Almost a year ago today, May 5, 2010. PIERS officially purchased certain CenTradeX Assets, primarily several software Trade Intelligence Applications including PIERS Prospects. Importantly they also hired key CenTradeX technology staff, namely Chuck Wigand, Jared Guy and David Burks. After the sale was completed, the newly acquired tech team went to work on wiring up the Prospects application to the PIERS database engine. PIERS had spent considerable resources over the previous 18 months overhauling their legacy systems with newer, “beefier” technology. Perhaps the rewiring task was not as complicated as open heart surgery, but it was certainly more difficult than replacing an automobile engine. Anyway, winter that same year, they were ready to launch.
Prospects is unique in the world of Trade Intelligence. It combines many data sources into one easy to use graphic interface. U.S. Customs Waterborne Import data is matched with D&B Company information as well as various statistical sources. In addition, PIERS adds their proprietary export data (at this point they are the ONLY game in town able to offer data on daily exports) as well as some supplemental referential databases. One of the coolest things about Prospects is that all this data, from individual shipment detail to highly aggregated summary, is searchable by product, company, or region.
I haven’t utilized the system since the acquisition but have made a cursory review of the wrappings. A couple things stood out. There is a well put together product brochure: Prospects Product Brochure . They created a fairly comprehensive training video you can view (after providing a bit of summary information): Prospects Training Video. They also offer live on-line training several times a week. Overall, good support I think. One change I noticed is that the user interface comes armed with additional search features that allow for more specificity. Thankfully, it seems to have maintained it’s signature graphic appeal and efficient engineering. I will soon put it through the paces and give it a full evaluation… and let you know the details.
A bit of history and background. Initially, Prospects was an iteration of one of our (CenTradeX) applications called “SEEDS” (State Export and Economic Development System). At the time, our primary markets were to state trade offices, world trade centers, trade associations, educational institutions and other non-profits. A friend and business associate, Jack Fain, who at the time was Vice President for Panalpina (a major NVOCC), worked closely with us to modify SEEDS to function as a prospecting tool for his U.S. Sales force. It took several months of dialoging back and forth with his sales team and handfuls of revisions, but Prospects was the result.
Several other global supply chain folks added their two cents over the subsequent year or two, but the result is an application that was built with the customer in mind because a customer(s) designed it. PIERS Prospects therefore is THE ideal prospecting tool. It has been and is being used by many companies within the International Trade Industry to pinpoint buyers of their particular products or services. You can find out more about the features of PIERS Prospects by visiting their website. PIERS Prospects Information.
If you have used (or are using) PIERS (or previously CenTradeX) Prospects please comment on your experience with the product.