When it comes to third-party supplier risk information, there aren't that many choices in town. Besides D&B and Experian, you’d be hard pressed to locate any providers in North America that deliver supply-risk indicators (not just credit data) based on their own proprietary data and analysis approaches across a broad sub-set of the domestic supply base (and beyond). D&B is now looking to expand its penetration with a broader OEM and reseller strategy. In a recent conversation with D&B's Jim Lawton, who serves as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Supply Management Solutions (SMS) business unit, I confirmed D&B is moving to a "D&B inside" model to enable supply management and spend visibility providers to leverage D&B data to help customers move toward more strategic risk management.
In Jim's words, "We have established and will announce partnerships with a range of the top providers" in the market. I've confirmed this in my own research, speaking to multiple providers considering partnership arrangements with D&B to drive their spend analysis enrichment efforts as well as to provide the third-party content fuel to their supply risk management offerings. However, D&B will keep selling their own supply risk solutions as well, including DNBi. In other words, the "D&B Inside" model does not represent a shift in strategy, but rather a complement to continuing to develop and market its own solutions.
Regardless, I expect that we'll be hearing quite a bit more from D&B in the coming months. After all, when you have a business like D&B SMS, as an analyst/consultant friend pointed out in an email to me last night, that grew 11% in 2008 (to $93 million in revenue) during the downturn, success tends to build on itself. However, I'm sure their content and enrichment competitors will not be sitting still. I look forward to seeing how Experian, Equifax, Lexis-Nexis and others more aggressively pursue the growing supplier content and supply risk market segment -- not to mention upstarts such a Panjiva who take a different approach to providing global supply risk data and intelligence.