Dun & Bradstreet CEO Talks About New Microsoft Partnership – Forbes

Microsoft and Dun & Bradstreet announced a significant strategic partnership today. Dun & Bradstreet—a respected and reliable source of business data for almost two centuries—has chosen Microsoft Azure as its cloud platform, and is teaming up with Microsoft to make Dun & Bradstreet data available through Microsoft Dynamics 365.

The announcement from Microsoft and Dun & Bradstreet outlines three primary pillars of the new relationship: Dun & Bradstreet will use Microsoft’s Azure as its cloud platform, Dun & Bradstreet data will be made available through Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft’s Common Data Service, and Microsoft and Dun & Bradstreet will enter into a co-selling arrangement beginning later this year.

There are few companies in the world that have existed as long as Dun & Bradstreet. The company established itself as a trusted source of crucial data on businesses—data that helps investors and other businesses evaluate relationships and make intelligent decisions. The reason it is still around after 176 years, though, is its ability to adapt and evolve. Embracing the cloud and modernizing Dun & Bradstreet data with a data-as-a-service offering integrated with Microsoft Dynamics 365 is precisely the kind of flexibility and vision that will allow Dun & Bradstreet to be around another 176 years.

Bob Carrigan, Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet

Image credit Dun & Bradstreet

Bob Carrigan, Chairman and CEO of Dun & Bradstreet

I had a chance to speak with Dun & Bradstreet CEO Bob Carrigan about the new alliance with Microsoft. Bob is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Dun & Bradstreet, the world’s leading source of commercial information and insight on businesses. He has led the company as CEO since October 2013 and was appointed Chairman in December 2016. As a quick “It’s a small world” aside, I actually sort of worked for Bob for a while. He was CEO of IDG Communications during part of the time that I was a freelance contributor to PCWorld.

Carrigan talked about how Dun & Bradstreet had expanded its scope over time—moving from strictly trade credit data to helping companies manage and monitor supply chains, compliance management, and prospect and lead management. One of the keys over time, though—especially in the past few decades—has been technology.

Carrigan explained that technology is the key enabler for Dun & Bradstreet. Dun & Bradstreet provides data on over 265 million businesses around the world. That information is updated 5 million times per day from over 30,000 sources. Technology is crucial for Dun & Bradstreet to be able to keep up with the sheer volume and pace of data.

The partnership with Microsoft, and the strategic decision to embrace Azure and integrate with Microsoft Dynamics 365 are all part of an effort to move to a data-as-a-service delivery model. Carrigan told me that D-U-N-S Number and other Dun & Bradstreet core business data will be integrated for Microsoft Dynamics 365 customers. He told me that embedding data and analytics directly in customers’ workflow will allow customers to be more agile and take action on the information more seamlessly.

“We want our customers to have the most up-to-date data when they need it and where they want it,” said Josh Peirez, president and chief operating officer of Dun & Bradstreet, in the press release announcing the partnership. “By partnering strategically with Microsoft, we can take advantage of the scale and speed of cloud-based technologies, accelerate our innovation, and power seamless access to our data and insights. By delivering our content through the cloud, our customers will better discover — and grow — their most valuable business relationships.”

It is not easy to balance the legacy of a venerable company like Dun & Bradstreet and adapt to the shifting business and technology landscape. Thousands of companies—some very successful ones—have crumbled and faded away over the last 176 years, but Dun & Bradstreet is still a leader in its field.

Carrigan explained that what Dun & Bradstreet provides is more than just business data. It helps customers understand how businesses around the world are inter-connected—who is doing business with whom. Dun & Bradstreet also delivers predictive analytics. It detects and analyzes patterns around the businesses it monitors to identify which make payments on time and which may pay late or not at all; which will flourish and which will likely fail entirely.

Access to accurate—and current—data is critical to making intelligent and effective business decisions. By betting on Azure and teaming up with Microsoft to integrate Dun & Bradstreet data with Microsoft Dynamics 365, Dun & Bradstreet is evolving its business model with the times. It seems like a win-win for both Microsoft and Dun & Bradstreet customers.

Read more of my writing at TechSpective.net, and follow me on social media (links at TechSpective). You can contact me directly at tony@techspective.net.

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