Is This The Year Austin Tetra Breaks Out?

Austin Tetra has been relatively silent since their acquisition by Equifax a little over a year ago. And it’s not because Equifax is in a hurry to dissolve the name (unlike D&B who appear to be trying to dissolve the Open Ratings brand as soon as possible), but because they want their new division to be well prepared with a solid offering for the B2B and B2C communities before they re-launch the service offering.

the doctor had a chance to catch up with the business leaders of Austin Tetra, Equifax’s commercial business unit, last month and it sounds like they have been making a lot of progress over the last year. They’ve been busy helping Equifax build a unique global identification system that will compete against the as-to-now relatively unchallenged DUNS # of D&B and Austin Tetra has been making good progress integrating the US, Latin America, European, and other global databases in Equifax’s arsenal into one universal database with one universal classification scheme – a task they expect to complete in the first part of this year.

They’ve also been making great strides in their service offering that pulls business and consumer data together for businesses that need to deal with small businesses on a regular basis and need to determine the risk, especially where the financial stability of the business often comes down to the financial stability of the owner. They can now, for a given small business, pull together the credit history of not only the business, but the owners as well and give you a combined risk or credit score where they have the data integrated.

They’ve also been making strides in compiling their supplier master and customer master databases where, for any given business, they can give you its performance history both as a supplier and as a buyer, as well as their employee master, where they can tell you how much the individual earned at his or her last job if his or her previous employer submitted information to the TALX database (another recent Equifax acquisition) – which has income, salary, and compensation information on approximately 150 M employees in the US.

They’ve also made great strides in their balanced scores, which aren’t just about diversity anymore. Their blended financial / risk scores now take all of the following information into account:

  • public filings (which they monitor and append regularly)
  • denied / debarred party tracking
  • blended score on individual & business credit history for small, private, businesses
  • customer credit risk based on past payment trends
  • diversity information
  • predictive supplier business failure score
    the chance of failure over the next 12 months using all available information

In addition, they’ve been extending their web services platform to make the data instantly available through customers’ current platforms and their current customers are now able to access all this data through multiple platforms that include Oracle, Siebel, and SAP.

In other words, now that they have the support of a 20B business behind them, they’ve been making great strides. However, given that they still believe in the “crawl-walk-run” philosophy when it comes to development and release cycles, they believe that it will likely be the middle of the year before everything is complete and tested (by current customers) to their liking, and hence likely the summer or fall before they attempt to make a big media splash. But that doesn’t mean that, if these are the types of solutions that you need, that you can’t start talking to, and evaluating, them now – or that, if these are the types of solutions that you might need down the road, you can’t keep a watchful eye out to see what they announce this year. Regardless of what happens, now that D&B is about to have a major competitor, I bet you’ll see a lot more innovation in this space over the next few years as the new contender in the space begins its fight for dominance – and that’s a good thing.