Standard & Poor's Research Services, a provider of economic information and forecasting, publishes subscription-based services to Fortune 1000 clients in a wide variety of markets, including automotive and telecommunications to government, consumer and financial industries. Faced with the challenge of how to best deliver its analysis of economic activity to a client list in more than 111 countries, Standard & Poor turned to SkyWorld for the answer.
Asked to explain the problem, Glenn MacDonnell, business manager/global services at Standard & Poor's, elaborated, "We're in the business of information dissemination. At one time it was sufficient to publish and distribute this information to our clients in book format on a quarterly basis. However, the problem with this method was that the information was out-of-date by the time clients received it. With printed materials, our clients were relying on information—risk management, infrastructure analysis, policy evaluation—that was up to three months old; and in today's financial arena, we saw this as impractical and virtually useless."
The most effective way to solve this problem was to utilize Standard & Poor's Web site. MacDonnell recognized the untapped potential of this medium. "Initially, we decided to upload our financial information, research articles and forecasts onto our existing Web site. While this allowed us to deliver more current information to our subscribers, it still wasn't up-to-the-minute as we had hoped and the process remained very labor-intensive. The procedure was still like traditional print publishing, only instead, we were generating PDF files for Web posting. We knew this wasn't the route we wanted to take, long-term. We'd worked with SkyWorld on another project and were impressed by those results, so it seemed natural to ask for their help with this critical challenge."
SkyWorld responded by designing E-conomics, what would become Standard & Poor's new Web-based service for direct-to-Web publishing of forecast data. An interactive, navigable Web site, E-conomics is event driven and Web current. Designed for the way in which Standard & Poor's clients work, the solution brings the company's economic analysis and research to clients faster and easier than before. By publishing directly to the Web, the publisher's analysts can update time-sensitive information daily, weekly or monthly. McDonnell adds, "Instead of starting from scratch every day, our authors simply update what we call islands of information." Users can download data or copy and paste text, receive e-mail alerts about economic information from around the world or even search online documents using keywords. Clients can search inside documents and harvest information they need, rather than being restricted by authors' categories. Five services are currently available using E-conomics, including: International Economics, Pricing and Purchasing, U.S. Macros, U.S. Regional and World Energy.