with extensive product information. Fornes solicits data from vendors, who pay for referrals, but digs into hundreds of features for good comparisons.

Then the social networking kicks in. Users and vendors alike contribute comments and ratings and whitepapers to the easily navigated site. "We do it without the bias of a single analyst. We get the biases of hundreds," Fornes says. "You start to see who has really got what you are looking for."