How Dun & Bradstreet is supercharging the cloud's growth

Susannah Lee

One the biggest technological shakeups in business over the last decade has been the move to the cloud. Companies like Salesforce (CRM) and Amazon (AMZN) have become synonymous with this shift. But one 174 year-old firm is also trying to capitalize on the change by leveraging its biggest resource -- data.

“Dun & Bradstreet (DNB) sits on the world’s largest commercial database," said the company’s CEO Bob Carrigan. "We have information on 240 million businesses globally.”

With relationships with nearly 90% of Fortune 500 companies, D&B claims it is best positioned help businesses moving to the cloud. Carrigan said that for some of his software service partners like “NetSuite (N), Oracle (ORCL), and Salesforce, we’re making our data available in those great applications, when and where our customers need them…to make them globally available.”

A lot of that data is being used in the marketing process. The move “from an art to a science” to reach people in a more digital fashion “spells good news for us because all of those interactions throw off more data and they need to figure out how to use that data to competitive edge and new insights about customers,” said Carrigan.

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Dun & Bradstreet is also ptiching some of its big data to those looking to gain a trading edge. It has partnered with 1010data – “who’s customers who are hedge fund manager, traders to hopefully gain alpha by leveraging our data and information about the companies in our database,” said Carrigan.

But D&B is looking at growth through other means besides its cloud business. It recently purchased a couple of companies including Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation and NetProspex. Carrigan hints that the buying spree may not be over. "We have a great pipeline of potential targets but we’re focused very much on how it assists our strategy, and staying in investment grade in our rating as well,” he said.

In March, Fitch downgraded D&B by a notch to ‘BBB’ -- the second-lowest rating above "junk" status -- in part because of its spending on recent acquisitions.

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