Factiva has earned a reputation over the years as one of our leading business news and research resources. It has consistently enhanced its content, functionality, and tools to accommodate our increasingly complex and demanding information access requirements. Now, Dow Jones is announcing a series of enhancements to Factiva coming out over the next few weeks that will make the service more global, mobile, and even more accessible. The focus is on helping people get more value out of information. Enhancements include a new look and feel, new global content, and a new app for the iPad.
Both information professionals and end user searchers should welcome the enhancements that will be rolling out soon. Factiva’s new user interface and new information “Snapshots” are designed to allow customers to monitor and find meaningful information more quickly.
The interface now offers a lighter, more intuitive user experience, with cleaner fonts and softer colors. More functions are available front and center, it is easier to manage lists and custom alerts, there are improved assisted search features such as auto-complete, and the results are in a clean format that is easier to read.
The Snapshots are a new format that presents key information in a visual context. They capture a personalized view of information and events on a specific industry, company, region, or topic in a single view—or dashboard—with timelines, heat maps, graphs, maps, and charts to uncover and analyze business risks and opportunities. Choose from among 31 industry snapshots and 19 regions. Coming soon you’ll be able to choose custom snapshots based on keywords. Snapshots make it easy to share information with others in your organization. Both the new Factiva interface and Snapshots will be available beginning April 30.
The new Factiva iPad app will be available in mid-May.The Factiva iPad app and new content features will all be available in nine interface languages including Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Spanish, and Russian. Factiva plans to support the Blackberry, iPhone, and Android platforms in the future.
Factiva recently added more than 3,000 new blogs to Factiva.com. These new blogs have been hand selected from company and media sites as some of the most influential in their industries. These blogs are updated continually 24 hours a day. (Note that the blog content is available in Factiva’s academic library product but the new Snapshots and iPad app are not.)
Factiva also recently added more than 250,000 unlisted U.K. company records to Factiva.com. In addition, it improved the quality of financial information in its existing U.K. company records with access to more than 3 years of financial data including ratios, and/or balance sheet and income statements. Factiva now has information on more than 19 million private and public companies worldwide. New language additions include Arabic, Bahasa Indonesian and Melayu content, bringing the total number of languages offered to 26.
Scott Schulman, president of the company’s corporate markets group, said, “We’re an information-driven economy. Now more than ever, professionals need the ability to access relevant business intelligence that will support or prompt business decisions. They need that content to be global, they need to have a high degree of trust in the information, and they need to be able to access it anywhere.” He added, “Factiva is at an important intersection between business content and technology, and these changes address the key trends influencing how our clients do business and compete.”
Consultant and infopro Mary Ellen Bates, who has searched Factiva for many years, likes the new Snapshots. “This is a nice way of making mission-critical information easier to scan, so I think it’s something that customers—particularly the DIYers (what’s a kinder word for “end-user”?)—are going to value. In a sense, it’s continuing what Silobreaker started, with the idea that it’s important to aggregate a wide range of sources on a single dashboard in order to understand what’s going on in your world. Factiva is emphasizing the value of information within a larger context rather than just looking at individual articles, which is a lesson that we all need to take to heart. Since the Snapshots can be customized and shared, I can see this as a nice opportunity for info pros to be seen as information sense-makers—effective filters on the information fire hose.”
She is also positive about the interface changes. “I like the new interface; it brings together the parts I liked about the Simple Search (e.g., the Discovery Pane) and the power of the Search Builder. I love the feature that lets us assign additional relevance to preferred sources; this is nicer than either limiting my search to key publications or worrying that I may miss something from an authoritative source.”
Information consultant Heidi Longaberger responded to my email inquiry with her assessment.
I was pleased to see the announcement from Factiva introducing content additions and feature improvements corroborating the trends the Company outlined in the VIP Report: Product Review of Factiva. When I spoke with Factiva in November 2010, they specifically identified adding more global content, increasing access options, and enhancing user functionality as the trends they would be focusing on in the near future. How refreshing to know that the Company is on plan. This is good news for the information professional and searcher, as many of our clients and companies we work for are doing business beyond the backyard, so the more international content, the better. Especially in regions where information access has been historically difficult for a number of reasons, such as the Middle East and Africa. The same goes for enhanced mobile access and the iPad app. We are all continuously on the move and increasingly not tied to the desk, so mobile options that are beyond just rudimentary access are a positive enhancement to any information database. There will only be increased need for mobile options in the future and it’s good that Factiva is tackling this opportunity head-on.
Ned May, vice president & lead analyst, Outsell, Inc. also gives an upbeat assessment. “The announcement demonstrates Factiva’s continued commitment to the market and the needs of its users. By deepening their content coverage across new languages and by investing in the development of an iPad app they are keeping in step with the needs of knowledge workers as they evolve. These are the kind of moves only a large established player can afford to take and they should win them favor with firms that need this kind of evolution in their information tools.”
Factiva says it has many more enhancements planned for the remainder of 2011. All of the enhancements are a result of users’ input and feedback—customer conversations, focus groups, and analyst interviews over the past 12 months.
For a preview of the new enhancements coming soon to Factiva, visit http://www.factiva.com/factivatoday.
Factiva also provided some interesting industry statistics that I think are worth reposting here.
- The average knowledge worker spends about 25% of the day searching for needed information (Basex)
- The annual economic loss due to information overload at work at $900 billion (Basex)
- The Search, Aggregation & Syndication (SAS) market is forecast to reach $66.5 billion by 2013, with a 4-year CAGR of 8% (Outsell)
- One in three businesses searches fail (Outsell)
- This year there will be more than 26 million tablet users and that one in three online consumers in the U.S. will own a tablet by 2015 (Forrester)
- Morgan Stanley predicts that by 2015, more people will access the internet from phones and other mobile devices than from desktop computers