Profound, Inc.'s Business Intelligence Service: Targeting Th

Article excerpt

A new Windows-based online business intelligence service called Profound promises to deliver comprehensive business information directly to executives desks, conveniently and inexpensively Using Adobe's industry-standard PDF format, Profound delivers documents in their original format, including charts and color. Profound, Inc. announced its product March 21 in New York City.

Profound's behind-the-scenes cross indexing platform--supported by Adobe Acrobat-allows it to search across many thousands of publications, reports, and briefings in seconds. It also uses natural language--supported by Profound's own InfoSort technology--as opposed to Boolean operators or database-specific terminology, and searches these words as subjects rather than as keyworks, so your search results automatically return more useful hits. InfoSort generates detailed indexes for market research and broker reports before the user views or purchases the information, saving time and money.

Profound "provides a single source for information needs, allowing 'one-stop-shopping' for all of a user's business intelligence requirements," according to a Profound, Inc. press release.

At the press conference, held at the New York Public Library, Daniel Wagner, chief executive of Profound, Inc., discussed and demonstrated Profound, explaining its operation, its features, and its pricing. Wagner emphasized that a great deal of information is included in the basic price, and you can use the services and tables of contents to narrow your search before even tapping into the active online part of the service that incurs the per-hour charges.

"This is the first online service designed to keep you offline," Wagner quipped.

Pricing

The pricing is indeed competitive: $19.95 per month, plus $6.95 per hour for the online work. Downloading the full text of certain reports costs extra. This supports the company's efforts to target "the millions of businesses that need timely business information but find professional online databases awkward or cost-prohibitive," according to the company.

Profound not only keeps a running tally of the costs, but alerts users to those costs before they are incurred. For instance, when users filed reports that they want to download, they press a key to indicate that they want the information. Profound displays a message that says, for example, "The price for this report will be $15.50" and asks if they still want to order. That way there are no surprise bills.

The powerful AutoSearch interface guides users through the process of indepth searching through these extensive Profound databases:

* Researchline--covers 40,000 market research surveys from leading publishers

* Newsline--news articles and abstracts covering 4,000 serials from 190 countries; updated continuously

* Companyline--financial, annual, and quarterly reports on over 4 million companies

* Brokerline--reports from leading brokerage houses

* Countryline--reports, economic forecasts, and analyses on 180 countries

Two Levels of Service

Profound's services and features are divided into "regular services," included in the monthly membership fee and hourly online charge, and "extended services," where the price prompts appear as information is ordered. The regular membership services Include:

* Custom Alert--daily, automatic subject searching; hits are signalled and the news headlines and report titles are displayed

* News Now--continuously updated news on business, politics, sports, and general news

* Market Snapshots--key facts on 300 consumer and industrial markets covering the U. …