The deal is a way for Thomson to find new audiences for its database of detailed financial information on more than 40,000 companies worldwide – information the company has traditionally offered mainly to investors, said Ross Inglis, director of real-time buy-side products at Thomson, a Stamford, Conn.-based unit of Thomson Corp. Now, Thomson is working to develop another market for the same information in competitive analysis.
“What we’re doing is combining that rich set of data with the rich set of business intelligence tools that Business Objects has,” said Steve Williams, senior product marketing manager for the on-demand group at Business Objects, a software vendor with dual headquarters in San Jose, Calif., and Paris.
A beta-test version of BusinessObjects Information OnDemand is currently available – anyone interested can sign up at www.ondemand.com – and the final version is due by the end of the third quarter, the companies said.
Williams said the target market includes financial, competitive and marketing analysis and sales operations. Businesses that make decisions based only on internal financial information risk missing an important part of the picture, he maintained.
For instance, he said, a chief financial officer might use Information OnDemand to compare his or her own company’s performance to that of competitors or an industry sector as a whole. A CFO might also use the tool to study candidates for an acquisition or merger, he said.
Marketing managers might use the tool to assess the potential of new markets or territories or to compare performance to that of competitors, he added.
“Anywhere on the globe, you can look at how a company performs based on things like cash flow, revenue, earnings – and they’ve all been standardized,” Inglis said.
The partnership between Business Objects and Thomson allows the companies to package Thomson’s data in pre-designed models for easier analysis, Williams said. That means users don’t need to collate the data and paste it into spreadsheets for analysis.
While pricing won’t be announced until the formal release later this year, Williams said BusinessObjects Information OnDemand will be available under two pricing models. Customers will be able to pay for a specific pre-built model and the associated data on a one-time basis – an arrangement suited to people who need to prepare a slide or two for a presentation to the board. Businesses will also be able to subscribe on an ongoing basis at a set rate for a certain number of users.
Thomson has a number of partnerships with financial software providers, Inglis said, though many of them are more focused on use of the data in investment decisions rather than financial and competitive analysis. Williams said Business Objects has a relationship with financial data provider Dun & Bradstreet and is exploring other possibilities such as offering census and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
“We’ll be continuing to look at adding additional data sources and additional models into the Information OnDemand product line,” he said.