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OneSource Business Browser

48 Comments · Marketing Research

Service/portal name: http://www.onesource.com

Source description: OneSource is just what the name implies: one-stop shop for profile and background information on over 1 million large and midsized companies worldwide.

This aggregation of different information sources is provided by OneSource Information Services, a publicly traded company on NASDA [ONES].

The company was actually started as a division of Lotus the software company now owned by IBM, after Lotus bought Isy and Datext, two developers of CD-ROM information product Lotus spun off the company in 1993, and it began the transition of online services in the mid-to late 1990s.

In 1999 the company were public, purchased CorpTech, a popular directory of technology companies, and released the European version of its Business Browser. For the purposes of this review, I will focus on the edition of the Global Business Browser.

The OneSource Business Browser products are only available through the Web, but the company’s CorpTech product available as a stand-alone CD-ROM.

In a move being wide adopted throughout the information provider industry, One Source also makes the Business Browser available as an application programming internface (API) so that companies can incorporate OneSource content directly into their intranet and other enterprise applications.

OneSource is targeted toward business customers, especially those who need a quick way to obtain company profile information, such as sales and marketing executives.

OneSource provides some industry information and some in-depth financial material, but it is primarily used to either obtain data on one specific company or to create a list of companies meeting certain criteria.

Pricing: OneSource is priced per user for unlimited usage – a subscription that inlcudes all content with no additional charges.

The cost is $5,800 for one user per quarter, or $21,000 for one year for one user. For ten users, the cost is $8,800 per quarter and $32,000 for one year.

Source content: OneSource utilizes over thirty separate information partners, representing over twenty-five hundred content sources, to provide a comprehensive picture of and global businesses.

The content includes financial filings, company profiles, trade publication articles, investment analyst reports, market research, biographies, stock quotes, and more. For the material it provides, OneSource does a good job of covering most of the major industries.

To obtain a more precise understanding of the scope of this resource, it helps to identify some of the data providers.

Some of the more well-known information providers available through OneSource include Market Guide, Thomson Worldscope, Gale Publications, Dun & Bradstreet, Harris InforSource, Investext, the Financial Times, COMTEX News Network, ProQuest, Freedonia, Euromonitor International, Marquis Who’s Who, and EDGAR Online.

The fact that the content comes from all of these different information providers is primarily hidden from the end user, who need only be familiar with the OneSource Busness Browser interface.

All of the searching is done through a simple interface that allows the user to search for a specific company or industry profile and to find lists of companies, articles, or executives. This product also has an alert service and built-in tracking.

OneSource presents the content in a flexible way and the user has many different options for using the product and for viewing and downloading information.

The basic options include searching for company or industry profiles, finding lists of companies, articles, and executives that meet search criteria, and tracking specific information via e-mial.

Searching for company profiles by company name produces a list of all matching choices, which the user can choose from.

Company searches can provide a plethora of information, including recent articles, analyst reports, market research, brief or in-depth profiles, financial filings, and much more.

The industry profile search screen brings you to a page presenting overall industry categories and then to further breakdowns, grouped by SIC codes.

The material might include market research, market share, analyst reports, and articles on industry trends.

Choosing a specific company or industry brings up more detailed information, allowing the researcher to look for the exact kind of material requred.

The other main section of the beginning search screen, besides the Tracking service, is the Find section.

The Find All Companies and Find Public Companies functions allow the user to create lists of companies by specific search criteria, such as SIC code, geogrphical location, sales and employee numbers.

The user can also search for topics and can narrow the search by News, Articles and Tables, Analyst Reports, or SEC Filings.

This material can also be sorted by date. Finally, one can create a list of executives or directors using a combination of sources included is One Source.

Reviewing the results of all of these various search options can be a bit daunting, but this is all the more reason to take the time to explore this product.

Tables and graphs can be exported in Excel format, analysts’ reports can be immediately saved or printed out in PDF format, and company profiles can easily be saved as HTML files or copied into a word-processing program or other desktop application.

There are literally dozens different wayts to slice the information available through OneSource, and the researcher would be well advised to experiment with the different options to get the best results.

