Survey of Trade Intelligence Providers: Review, Recap & Regards- Part 1

For six sequential weeks, notwithstanding last week’s respite to introduce two new contributing authors and some fresh topics, we have focused upon Trade Intelligence Providers – both “top tier” and secondary players, taking an in-depth look at their products / interfaces along with their respective strengths and weaknesses.*

And to qualify, the type and kind of TI providers I chose to highlight and contrast were those who offered U.S. Customs data: Waterborne Transport, U.S. Import, Shipping Manifest (Bill of Lading) records collected and disseminated daily.  Why single out that ONE specific database as the qualifier for “Trade Intelligence” providers?

After all, there are many types and kinds of trade data – transactional, statistical, company and referential.   Trade Intelligence is about using information, connecting dots and making informed business decisions within the international trade arena.  It isn’t about one kind of data.

The reasons I focused upon those companies and applications that utilize this type of data are manifold:

  • Customs data is inherently the most powerful data source.
  • Customs data is the most obtuse, complex type of data.
  • Customs data is still the most underutilized resource.
  • Customs data offers abundant opportunities for innovation.

Another personal aspect of my preoccupation comes from the sizeable investment – in time, money, energy and resources – that I have made to understand, innovate and commercialize U.S. Customs Data.   And, as regular readers of this blog will recount, I maintain considerable unique technological assets that I consider to be superior and extremely valuable for which I desire to attract future sales and/or license fees for the utilization of such as well as potential consulting /development contracts (within the context of the “non-compete” clauses of my PIERS acquisition agreement).  So, those are my gratuitous commercial objectives.

Bottom-line, there are a plethora of data types and sources that are important.  The Holy Grail of Trade Intelligence is about “connecting the dots” to uncover not only the trends but also the trend makers… seeing the “big picture” and being able to drill down to the pixels if required… breaking down the supply chain to understandable and consumable pieces… applying knowledge to empower and enable more intelligent business decisions.

Conducting this recent in-depth investigation has challenged several preconceived notions that I maintained about the Trade Intelligence players and their products.  There have been many noteworthy developments in the field over the last several years.  That being said, there remain HUGE opportunities within the TI field and an ongoing need for vision and innovation.

*This post is republished.

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