There’s a great example of the impact of a rising trends on companies and regions on the stock research page of Fidelity.com today. You can get to this page here.
First look down on the right hand side – you can see the hot topics rising on the web. Not surprisingly Oil and Gas Ecological Issues is the hottest topic.
What you can now do is click through on the rising topic and see which companies are being impacted by it. Clearly BP and Transocean since they are being held accountable, but also the spill over (!) into positives for alternative energy sources like wind which will benefit companies like GE and Siemens.
Scrolling down on the Fidelity.com research page you can see a long list of interesting articles to read which give you a good in-depth view of which companies are impacted most by the tragedy.
On the eve of the rumored Apple tablet announcement, after Apple has just announced the best quarter ever, it’s interesting to look at how we stay on top of a hot topic like Apple rumors.
FirstRain has a topic called “Apple Rumors” because there is an abundance of chatter on the Web trying to answer the question “What’s next for Apple?” and it takes our ranking algorithms to pull out just the interesting stuff and remove the junk, duplication and noise.
The topic works particularly well since we crawl many of the sources of chatter for the company, which include 100s of blogs worldwide that seem to only discuss Apple’s future products. Anyone who has ever followed the blog the Boy Genius Report would know the valuable insight that select bloggers can provide. To reduce the noise on the Web, FirstRain uses a proprietary system to rank blogs in terms of authoritativeness and content quality.
This is how this topic is reported within FirstRain – and you can set up a saved search that will push the ranked web results to you in RSS or email.
In one quick summary using our signals on the right hand side or in the chart, you can see the rumors that may be interesting to follow up with additional research. Or, if you’re about to step into a meeting with Apple or listen to their conference call, the rumors could provide you with ideas for questions of the team.
Will iPhone OS 4.0 use Bing as default search engine?
Will iPhone 4 casing will be touch sensitive?
Will iPhone 4G gets OLED removable battery and video chat?
And you’ll notice what appears to be a possible June launch date for a Verizon iPhone, which has been speculated about for quite some time.
Note – Apple does try to shut down rumors too – as when they sued Think Secret and got it to shut down because it seemed to have too much inside information.
We have a new customer that we have been deploying over the last few months and my sales person sent me an amusing customer commentary today.
The customer is a very large software company in the security business. They are using FirstRain in both sales and marketing to stay current on major customers and market developments, in just minutes a day, never missing any business developments so they can improve their sales performance.
Here’s the message I got:
Earlier this week an account director sent a marketing director the request “do you have anything to help keep me up to date about BP UK”.
The response he got was “We have this really cool service called FirstRain, it’s basically like Google Finance on steroids, with everything in one place” and allocated him one of their remaining licenses.
This customer team has only been actively using FirstRain for a couple of months so it’s great to get their endorsement so early in their deployment (although I am not sure Google Finance on steroids does us justice since we have so much more!).
Got email from a client last week really pleased with the information they had found on FirstRain to help them with a campaign.
Here’s the story: A small software company selling to a large energy utility. They sell software to help automate and improve customer communications.
In this case the sales team was doing a detailed business process analysis to show the utility how much money they could save by upgrading their customer communications, and how they would also improve their quality.
Friday afternoon – meeting with the CIO to present their findings. The CIO walks in, out of sorts, the company had just been in the news as losing customers because of their inability to invoice customers correctly (right in the sweet spot for this sale). On a break during the meeting the sales team looked for the news story – wanting to make sure they understood the severity of the issue and how to use it in their sales cycle. They looked on Google – not there – then on FirstRain – straight to the link and then able to use the research engine to understand the background.
The sales team is now using their additional knowledge to help the customer get on top of their billing issues quickly – and sent us an email saying “Thank you FirstRain”.
(the story is anonymous until they win the contract – then we can name them)
The FirstRain application keeps growing in functionality and today we have announced yet another way you can get to it. We’ve announced our integration with RMS – research management systems.
Todays RMS platforms organize research for the user. Sorting their sell-side research, independent research, internal research etc. into a file folder type of application making it easy to find based on what document is about. Now our research can now be organized and retrieved in the same way.
We have announced our ability to integrate into any RMS platform today – and specifically partnerships with Code:Red and Wall Street On Demand. In both cases, our research results and reports are provided already automatically categorized (tagged) by both the companies they are about and the investment topics they’re about so they easily integrate into the user’s RMS workflow.
The approach we’ve taken is a little different in each case though – as a result of what workflow the end user wants.
In the case of Code:Red we provide an XML feed of our research but we have also integrated our user interface embedded into the Code:Red UI. This means a user can pull up windows into FirstRain – looking at company data, competitor data, management data etc. and they are linked to the companies or topics the user has up in Code:Red system. If the user updates the company in Code:Red, the FirstRain windows also update. All very efficient – and this is the way FirstRain is also integrated into the FactSet Marquee platform today.
In the case of Wall Street On Demand, we provide an XML feed of research results, again pre-tagged by company and topic, which is integrated straight into the end user’s platform so the results show up natively instead of in a FirstRain window. WSOD builds platforms for their client partners and our results are available to our mutual customers. This approach of taking the FirstRain results and using them natively within the end platform is similar to the way FirstRain results are integrated into the Capital IQ platform today.
Both workflows greatly increase the efficiency for the user if the user wants to use RMS as the primary way to organize and access research.
We did these integrations at the request of several end users. Many firms want RMS to work. They want help sorting through the firehose of research they see every day and having it automatically categorized so they can find it easily saves them time, no question. Many users use their email systems today – Outlook or Lotus Notes – and so we are very interested to get involved in helping users find a better way. These partnerships are an important step forward for us, our partners and our mutual customers.
Satyam’s disastrous news of financial fraud two days ago – which sent the stock plummeting again – could have been seen in advance in the turnover at the top at the end of December. The company had struggled with two acquisitions last year – which we now learn were intended as a last ditch effort to fill the gap – but you can see here in the FirstRain management turnover chart of the last 90 days that 4 board members resigned in December, after very little top level turnover for years.
Board of directors mass turnover only usually happens in a private equity buyout where the board is replaced, otherwise mass turnover is a huge leading indicator that something is very wrong – as was clearly the case at Satyam.