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Bureau van Dijk to Launch ORBIS Multi-File Searching
Posted On September 23, 2002
Bureau van Dijk (BvD;, a leading European business information search service, will launch a trial version of its new ORBIS service in mid-October. The new offering will allow single-screen searches across the entire range of BvD databases, which cover 10 million companies worldwide. It will replace the SUITE Search option that BvD initiated a few years ago. SUITE Search let users select the databases they wanted scanned, while ORBIS will cover all the Internet-based databases from BvD and offer an integrated, full-system scan on every search. According to James Pearson, BvD's U.S. sales manager, the company expects a full launch of ORBIS before November 1.

Dominique Carnoy, a director at BvD, said: "With ORBIS we have taken the concept of the BvD SUITE one step further. ORBIS is a product in its own right providing flexible, targeted retrieval of relevant data from a huge amount of information in a wide variety of formats."

BvD collects business data from more than 40 information providers that specialize in unique regions and/or disciplines. The ORBIS service will combine information from the following BvD databases: AIDA, AMADEUS, BANKSCOPE, BEL-FIRST, DIANE, FAME, ICARUS, ISIS, JADE, MARKUS, NOMINUS, OSIRIS, REACH, SABI, SCANNED REPORTS, and ZEPHYR. (A handful of very specialized datasets in BvD will remain outside the ORBIS service.) Overall, the service will offer worldwide coverage of the following:

  • 25,000 listed companies
  • More than 11,000 banks and 5,100 insurance companies
  • 8 million European companies from 34 countries
  • 1.4 million public and private U.S. companies
  • More than 110,000 public and private Japanese companies
ORBIS will combine the data to offer detailed company financials (including "as reported"), scanned images, marketing information, peer and country reports, news, and ratings. Searchers can gain access through a broad range of options—company name, ticker symbol, industry, status, ownership, size (by sales, total assets, etc.), and free text in news articles—combining search elements as they choose. A variety of report formats will allow users to select the appropriate level of detail and standardization that suits their research needs. The one-screen search format should serve end-user needs best, but an expert option supports advanced searching.

The ORBIS interface will operate across all files. For example, if a searcher sets up a series of parameters for a search, some of which tap into databases he or she does not subscribe to, the ORBIS interface will report back all the data available by type and database. Although ORBIS's primary advantage lies in its multi-file searching, users still have the option to switch to individual product modules with more detailed search and analysis features. This will allow users to reach the unique data fields in individual data sources.

According to Pearson, ORBIS's main interface will always display all the results of a search across the full system. However, users may choose the files from which they want results displayed—e.g., those for which the user already has authenticated, unlimited subscription access. Pearson says that the ORBIS interface will operate in three primary modes:

  • Subscribers with unlimited access can use ORBIS as their primary interface to the complete BvD service.
  • Users of the pay-per-view option who have pre-purchased a package of "credits" with which to buy reports can utilize ORBIS to locate the most desirable reports.
  • Subscribers to selected databases can use ORBIS as a platform to tap the content of all BvD databases in identifying companies of interest, while perhaps limiting reports to files for which they have authenticated, pre-paid access.
Clearly, the ORBIS system will encourage searchers to reach outside their favorite BvD databases and expand usage. Subscribers to selected files may start to open up a credit line for purchases outside their subscriptions. (In contrast, under BvD SUITE, subscribers may have gotten into the habit of only cross-file searching subscription files. In ORBIS, they have to see what they're missing.) Pay-per-view buyers may use up their credit line faster and turn to unlimited subscriptions. However, Pearson pointed out that some searchers might use the ORBIS interface to find companies and then turn to non-BvD files for follow-up.

BvD prices are based on unlimited or subscription access as well as on a pay-as-you-go model. According to Suzanne Clare from BvD's marketing communications department: "ORBIS can be accessed either through Bureau van Dijk's pay-per-view credit system or through an unlimited-access annual subscription. The minimum purchase level for credits is $5,000. Unlimited access to ORBIS for 1 year for one concurrent user is $120,000." Marketing of ORBIS will focus on corporate information departments, financial researchers and analysts, consulting organizations, business development, and marketing departments.

Barbara Quint was senior editor of Online Searcher, co-editor of The Information Advisor’s Guide to Internet Research, and a columnist for Information Today.

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