Dun & Bradstreet: A dozen years of productive partnership
Dun & Bradstreet is the byword for business data; it is the leading provider of trusted corporate information in credit, supplier evaluation, and other operational research areas. The company has the largest global commercial database in the world, and its overarching goal is to help clients make the most of that database to build smart relationships for the 21st century.
In a networked world, the stronger a business’s relationships and the more strategic its associations, the more value the business can deliver to its customers. Dun & Bradstreet’s wide-ranging data and analytics capabilities help companies to map and interpret potential relationships with buyers, prospects, suppliers, and partners – whether prospective or actual – to maximize the value of those relationships.
Dun & Bradstreet equips its clients with the means to identify the most promising companies to move forward with, and the riskiest ones that should be left behind.
Dun & Bradstreet has been a computer-driven business but was a relative latecomer to the cyber universe. For this reason, it was important that when they decided to make the move to the internet – and concurrently into software sales – in the late 1990s, they needed to make a rapid and effective transition without breaking the bank.
The company had attempted to make the jump to the web, and to begin developing their internal data manipulation tools into third-party software applications, using internal resources alone – after all, they were a technology company. However, it quickly became clear that the skill sets needed were not readily available in-house, so they turned to potential partners with experience in this type of work.
Initially, Dun & Bradstreet gravitated towards peer-level organizations – the larger, better known consulting firms. Unfortunately, these organizations were unable to meet the company’s relatively tight timelines, resulting in inferior, uncompetitive solutions that were still “late to the game”. So they turned to smaller and more agile suppliers as they continued to search for the optimal way forward.
Dun & Bradstreet set out to evaluate a number of potential development partners, all of whom asserted they could deliver state-of-the-art internet and desktop solutions that would be attractive to potential clients. After a thorough assessment of personnel, processes, and past successes of these potential partners, Kanda was selected to leapfrog Dun & Bradstreet into the internet age.
Kanda undertook many projects with Dun & Bradstreet over the course of their twelve-year partnership, three of which stand out as bringing the greatest value to the business.
Market Spectrum Level 3
This product, the first-ever closed-loop marketing automation solution for the desktop, required a fast, fully compliant ODBC driver and an SQL translator to the Dataware ADL count engine. Kanda also customized the count engine to achieve an average query execution speed of less than a second on a database of up to 10 million records and cleaned up the PowerBuilder front end. The previous iteration, which applied the same front end to a Sybase HP OpenServer, had typical execution speeds of more than 20 minutes for the same queries. Kanda later added support for a distributed, multi-client, multi-threading server environment, making the query-intensive front-end functionality, such as Family Trees and Campaigns, completely interactive; the Sybase version required all such tasks to be handled offline. The product became Dun & Bradstreet’s biggest revenue generator in the company’s software lineup for three consecutive years.
Company Lookup Data Mart
Kanda created this intelligent name search web service for the world’s most comprehensive database of corporate names. The service enabled efficient and precise full-text searching of over 20 million Dun & Bradstreet business records, based on criteria such as company name, location, Yellow Pages classification, web addresses, and more. In the process, Kanda architected and implemented corporate-strength data preparation processes, designed an efficient MS SQL schema, and integrated it with Search Software America (SSA) as well as with Dun & Bradstreet’s proprietary match algorithm. Originally developed for the Small Businesses Division, this service has become the mainstay of the company’s corporate website and serves all Dun & Bradstreet customers.
Informational Forum Portal
This industry risk-assessment service enabled customer-oriented industry groups to perform risk analysis based on peer trade experience. Kanda implemented the solution in an ASP-based web interface, including community support, over an MS SQL Server database. Kanda also handled hosting and data preparation, and enabled monthly and nightly upgrades of the Trade Experience database. When Dun & Bradstreet later adopted modernized user interface guidelines, this portal was the only application that did not require any UI modifications.