Saturday, October 27, 2012
This particular new database, useful for many B-School folks, is less a "new" database, than a rebranding--and a work in progress, at that!
At the start of 2012, Mergent (from whom we already got a financials-rich database called MergentOnline) became "the exclusive provider of D&B Library Solutions" like the benchmark product Key Business Ratios, Hoover's Academic and the industry information database, First Research. Unfortunately, the transition has not been a completely smooth one. First Research requires clicking far too many buttons before doing a search, and the old Hoover's platform never worked through our proxy server after the Mergent takeover.
That's why we have switched over to a new Mergent-branded database called Mergent Intellect--which is, essentially, a beefed-up version of Hoover's.
A company press release before the launch of Mergent Intellect claimed it was "a new web-based product. Mergent Intellect is highly flexible and features a deep collection of worldwide business information that enables companies to generate new insightful business intelligence. Powered by Mergent’s expertise in developing products for the reference marketplace with D&B/Hoover’s 85 million+ private company database, Mergent Intellect offers new and existing clients a unique opportunity to access private and public U.S. and international business data, industry news (First Research), facts and figures, company and executive contact information and much more."
That may be. But, as I've indicated, this is basically a re-vamped Hoover's. (Still, the important thing for Sawyer Library is that the new file actually works...even though operations tend to be slow!) Many users will want to use this resource the same way they did Hoover's, to get a good overview of a company. And although the database does include basic information for many private and international firms, it is strongest in providing info on U.S. public companies.
If you look up a public company, it is worth moving the radio button on the opening screen from "Both" to "Public" as you are more likely to pull up just your company and not a long list of poor matches. Once on the initial company screen, note the options in the dark blue border above the "Key Information." And whatever page you are on, you'll want to pay attention to the additional options in the lighter blue left frame. When I look up Target, as an example, the useful links for Company History and a Competitors List are links to the left of the opening landing page.
The Company History is fairly straightforward (and valuable!), but although the competitors list is worthwhile (since each listed name is an active link that allows you to explore the other company), the initial display--at least on the searches I did--lists all the financial values on the competitors table at $0--which isn't exactly useful as a quick financial snapshot for comparing the companies!
Likewise, if you explore the top frame options, you'll probably have to explore a left-frame secondary choice on the next page for more and better information. The initial "Industry Details" screen looks quite insignificant, as it only lists major segment categories as words. But if you actually go to the SIC codes from the left frame, and click an appropriate link, the database will transfer you over to its industry report partner, First Research and perform an industry search for that code.
You can export your reports, mailing lists, etc. to Microsoft Excel, Word or Adobe Acrobat, as well as print. Look for icon links to the upper right.
And as an added option for those who want it, there's a link in the top frame to a white pages ("Residential Search") database that will identify someone by name, provide an address and phone number, and even map their location. (Privacy alert!) Of this, Mergent says: "Through WhitePages Pro, Mergent Intellect will now include immediate access to contact information for 90 percent of U.S. households, including name, address, age, household members, and previous address, as well as offer reverse phone lookup capabilities."
Mergent Intellect is, frankly, not as smart or as user-friendly as it ought to be. And we have been trying to get "user guide" information from the company for some time, but to no avail. Hopefully, it will improve as it ages. For now, those looking for what used to be Hoover's (who don't want to hunt down those profiles in LexisNexis Academic or ABI/INFORM Complete--where they can also be found) will likely find this database worth exploring.
[Find Mergent Intellect on our A-Z database list, or in our Subject Database List for Business & Management.]