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The "New" OneSource
by
Posted On June 20, 2005
Since its acquisition a year ago by infoUSA, business information provider OneSource (http://www.onesource.com) has directed an all-out effort to implement new technology and take advantage of the resources of its new parent. Now remade to be lean, streamlined, and nimble, OneSource has just announced a major upgrade to its flagship business information product, Business Browser. It has also introduced two new add-on modules. The new version of US Business Browser adds in-depth profiles on more than 160,000 private companies and expands core coverage from 300,000 to 600,000 U.S. and Canadian companies. The new add-on modules are Small Company Spectrum, which provides basic information on more than 13 million additional small companies, and a Credit Insights module that provides risk assessment indicators for all 13 million companies.

The new Business Browser, which will debut in July at no additional cost to customers, offers an improved user experience as well as additional breadth and depth of coverage. Improvements have been made to these elements: company summary, corporate overview, significant developments, and analyst reports.

The company says the new products address several critical customer demands. According to Brad Haigis, VP of products, users asked for products to deliver "insights" and not just more content, private company information was in high demand, and content quality is key. The two add-on modules will be available in August. The Credit Insights and Small Company Spectrum will be offered individually; the cost will be $5,000 per year for five users or at $84 per month per user.

"Our most recently published Hot Topics study on Salesforce Performance Solutions identifies a big private company information gap," said Chuck Richard, VP and lead analyst at research and advisory firm Outsell, Inc. "Clients regularly tell us they've hit dead ends looking for comprehensive and accurate sources of private company information. The market is hungry for meaningful enhancements to information on private and small businesses such as those offered in the products announced today by OneSource."

According to Yvonne Cekel, president of OneSource, since the acquisition by Donnelley Group of infoUSA, OneSource has re-organized, downsized (from 240 to 190 employees), consolidated back office operations into infoUSA, improved communications, and reworked the company's product development processes. These efforts plus their technology transition, which should be completed by 1Q 2006, have resulted in a "new OneSource" that can "do more with less." The streamlining and better communications have resulted in faster decision making and quicker time to market for new products. The company has nearly doubled its sales organization, however, from 35 to 65 people in the last 6 months; it plans to increase its sales staff in Europe and Asia over the year. On the technology side, the company has replaced older platforms containing lots of unique code with an SQL server-based repository with reduced unique code.

Another key piece, according to Cekel, has been the content improvement. In the past, OneSource licensed key content from its competitor, D&B. Since the acquisition, it has been adding infoUSA content to replace the D&B company records. As of July, there will be no more D&B company profiles in OneSource products, but the products will retain D&B's DUNS numbers through March 2006. In addition, OneSource has added 10 new country-specific content providers and two new region-specific providers. Cekel said it is great not to be D&B dependent and constrained. "It's important for us to own the content—it provides us with flexibility."

OneSource has been very busy this year with product developments. In February, it introduced Company Insights, an add-on module to Business Browser that expands corporate profiles with key pieces of relevant data extracted from text documents, such as expert evaluations, observations, and detailed analysis. In April, OneSource debuted Executive Insights, another add-on module that adds more than 400,000 VP and director-level contacts to OneSource's existing repository of 2 million U.S. executive contacts. Executive Insights provides enhanced biographical information, such as work history, professional affiliations, attributed articles and quotes, education background, and compensation for many contacts. Both products were announced last fall as the "first of a new wave of information modules employing pattern recognition and linguistic technologies to distill valuable but hard-to-find information from unstructured sources."

Earlier this year, OneSource introduced a scaled-down version of Business Browser called OneSource Express, which is targeted to sales and marketing professionals in small and mid-sized businesses. The new service represented OneSource's first attempt to move beyond its core market of large customers and was clearly designed to go head-to-head in this market segment with services offered by Hoover's, a D&B company (http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/nbreader.asp?ArticleID=16282). OneSource representatives feel it is important for the company to have an entry point product that lets them reach new markets and provides the opportunity to up-sell clients to other options in the product line.

Cekel said that OneSource is about to introduce its OneSource Express UK, which took just 3 months to bring to market with the company's new streamlined development processes. She claims that OneSource is now an "agile, responsive, market-driven team."

However, don't assume that the company's competitors are standing still. There's too much at stake in the business information market.


Paula J. Hane is a freelance writer and editor covering the library and information industries. She was formerly Information Today, Inc.’s news bureau chief and editor of NewsBreaks.


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