In June 2001, Factiva launched its Factiva.com product with much fanfare and after much anticipation. The new Web-based service was designed to replace both Dow Jones Interactive (DJI) and Reuters Business Briefing (RBB). Since then, customers have been gradually migrating over to the new platform. Now, Factiva has announced that it's celebrating the 1-year anniversary of Factiva.com (albeit a few months late) by adding content and functionality enhancements. Included in this release are a new search screen, new language interfaces, company information from D&B and Investext, and upgrades to the News Page feature.
Many of Factiva.com's enhancements are actually features that exist in DJI and RBB. This fulfills Factiva's commitment to implement the best elements of those legacy services in Factiva.com. According to Patricia Sabosik, Factiva's vice president and director of global marketing, customers have helped shape the product since the founding of the joint venture between Dow Jones and Reuters. Factiva listened to what users liked best in each product and what they wanted to see in a merged offering. The company then worked from the customers' priority lists. Factiva has since continued to involve users in testing, benchmarking, and providing feedback.
Factiva.com is now offering integrated access to D&B reports, which encompass more than 36.5 million companies around the world. Factiva.com's flat-fee customers receive D&B's Company Snapshots as part of their subscriptions. The Snapshots include corporate contact information, line of business, and D-U-N-S Number, as well as links to D&B premium reports, which cost extra. The service has also added access to research from Investext that comprises the two most recent reports (in Adobe PDF) of approximately 30,000 companies and 55 industries. Earlier reports are not yet available. The Investext reports are also included in Factiva's flat-fee packages. Access to the D&B and Investext information is embedded in Factiva.com, such as through links that pop up when a user mouses over a company name code.
A new Standard search screen has been added to Factiva.com that lets users easily access the functionality of Factiva Intelligent Indexing within the context of their searches. Users can browse or search the standard indexing terms, then add them to their search with just an easy point and click. Factiva Intelligent Indexing currently includes 740 Industries; 370 Regions; 22 Languages; 430 Subject Terms; and more than 300,000 public and private companies, active and inactive. Using the indexing is an easy way for even novice searchers to greatly improve search accuracy and precision. This is a feature derived from RBB that provides users with access to the RBB taxonomy, a smaller list of indexing terms. The new Standard search screen co-exists with the original; subscribers can choose which one they want to use. The new screen is targeted for launch on October 7.
DJI provides a Newsstand component for scanning headlines and browsing publications. The Factiva.com News Page has now been enhanced to offer this feature. With Newsstand, customers can scan the headlines from the front pages of leading newspapers and magazines. They can also browse through the text of entire publications, drilling down section by section to the specific daily news of most interest. Ten publications can be picked from more than 80 sources from 17 countries, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Sydney Morning Herald, Financial Times, Handelsblatt, and the South China Morning Post. Factiva-selected industry and regional News Pages are available along with the option to select a collection. Newspapers may be browsed for 14 days and searched for 90 days. The last three issues of magazines may be browsed or searched. Newsstand will also launch on October 7.
By the way, the Newsstand feature should not be confused with NewsStand, Inc., an Austin, Texas-based electronic publishing company that delivers exact digital replicas of traditional paper editions for subscription—such as Barron's, The Globe and Mail, and The New York Times. I made this mistake when I first read the Factiva.com press release, which stated that "Newsstand captures the front page of major newspapers around the world." I just assumed it was a page image.
Finally, Factiva has been developing multiple language interfaces to help provide its global content within local contexts. The Factiva.com service has been available in English, French, and German. It just added a Spanish interface and on October 7 will be available in Italian. Users can select the language through a pull-down menu on the main screen. Additional language interfaces, including Russian, Chinese, and Japanese, are planned for the remainder of 2002 and early 2003.
Sabosik said that Factiva's goal was to have moved half of its customers to Factiva.com by the end of this year. So far the company is on target. She said that this upgrade should propel quick migration by those who were waiting for those desired features from the legacy services. Early next year, the company also plans to add the option for credit card payments for pay-as-you-go searching. For independent researchers, such as AIIP members, this should prove to be a compelling reason to switch. Sabosik said that the upgrade process is an easy, self-service type of operation. The DJI and RBB systems are to be turned off on June 30, 2003.
When asked about plans for the future, Sabosik said that Factiva is always looking for additional content. As for furthering the company's strategy for embedding into enterprise work flows, it's taking two approaches. The first is to team up with companies beyond those that are portal-oriented. For example, Factiva is partnering with organizations that already have work-flow applications, such as MediaMap, Alacra, and Comintell, a Swedish provider of competitive intelligence software. Factiva's second approach is to introduce an integration product that leverages the company's content and software, thus enabling organizations to integrate their internal and external content into a single interface. Sabosik said that a new product called Factiva Fusion would be formally announced on October 8. Stay tuned for details.