In truth, I thought it a dull week of post-Olympic depression, but for the professional grinch it had some brighter moments. I watched England losing a Test Match that they might have won but for the lack of something extra-ordinary. I hear that something extra-ordinary took place in a Las Vegas hotel room, leading to a potential new Olympics sport. But between the sports pages and the gossip columns it felt like a really “silly season” sort of week. Except that it wasn’t. At all. Two things fell to Earth which exemplify where and how quickly we are going in the information services and solutions marketplace. Two routine announcements, but read them as confirmations that the changes we have been tracking here are market-wide, deeply embedded and worth real investment.
The first that caught my eye was the purchase of Adeptra by Fair Isaacs (FICO). Now, the credit rating sector has never been at the leading edge of workflow delivery, though in other parts of the same wood companies like Experian are foremost players in data analytics, and the whole risk management sector is in the vanguard when it comes to service solutioning. So an outfit like FICO (www.fico.com) knows all about solutions, and its FICO Score service is currently said to be the US industry standard for consumer credit risk assessment. Adeptra (http://adeptra.com), a UK software house, with almost 20 years of experience in its market, has emerged as a leading power in customer connectivity in this sector. Cloud based, SaaS configured, and running in voice, SMS, mobile and email to resolve credit-based issues in real-time. In other words, this is technology used by banks to improve customer engagement, and if those banks are (and they mostly are) using FICO scoring systems, then a bigger solution is possible, more dots join up, the banks get to gratefully outsource a bit more functionality, and everyone gets to go home happy, except for players like Equifax who now have to think about what the competitive response may be.
And the reason this intrigues me so much is the timing. FICO have known Adeptra since 2002. In 2007 they became strategic partners as FICO Falcon Fraud Manager was integrated with Adeptra’s package. And of course, as the world has gone mobile and these two players move globally into younger, and thus more mobile-dominated markets, the importance of partnership grew. But acquisition in a $115m cash deal? Only a few years ago that would have had managers talking up the cultural and geographic differences instead of emphasizing the importance of full workflow integrated answers for customers. This is a real step forward in competitive positioning, and could precipitate an arms race in acquisitions in the credit and risk management sector. And I wonder what the FICO Score is on a Royal Prince in a gambling joint?
And my second choice? The Thomson Reuters Life Sciences Partner Ecosystem. Did I miss its real significance when it launched in April? Probably – the title is a long one and so many things are now called Ecosystems that the word has slightly lost its bearings: hence the ironic title of this piece. But I did not lose track of the news that GenoSpace had this week joined this club, which now boasts six members (Accelrys, Entagen, IBDS, INOVA and Symbiosys being the others. GenoSpace (“Own your own genome” www.genospace.com) was a last year start-up which has a passion for the ability of individuals to store and control access to their own genomic data. Others in this group are also users of Thomson Reuters’ Life Sciences data. Particularly interesting to me is IDBS, the lab notebook player, but they all have something in common: they can use Thomson Reuters data to help them build a service and cross-referencing component within their own services and solutions, so that the T-R data becomes an “Intel Inside” element which helps each service sell a more complete solution to each chosen party. This then is a real club, co-operating around the Thomson Reuters Cortellis platform. Here is how they describe it:
“If you are an innovative services and technology-based company with a vested interest in the life sciences, a partnership with Thomson Reuters could enhance your client offerings with comprehensive and timely scientific data and competitive intelligence.
Thomson Reuters supports access to the company’s life sciences information at the point of customer need through application-specific solutions developed by third party partners, creating a mutually beneficial solution for users. These solutions can potentially include data ranging from ontologies, to biological target information and information to support pharmaceutical business development activities.
For more information on how to join the Thomson Reuters Partner Ecosystem for Life Sciences, please email us at: Partnering.Ecosystem@thomsonreuters.com
Note — Thomson Reuters Life Sciences Partners are not resellers and are not authorized to resell Thomson Reuters solutions.”
I included the note at the end deliberately. This is about co-operation and forming communities of interest. Just as FICO must now own its communications pathways to compete, this unit of Thomson Reuters must form collaborative relationships with small or specialized players to intensify the seamlessness of delivered solutions. Both critical trends. And they even go forward in a news free summer break – news free unless you are a Prince, that is.