CATEGORY: Data Acquisition, Transformation & Replication

REVIEWER: Jim Dorman, vice president of sales and marketing for Staples.

BACKGROUND: Staples, Inc. is an $11 billion retailer of office supplies, business services, furniture and technology to consumers and businesses from home-based businesses to Fortune 500 companies in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal. Headquartered outside Boston, Staples invented the office superstore concept and today is the largest operator of office superstores in the world. The company has more than 50,000 employees serving customers through more than 1,300 office superstores, mail order catalogs, e-commerce and a contract business.

PLATFORMS: IBM ThinkPad T21 laptops and HP Vectra desktops.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Staples' offices maintain a unique prospect and customer database for assigned territories. Prior to implementing D&B Market Spectrum Web from D&B, our field staff compiled databases using secondary sources such as the yellow pages, local business listings and customer referrals. Our field staff recognized that there was no formal methodology for insuring leads entered into databases that represented the best and most qualified sales leads. Staples licensed D&B Market Spectrum in 1998. Market Spectrum was implemented as the primary information tool to provide the most qualified sales leads to sales representatives and the direct marketing team in addition to eliminating undesirable leads based on qualifications. Staples upgraded to D&B Market Spectrum Web in January 2000. With the Web version, we are able to provide the sales team with remote access to targeted prospects and accurate, reliable information needed to make more efficient and intelligent business decisions. With this information, we are outpacing our closest competitor and achieving industry-leading growth rates.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: D&B Market Spectrum Web functions superbly as the core of Staples lead-generation source and scalable, portable database. D&B Market Spectrum Web is a powerful decision-support tool that provides insights, sparks ideas and generates profits. This product uses the power of the Internet to bring disparate customer and third-party data together with D&B's global data network, functionally creating a data warehouse with virtually limitless data mining capabilities.

STRENGTHS: We have used the desktop version of D&B Market Spectrum and have recently upgraded to D&B Market Spectrum Web. We are very pleased with the additional enhancements. Market Spectrum Web is very flexible and intuitive and has been instrumental in the growth of our business development of 20 to 30 percent in the past three years.

WEAKNESSES: D&B Market Spectrum is cumbersome in its quarterly updates. D&B is currently addressing this area of concern.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Staples selected D&B Market Spectrum Web on the basis of the strength and integrity of the underlying D&B data and because the system is extremely user-friendly. We researched similar available products and feel that D&B Market Spectrum Web is not only affordable, but also the most comprehensive product available in the marketplace today.

DELIVERABLES: Our migration from D&B Market Spectrum to D&B Market Spectrum Web was entirely seamless to our users. D&B Market Spectrum Web creates a variety of Web-based reports that can be exported and uploaded to our field sales force. This significantly increased our productivity and cut down on unnecessary spending.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Staples is supported by an experienced team of senior D&B associates who provide class "A" support both before and after system implementation. The best part of working with D&B is the complete attention to Staples' needs.

DOCUMENTATION: D&B Market Spectrum Web is very easy to use. The D&B associates were present through the entire installation and clearly explained the implementation process. The D&B Market Spectrum Web system arrives with abundant documentation and if we had to rely on the documentation to learn about the product, we would have no problem getting up to speed.

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