Local software directory launched

A new directory launched this month aims to provide organizations large and small with the premier business software listing service in Australia.

The Australian Business Software Directory, a subsidiary of the twenty-month-old software-consulting agency Software Choice, claims to be the largest single source of its kind in Australia. It currently lists details of 655 vendors representing 1068 products, which range in function from accounting, to engineering and design, to databases and operating systems.

"It's something that I really believe we need to have," said Meredith Thompson, director of Software Choice and one of its two current employees.

"I couldn't find any [other Australian directories] that covered all industries, all market sectors, and, more importantly, that list everyone, regardless of whether they want to pay for advertising or not."

Access to the directory is free for businesses in search of software, as well as for software vendors. Most of the current product listings were taken from Software Choice's consulting database, but the company soon hopes to start attracting more vendors through search engine marketing and media coverage.

The directory is searchable by keyword, industry, business size and software type. According to Thompson, a well-executed search typically yields about 10 to 15 results. Consumers can then either sort through these options on their own, or have them evaluated by Software Choice's consulting service for a fee.

"The purpose of the directory is not to help [businesses] choose; it's just so that they know what's there," Thompson said. "My philosophy is that there's the right software for the right business. The first step is finding out what's available - there are a lot of ways to evaluate it beyond that."

Several more features are currently in the works. Within the next three months, vendors will be able to log in and maintain their own listings, and those who opt to pay for upgraded listings will be given more space for images, event listings, white papers, and product brochures. By December, the directory will incorporate a Wiki-type community portal and advanced search options, including flags that allow businesses to search specifically for open source software.

"We're really looking for feedback from both vendors and visitors as to what sort of things they would like to see," Thompson said. "We're trying to be very comprehensive without being too cluttered - it's a very hard line to follow sometimes."

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