Source evaluation: OneSource is an expensive product, but is used often and properly it could be worth the price.

The trade publications and company profiles alone do not necessarily justice the price, but with the inclusion of investment analyst research market research reports, financial filings, and other advance content, the product provides high value for the price.

Becaue it is a flat-rate, fixed-price source, the user does not have to worry about incurring costs while learning to use OneSource and can experiment with different search strategies to find the most effective with of using it.

Most of the data included in OneSource is very current, with the articles, financial filings, and other material updated daily.

The user should be aware, however, that the investment analyst material is on a two-week delay and that, aside from the most recent three multipage reports, all of the investment analyst material consists of one-and two-page analyst reports.

These brief reports often do not provide the depth of analysts needed for sound investment decisions, and for researchers in the venture capital community or other areas where timely investment analyst opinion is critical, the material provide in OneSource will not be sufficient.

These researchers will still want to have a subscription to Investext, Multex Fundamentals (recently purchased by Reuters), or some other provider of current investment analyst research.

The excellent company coverage provided by OneSource includes the most comprehensive listing of U.S. technology companies on the market, the CorpTech Directory of Technology Companies.

As a heavy user of CorpTech as a stand-alone product, I find it very useful to be able to search it alongiside the company listings provided by the other vendors bundled into OneSource.

The inustry coverage in OneSource is also very thorough, and any researcher should be able to do a fair amount of competitive analyst using both the industry and company profiles.

The news, articles, and tables provided in OneSource are current and comprehensive, though certainly not as exhaustive as what the user might find in Factiva, LexisNexis, or Dialog.

But this product is more than sufficient for current awareness and general literature searches.

As OneSource continually adds new features and content partners, the coverage will only expand and we can expect to see OneSource eventually give the other “Big Three aggregators a run for their money.

Compared boradly to similar aggregators of business information content, OneSource definitely is in the top rank of these products.

It is difficult to make a straight comparison with other products. It is difficult to make a straight comparison with other products because OneSource aggregates so many types of information sources that are not usually offered together.

It may not include all of the trade publications available through Factiva, but the inclusion of analysts’ reports and market research make a unique.

OneSource does not have the depth of database seleciton available in Dialog or LexisNexis, but it offers the ability to search all of the included content at once rather than having to switch between databases.

The inclusion of investment analyst report from Investext and market research from Freedonia is a unique feature not available in many information aggregator products and this is certainly one of the things that make OneSource stand out.

It is also what makes this product a bit costly, and potential material, as the news articles and company profiles may be available in other less-expensive sources.

The search functionality of this product seems very easy to understand, and new users should not have difficulty navigating through the product.

The greatest challenge may lie in becoming familiar with all of the various types of content available through OneSource and understanding the best way to get at each type.

The simple entry search page, with all of the options laid out clearly, si a pleasant change from the more complicated database interface in which the user has to know the names or numbers of the specific files desired.

The OneSource staff is available to help should the need arise and the built-in Help link on each page takes the user to specific information for that sectiona and appears to answer most, if not all of the questions one might have.

Overall, I would recommend this product to researchers who do not need a great amount of specialized material in any specific industry but need to have a quick and efficient way to get background information on companies or industries.

The price, while a bit steep, is justified if the product is used heavily and the researcher is fully aware of all of the available content.

Source value rating: All of the data source reviewers were asked to rate each source on the basis of the following eight categories, using “10” as the highest rating and “1” as the losest (“80” being a perfect score):

1. Relative cost-to-value:   8
2. Relative timeliness of data:   8
3. Relative comprehensiveness of data:  8
4. Ease of use:     10
5. Search options available:   9
6. Level of support services:   8
7. Level of training offered:   8
8. Amount/kinds of special services offered: 9
Total Rating:     68

Useful tips
• Go through the source list and familiarize yourself with all of the different resources available OneSource, especially sources that might be particularly relevant to your industry area or research needs.

• Use the Top Participants feature to create comprehensive lists of competitors based on sales, employees, or assets.

• Take advantage of the Market Share, Industry Norms, and Market Research features to get the most bang for your buck from OneSource.

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