When salesforce acquired Jigsaw a year and a half ago, I said at the time that it as the beginning of the end for traditional data service providers like D&B and Hoover’s. I foresaw a situation where, unless they partnered with the new paradigm of providing business data to organizations, they would fall into obsolescence as more innovative solutions, natively integrated with applications and workflows came to prominence.

Well it seems that Dun and Bradstreet were listening and decided that, rather than try and go it alone with traditional approaches, that they’d enter the Lion’s den and partner with salesforce as something that I see as a long-term survival strategy. And so yesterday salesforce and D&B announced an “alliance” that sees Salesforce integrate company information from D&B within the Jigsaw application. Salesforce is touting their new offering, data.com as the place to “provide complete customer data to build out social customer profiles, powering the social enterprise: – unsurprising that there’s a social spin being put on this as it’s very much the theme of the event. That said this sort of offering is really valuable – if merely a first step.

I’ve been talking recently with an Australian start-up, MarketScout – they’re utilizing a “big data” approach to capture open-source data about organizations and individuals, structure it, and enable people to visualize and interact with the information about those entities. It’s an approach that is the next iteration (or the one after) of data.com – drawing data from multiple sources – internal company records, social netwroks, media etc, and serving them up in an easily digestible form.

Anyway – back to data.com. With the new offering, and the D&B integration once it’s rolled out, Jigsaw has in-depth information about the 200 or so million businesses that D&B follows. Data.com is already live, but only with Jigsaw information – later this year the D&B integration will be finished with pricing to be confirmed – in the short to medium term D&B will be able to leverage their existing data pool to attract a premium for this service – however over time this will be reduced as offering like MarketScout build datasets and market acceptance. D&B obviously realize this – it was telling to read the comment by Josh Peirez, President, Global Product, Marketing and Innovation at D&B who said that

Putting the world’s leading information right where our customers need it is core to D&B’s strategy. It’s a tremendous opportunity to deliver more value to more businesses, every day

Or, outside of the nice marketing talk, it’s a way to ensure survival of traditional companies for a few years yet. Don’t be fooled though – the world is changing and companies like MarketScout will, with time, burn the platform upon which the traditional companies sit.


Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • Ben, a very interesting post on what data.com means for D&B (and why they did it). I sat in on the data.com roadmap presentation at Dreamforce and the D&B exec that was co-presenting with Salesforce basically said “D&B is getting out of the software business and staying in the Data as a Service business”. They are sun-setting D&B360 by Dec 31st. They are also sun-setting AccessHoover’s, though they did not share the timeline for that.

    So it may be for survival or it may be good judgement to focus on their strength (selling data) rather than trying to shore up a weakness (software, workflow, etc.)

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