It is rare to read a description of a business information solution feature that borders on being poetic, but Avention manages to do just that with this statement: “Business Signals are a richer vocabulary for the language of business.” Avention, formerly known as OneSource, is a company and market/industry data provider. It is used for sales and marketing, in addition to research and diligence. I am going to focus on its applicability for supplier discovery and diligence research.
Avention has introduced four “Pillars of Innovation,” including the Business Signals feature. Using Business Signals enhances the probability of returning results that match your specific information need by scoring industries and companies against roughly 1,200 criteria. Main categories of interest to procurement professionals for supplier diligence research are Operations, Ownership, Location, and Spending/Risk (in addition to the Finance-related categories). Each category is broken down into detailed subcategories, or fields. For example, Under Spend/Risk, you will find Spending Rate Trend, Materials Spending Y-to-Y Change, Risk Propensity, and Bankruptcy Activity, to name a few. Under Location, individual fields are available for Doing Business in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, UK, and US.
To start the search process, there are three “search styles” from which to choose: Keyword, Conceptual, and Conceptual + Keyword. These options are available for all eight Advanced Searching main categories: Companies, Contacts, News, Media, Analysis, SEC filings, Triggers, and Industries. Here are the features that are worth noting:
- The Conceptual Search, another one of the four Pillars of Innovation, is a good example of where search technology is heading, specifically by combining natural language with semantic technology. Basically you type in a word or phrase and Avention will retrieve results based on the concept of the search term, not just the actual words. This type of search takes away the guesswork of determining the exact terms that need to be used to retrieve relevant results. Good examples provided by Avention blogger Michael Levy include new technologies, such as “Internet of Things,” or fracking; and social movements, such as sustainability (website).
- Triggers provide 24/7 monitoring and “types” of interest to procurement professionals include Accounting and Regulatory issues, Assets Increase/Access Decrease, Bankruptcy, Closing Facilities, Employees Decrease/Increase, Revenue Increase/Decrease, Profit Increase/Decrease, Layoffs, Legal, M&A, and Product Recalls, to name a few.
- You can set your own industry classification system to search, including Avention’s own code
- Avention partners with an impressive list of over 60 data providers, such as RMA (Industry Norms), Freedonia, Marketline, Euromarket, Creditsafe, LexisNexis, and Thomson Reuters. Information on the data providers and exactly what they cover is refreshingly transparent, which is a sign of a quality resource. A helpful graph is made available that lists the information partners by product, update frequency, and information type (Company Info, Executive Info, News & Articles, Industry Info, IT Profiles, and Financials/Filings).
- Avention Spending and Risk analysis, which is a premium offer, allows you to look into the buying patterns of potential suppliers and see changes in spending, in addition to payment history across four high-level categories and 45 sub-categories.
- Pricing for Avention is reasonable and is an attractive feature.
In summary, Avention’s combination of various “information type” resources, such as market reports, company reports, analyst reports, credit reports, and news sources, for diligence; and directory-type resources for discovery, in addition to being international in scope, is worth a look for procurement professionals.