D&B's new D&B Direct offering (which packages D&B content and makes it available to consume via API in packaged software applications or via other web applications) required the content provider to reexamine its pricing models given the real-time access to current data that the offering provides. D&B's Supply Management API pricing is based largely on four different characteristics: the number of users transaction with the system, bundled & term discounts, number of calls per year and any premium or additional add-on services/content tied to the contract. Pricing ultimately ties back to the number of hits or calls to the D&B data which also, of course, ties to the number of users based on tiers (e.g., 1-10, 11-50, 51-100, 101-200, 201-500, 501-1000, >1000+).
Of course, in situations where more advanced companies take a machine-to-machine approach for API based on the use-case such as the one we explored in our last post, a different pricing structure is required. Although for these types of scenarios, we anticipate that an API-driven approach -- at least not the business model for the API approach in D&B Direct -- might not always be the right answer. It's plausible that some organizations partnered with D&B may offer such proactive alerting and changes as part of a broader content-based or insight-driven model rather than one based upon named users, log-on activity and related updates.
Another area that D&B has spent some material time focusing on related to the D&B Direct initiative is ways users might consume D&B information on a multi-tier level. On the supply side, D&B shared an example for tier two supply chain risk management. Operating in a multi-tier construct, users would need access to a set of tools that could more rapidly enable them to visualize risk factors of tier two suppliers (owing to their greater number, in part, as well as the potential for either tier two proliferation -- multiplier effect -- or concentration, depending on industry, category and geography). D&B envisions users might concept risk data through either their own application or a third-party tool using D&B Direct and could rapidly gain visibility, through interactive charting, models and matrixes, into specific risk factors in order to quickly prioritize suppliers in need of further analysis.
Spend Matters believes that the path D&B is headed down with their D&B Direct offering and vision to support multi-tier supply chain risk management is representative of a broader market interested in consuming and integrating third-party intelligence and ever-expanding predictive measures. It's likely that as an increasing number of cloud and enterprise software providers begin to take vendor information and supply chain risk intelligence more seriously as core insight to embed in their products on a turnkey basis -- not to mention as organizations begin to roll out their own approaches for API-driven insights tied to existing application and back-end investments -- that we'll see models such as D&B Direct become ubiquitous as both technical and commercially-based models for consuming information in far more useful ways than the past.