For The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation, there's no business like "know" business. The company, known as D&B, is one of the world's leading suppliers of business information and research. Its global database contains commercial data on more than 205 million companies. D&B also holds the largest volume of business-credit information in the world. The company mines its data to create software products, web-based applications, and marketing information and purchasing-support services for its customers. Operations are split into three main segments: risk management, sales and marketing solutions, and Internet solutions. Hoover's, the publisher of this profile, is part of D&B.
D&B, which traces its roots back 170 years, is probably best known for providing companies with a unique D-U-N-S Number, which helps customers locate, identify, and even track financial and other key information about a specific business. D&B customers can use the data collected to make business decisions.
D&B's largest segment, risk management, accounts for more than 60% of the company's revenues. Customers use D&B Risk Management Solutions to mitigate credit and supplier risk. D&B is working to improve its risk management data in order to deliver more predictive indicators about credit risks to its customers.
In 2010 D&B established a partnership with consumer credit and information provider TransUnion to provide improved risk data on small and micro businesses. D&B also moved its risk management solutions product innovation to its application development center in Dublin, Ireland. The move was made in order to kickstart new product innovation in that segment.
D&B's sales and marketing solutions segment targets customers who seek to make or strengthen sales and marketing connections. The company has been focused on improving that segment, which supplies lists and related data to direct mail and marketing customers. In 2011 D&B teamed with Salesforce.com to launch Data.com. The online product integrates D&B information directly into the Salesforce CRM. The unification allows customers to access information from different sources in one place.
Internet solutions, a key focus for D&B, includes Hoover's. Other units within D&B's Internet solutions arm are business information provider Allbusiness.com and First Research, an online publisher of industry reports targeting sales people. Hoover's and First Research offer subscriptions to their data and research products.
In addition to growing business in the US, D&B conducts international operations on a market-by-market basis. Altogether, D&B has offices in about 30 countries and correspondents in another 140 countries. It does business through wholly owned subsidiaries, independent correspondents, and strategic partner relationships through its D&B Worldwide Network. As a result, the company offers more international company records to its customers around the world.
D&B has made several recent acquisitions in order to grow its international business. The company also has grown its global reach organically. In 2010 D&B and its Middle East/North Africa partner expanded into Turkey, an emerging market for investors. The company also acquired the formerly independent D&B Australia, a top credit-information provider in Australia and New Zealand, for some $205 million. In 2011 D&B acquired MicroMarketing in China to strengthen its database in that market.
The following year D&B announced a few moves aimed at streamlining its international business. It sold its market research business in China and restructured its Japanese business by selling operations there to Tokyo Shoko Research for $4.5 million. As part of the deal, D&B will provide the new owner with global data for Japanese customers and D&B will become the exclusive distributor of that data.
The company enjoyed a 5% boost in total revenue in 2011. That increase was driven by success overseas. D&B's revenues in the Asia Pacific region grew by about 40% in 2011. Sales that year also jumped by about 4% in Europe and other international markets. Meanwhile, North American revenues fell slightly. Sales in North America were impacted by a slow economy and other budgetary pressures within the company.
The company sold its North American Credit-on-Self unit, also known as Self Awareness Solutions, for approximately $100 million in 2010. The Self Awareness Solutions business contributed up to 5% of North American revenues and the company experienced a lag in sales in that segment following the sale.
However, D&B reported a 6% increase in operating income for North America in 2011. That was achieved by cutting costs.
Moving forward, D&D is focused on growing revenues across the board. In order to achieve that, the company is investing in technology and innovation. In 2010 D&B launched a strategic technology initiative, dubbed MaxCV, to help accelerate product innovation and meet customer demands and expectations. The company has divested some older product lines and is working to upgrade its technology infrastructure. – less