Online Databases – Developments in recent years

Lucky Ai,

Since SVP was founded more than 40 years ago, our experts have worked with a variety of databases. SVP uses press and study databases, company databases and many specialized databases to obtain information and carry out analyses of markets and companies.

SVP closely monitors how database features have changed over time. How do providers deal with data quality, data volume, innovations, customer service and, last but not least, pricing?

The development trends

According to the DIW, there is a continuing trend towards market concentration in the service industry, with market shares being distributed among fewer and fewer providers. These few providers gain a strong market power, which leads to higher prices and less competition.

Mergers and acquisitions

Examples in the database segment include the takeovers of Bureau van Dijk by Moody’s and IHS Markit by S&P Global Inc. Since some areas overlap between these major providers, e.g. the import/export analysis tools Panjiva and Piers, this can lead to cannibalization.

Mergers and acquisitions are often accompanied by outsourcing measures. For example, help desks and support services are relocated from Europe to Asia, which may lead to a lack of transparency in customer support and contractual issues. The personal relationship with the customer, which is particularly important for both sides in the service sector, is often missing.

Price increases

Price increases are not only characteristic of large providers. The prices of some database providers have increased by up to 30 percent in the last 5 years. Sometimes price increases are hidden and a result of the removal of inclusive services or restrictions on use. Although new functions or layouts and display methods are often added, improvements in quality are rarely made.

Incorrect or outdated key figures

In the case of company databases, it often happens that different, sometimes incorrect or outdated key figures are displayed for a company. For example, a value for revenue is provided, which, after checking the original documents, turns out to be a gross profit value. This is due to a number of factors, such as the quality of data from third-party providers, changes in consolidation that have not been taken into account, or the model calculations used by some databases.

As an MI expert, you often have to evaluate several databases and other sources to be sure that you get the right company figures. Often, you also have to conduct a search in the press. In rare cases, when it comes to unlisted companies from China, the USA or “exotic” countries, we seek support from our local colleagues on the ground.

On the other hand, there have also been some very positive changes for customers.

It has been recognized that users want a better visualization of results and a clearer website navigation. Patent database providers such as Patbase and Patsnap must be mentioned here. 


The topic of sustainability in conjunction with company valuations has gained in importance in recent years. Providers such as S&P and Moody’s have recognized this and offer sustainability ratings for individual companies as well as for some industries and countries.

Artificial intelligence

Of course, the topic of AI is not to be missed out in this overview. Data base providers increasingly integrate AI tools. For example, Springer Professional and LexisNexis have done so with the purpose of making searches more efficient and improve the quality of search results.

These are new developments, so it is still too early to assess their effectiveness and usefulness. SVP will keep an eye on this and keep you updated.

SVP is in close contact with many database providers and is happy to provide feedback on the topics of use, handling and data accuracy. This leads to quality improvements and greater satisfaction on both sides.

If you have any questions or require further information about databases, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Vadim Orlovskij, Market Intelligence Expert