Magazine article Information Today

A Look at the Scientific Business of Thomson Reuters

Magazine article Information Today

A Look at the Scientific Business of Thomson Reuters

Article excerpt

In the 9 months since the Thomson Corp. merged with Reuters Group, PLC to form Thomson Reuters, the consolidation has proved to be a good move.

"The first 6 months [were] interesting for us, but I think it's a great marriage of two really strong businesses," says Vin Caraher, president and CEO of the Scientific business of Thomson Reuters. "The Reuters reputation speaks for itself on the media side and the financial community." Reuters brought a range of global bases to the table; the Thomson Corp. added healthcare, legal, and tax and accounting, along with its financial and scientific arms, of course.

"As you know, more than half of Scientific's revenues come from outside the U.S.," says Caraher. The Scientific business provided about 6% of the Thomson Reuters total revenues in 2008, which translates to about $600 million. "In terms of market share overall, 6% is a valuable asset to the overall portfolio," he says. "The important thing too is that we [Scientific] generate a good amount of cash that is reinvested into the business."

In 2004 when Caraher stepped in as president of then-Thomson Scientific, the company and the world were quite different places. Caraher speaks from a vantage point of being with the company for many years, having moved up from his role as executive vice president of academic, government, and services markets, while overseeing sales and marketing for ISI worldwide. Before that, he was senior vice president of product line development at Thomson Scientific, and he had previously spent several years in publishing and banking.

"Since that time [2004], life has changed pretty dramatically," he says. "We've acquired a number of different businesses, I think about 15 different acquisitions over that time." He says the Scientific business of Thomson Reuters has "solidified what our strategy is in terms of where we want to play in the global arena in R&D." Caraher points to three key areas: scholarly research that includes the use of the Web of Knowledge, drug development aided by the single-platform Thomson Pharma, and intellectual property via Thomson Innovation.

"During the past 4 years, we've really been pulling these pieces together," he says. It took time and energy to unravel the infrastructures in the businesses, many of which were siloed, and the hundreds of products that each had its own culture.

Weathering Economic Turmoil

During these times of economic unrest, companies around the world are tightening belts and trimming costs wherever they can, small and large enterprises alike. "Nobody is shielded, given what's going on now with economic turbulence and uncertainty," says Caraher. But the strategy of the Scientific business of Thomson Reuters hasn't changed. "We're still trying to partner with our customers to provide valuable information that helps them make decisions to accelerate research and discovery. None of that changes," he says.

"But I think that despite these tough economic times, R&D is still the lifeblood of organizations," he says. "Information is still absolutely critical to fuel that economy." Caraher sees his company and its customers as important partners. "We work with our customers to make sure that we're really adding value, that we're really helping corporations, pharmas, and communities get the right information at the right time so they can make the right decisions."

In light of these trying times, Caraher says the business continues to work closely with the company's customer base. …

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