John McGovern Mergent Online gets an upgrade
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By John McGovern

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In its recent upgrade to Mergent Online, Mergent has added profiles of 150,000+ US Executives to its coverage of over 1 million global companies. Mergent has incorporated the people data closely with its company profiles, allowing users to go seamlessly from one company to its executives to the other companiesí boards that executive sits on, to the other executives on those boards, and so on.

The upgrade shows that the vendor understands an important concept in the practice of company/executive research -the notion of a researcher's workflow. Company research, like many types of research, is a series of 'forks in the road'. A user discovers a data point when looking at a company in one way that leads them to look at the company in another way.

Searching in Mergent Online allows the users the power of Boolean searching without having to know Boolean searching. Researchers in that industry have their hands full trying to get value out of powerful but quirky offerings like ZoomInfo (http://www.zoominfo.com) that has in the past relied on open-web name aggregation or new entrants like Netprospex (http://www.netprospex.com) that has a self-submission/ trading model.

Mergent uses a 'screening' approach that is quite powerful. The user could take advantage of the mix of fielded numerical data searches and keyword searches of certain fields to craft something like a list of executives who work for companies that:

  • Have net income greater than X
  • With a certain SIC code
  • Where the company has done joint ventures with the word 'beverages' in the description   

The user can download results to Excel, choose a printer-friendly format as well as add any names to a saved Executive List. 

The dirty little secret on the vendor side is that it is very difficult to build a profile people data business. As is the case with most people/executive databases, timely updates are an issue. It is virtually impossible to build a profitable people database business where each record is touched frequently enough to catch every change on every day that a user might be looking. Mergent's implementation and the way they have combined people and company data makes common update frustrations easier for the searcher to take. 

There is also a good mix of widely available public company data combined with the always elusive data on private companies. In addition to basic profiles, Mergent Online 'bakes in' access to the staples of public company information such as SEC filings, an earnings calendar, earnings estimates, news, stock ownership data, equity research reports and annual reports. The result is a robust offering that while may not have the coverage an investment bank or commercial bank needs to make lending decisions, is certainly substantial enough to help a Fortune 1000 middle manager make day-to-day business decisions.     

Purchase the full report on Mergent Online:  http://web.freepint.com/go/shop/report/1636

Save money by purchasing VIP Issue No. 77, April 2010, which includes this full report, as well at a comparative review of Russian data sources: http://web.freepint.com/go/shop/magazine/1233 

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