Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Owler uses crowdsourcing for competitive intelligence

Owler delivers curated news and company profiles to mobile devices

Article comments

Jim Fowler first took on the likes of Dun and Bradstreet as CEO of Jigsaw, which used crowdsourcing to collect and curate business contact data, and now, after selling the company to Salesforce.com in 2010, he has launched Owler, which wants to take on competitive intelligence providers through -- you guessed it -- crowdsourcing.

"We want Owler to become the go-to place for business professionals when they need information about companies," Fowler said in an interview.

Information on business should also be interactive and continuously updated, something that isn't possible with a static report, Fowler said.

Interactivity is the difference between Owler and InfoArmy, which was the startup's original name. InfoArmy used a network of researchers around the world who created company reports that got updated periodically.

There was little demand for the reports, forcing a strategic change last year.

Owler takes a two-fold approach to competitive intelligence, delivering it in a browser or through a new mobile application.

Users choose which companies they want to track and then Owler delivers business news roundups about the companies via email or the app, along with breaking news alerts to their phones.

The other component is Poll Builder, which Owler members can use to create polls about companies they're interested in learning more about. Users who view company profiles can then answer the polls.

For example, a yes-or-no poll on Oracle that appeared on its Owler profile Wednesday asked whether the company would take market share away from Salesforce.com this year.

As soon as the user chooses a poll answer, the aggregate results pop up on the screen and another poll quickly appears.

Users can choose to skip polls if they desire, but the polls' simple design is intended to keep people clicking, building up a larger and larger pool of data and presumably, more reliable results.

Where Owler's approach gets trickier is with respect to privately held companies, which don't have to disclose much about their finances or operations, unlike publicly traded ones.

When it comes to polls that ask questions such as how much revenue a private company pulled in last quarter, the results should be placed in the right perspective, according to Fowler.

"We're telling people, this is what the market thinks," he said. "At a bare minimum, it's going to get the sentiment."

About 4,000 people took part in a private beta for Owler, and the more people who sign up, the more reliable the poll data will become, Fowler said.

The Owler mobile app is now available for iOS devices and will be released for Android "as quickly as we can get it done," Fowler said.

There's no charge to sign up. Owler plans to generate revenue in a number of ways, such as by selling the raw information through an API (application programming interface) or selling demographic data obtained through the polls.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com



Share:

More from Techworld

More relevant IT news

Comments



Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *