Chris Porter Mergent Online - Making Sense Out of Company and Executive Data
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By Chris Porter

Abstract

Chris Porter continues FreePint’s collection of reviews of company and executive information services with an in-depth look at highly structured company research database Mergent Online.

Item

Over the last few months, FreePint has provided quite a number of updates on tools for researching company and executive information. Now, US-based provider Mergent Online comes under the microscope.

Mergent has  a particularly strong focus on serving academic libraries, with business schools being particularly heavy users; in FreePint's view, it has plenty of data and functionality to entice other organisations too.


Information on Quoted Companies Worldwide

At the heart of the Mergent service is a highly structured proprietary database, with deep and broad information on active quoted companies around the world - the vendor says its coverage represents over 99% of global market capitalisation.

Additionally, Mergent Online carries many records on companies which are no longer active, whether because they have been taken over, gone bankrupt or ceased to trade for some other reason - this information is often no longer to be found on any corporate website, and is by no means always available in other company research databases.


Structured Data and Well-Designed User Interface

A key part of the product's attraction is the way that it marries structured financial data with well-thought-through user interface design - truly making sense of "big data" for the user.

An example is the way that the service uses visualisations to dig into executive performance data. It has charts which let you track a CEO's total compensation package over time during their period of tenure, relative to their company's stock price.

You can also view the progress of CEO compensation in relation to a company's growth (or not!) in revenue and net income; and you can instantly switch to a comparison view for competitor companies.

Click to view

Figure 1: Executive compensation analysis

This is just one of many cases in which Mergent marries highly structured data with clear presentation. It's not unusual for databases to hold underlying data of this kind; but it really makes a difference when the vendor provides the tools to let the user instantly make sense of it.


Company and Executive Information Under the Spotlight

FreePint has greatly enjoyed exploring the various company and executive information offerings on the market. Avention, Lexis Nexis Company Dossier, the company and executive coverage within Dow Jones Factiva, new-generation alerting service Owler and others all have their unique and differing strengths and weaknesses. We also provided an update on developments to Bureau van Dijk's Orbis service

Further articles are still to come, including a review of D&B Hoover's, meanwhile, click here for the detailed review of Mergent Online.

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