How To Track Usage Of Your Online Information Subscriptions
While financial market data managers have a much better idea today of what online subscription-based data services their firm subscribes to, they almost never know how much of the data from these services is actually being used.
To date, managers have either just ordered services when required, or if they wanted any way to gauge usage they had to go on self-certification from their end-users, which is a highly manual process and not always a true reflection of what is actually being used.
Identifying the lack of automated usage tracking as a real need amongst the customer base was the primary reason behind TRG’s acquisition late last year of Priory Solutions. We are now in the process of bringing the companies and the product lines together and speaking with customers about the opportunities to help solve the usage-tracking problem for market data managers and other information service administrators.
Steve Matthews, CEO of TRG, explains that while TRG has a strong proposition in FITS in providing complete transparency into spend on various information sources, there was an obvious piece missing. “Although we could tell our clients what they were spending, we couldn’t tell them whether that information source was in use or not. What Priory Solutions has built very successfully in the legal business is a way to provide that usage tracking capability through its ResearchMonitor service. By combining the FITS spend transparency with the Research Monitor usage tacking we can now enable our clients to truly optimize their subscription spend.”
ResearchMonitor enables professional and financial services firms to track usage across multiple browser-based information services, including logs of times the services are accessed, navigation paths, downloads, and more. It also offers a password management tool with single sign-on across the services. Its “sweet spot” is handling subscriptions by many users or with a lot of complexity in their information, says Leigh Walters, who joined Priory as a managing director in January.
Combining this usage tracking for online services with the existing FITS gives full transparency into the spend and value gained across the whole enterprise as well as down to the individual user and can give administrators much greater control over enterprise spend.
Managing Spend in the Subscription Economy
Matthews says, “This ties into the subscription economy that TRG serves. Even in our home lives, many of us subscribe to multiple services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, online news services, but it can quickly get out of control and we don’t know if we’re making full use out of all of them. If you translate that into the corporate world, the challenge is infinitely greater with hundreds or thousands of users all subscribing to multiple services and no real transparency into that spend.”
Easy Installation and Cost Savings
FITS users looking at their subscription inventories can see their usage. For FITS clients to run ResearchMonitor, they need only give a list of websites and resources they wish to track, many of which will already be in the system. If any of those resources are not already tracked, they can be quickly added, Matthews says. “We need only two hours of their internal IT time, a couple hours of their business team’s time, and we can get them up and running.”
Research Monitor’s pricing is a scaled plan that grows based on the number of end users, rather than the number of sources being tracked. Priory does offer economies-of-scale discounts for greater numbers of users. “A typical firm is looking to save from 5 to 30% on subscriptions,” says Walters. “The savings more than offsets the ResearchMonitor payments in the first couple months.”
Priory also offers another service called Quest, which is a research ticketing system to help law firms and research teams manage inbound requests for information services, which may also be useful to existing TRG clients.
Matthews says, “We will continue to build out the product sets, and will seek to grow Priory’s market share in the legal sector – where it already has half of all the top 100 law firms as clients – and TRG’s globally. We are in the process of creating an industry advisory board for Priory as we have for TRG in order to partner with clients, to hear what they want and understand where they want to take the products. Our commitment is to invest in the future of TRG and Priory.”