Winning the TI Competition

WTD Editorial: Who Will Win the Prospect? PIERS, Datamyne or Zepol?

Recently I received a very intriguing inquiry from a “Prospect” shopping among the various vendors for best Trade Intelligence Application.  For obvious reasons I will omit the specific identity.  However, for background purposes, it is a publicly traded company employing over 50,000 people in 30 countries with annual revenues of almost $150 billion.

“I’ve been trying to research which trade intelligence software is better for our xxxxxxxx division. While I have done demos for Zepol, Piers, and Datamyne I am still unsure as to which one will give us the most accurate weekly data. I know you sold your company to Piers and you might obviously be somewhat favorable of Piers, but which do you honestly think presents the clearest and accurate data?We would like to get a report with the commodity, date, load/discharge port, vessel, consignee. The Zepol reports are all disorganized (because they don’t standardize the commodity/HS code descriptions). Tell me which one you think would be the best for reports.”

You have definitely named the top contenders in your list.  There are over a dozen cheaper providers of the data you’re looking for that I would avoid with the notable exceptions of Panjiva and Import Genius.  Zepol and Datamyne are good, reputable, seasoned companies that have certainly earned the right to be at any negotiating table.  I am personally acquainted with executives at all three companies referred to in your email and can vouch for the professionalism and integrity with which they generally conduct their affairs.  

As you noted, I am somewhat biased and favorable toward PIERS for several reasons, some pertinent to your question, some not. Notwithstanding, you mentioned that your primary concern was accuracy: “the most accurate weekly data” and “the clearest and accurate data”.   In that regard, I believe that PIERS is indisputably and unarguably the winner.  Let me detail: 

  1. They’ve been at the game the longest.  The Journal of Commerce is the oldest publication in the U.S. “Delivering Global Trade and Logistics Intelligence” – since 1827.
  2. PIERS has had many decades working with and refining the many idiosyncrasies and shortcomings inherent within the U.S. Customs Waterborne data.  
  3. During the last several years (since the installation of their new management team) they have made many dramatic improvements to their IT infrastructure and TI applications.
  4. Their acquisition of our innovative (CenTradeX) TI applications and accompanying tech guys put them way ahead of their competitors regarding access, integration and delivery.
  5. The majority of Governmental Organizations, Ports, Carriers and Fortune 500 Companies depend upon them for reliable, accurate timely information. 
  6. They are the ONLY TI provider that offers a TRULY integrated solution; i.e. the dynamic synthesis of multiple data sources which ‘dimensional-ize” the data (thereby increased veracity).

The negatives with PIERS are that you will most assuredly pay more, won’t get as much flexibility regarding terms/conditions and may or may not receive as much personal attention or customer service as with Zepol and Datamyne.

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