Creditreform and Coface, respectively the No. 1 and number 2 in the European Credit Management services sector (company information and receivables management), presented the EasyNumber, a universal identifier for searching and identifying companies, to potential partners in a recent meeting in Brussels, Belgium.

According a press release from the initiating parties, EasyNumber is an innovative solution with a compelling value proposition providing:  Powerful searching to uniquely identify companies anywhere in the world.  Simplified access to a comprehensive and reliable worldwide company database.  Allocation of any business worldwide with a single, unique and universal ID, complementary to national ID numbers.  Quality enhancements to client’s company databases.  Permanent maintenance of worldwide company identification information.  A web-based toolkit to easily integrate services into software applications.  The basis for depicting global company ownership structures. 

For Coface, this project enhances the quality of the information services that we offer companies explains Jerome Cazes, CEO of Coface. “We have now exceeded the 25 million mark in terms of the number of companies listed.   Our aim is to reach 44 million by the end of the year and to cover most European countries and the United States. The goal is to have 50 million companies on the EasyNumber repository as early as 2008.”  According to Udo Pyszny, CEO of Creditreform, there is currently no open and effective solution available which is capable of creating a unique, global business identifier and providing access to a standardized global business repository.  Due to its open and neutral approach, the EasyNumber will create significant opportunities for internationally operating businesses.  An open solution to be made available via an open partner network.

EasyNumberis the first open initiative of this scale and in order to promote the widest possible adoption by internationally operating companies, its objective is to be used and distributed very widely by business information companies of all types, e.g. credit information companies, credit insurers, marketing information companies, debt management companies, CRM software companies, system integrators, etc. The EasyNumber also involves a large-scale software infrastructure and will have a specific organization.. Stephen Lord of Coface will lead all Production activities and will notably be responsible for all operational, technical and fulfillment aspects of the Easy system.  Richard Dey of Creditreform will lead all Sales & Marketing activities and will notably be responsible for promoting the service and developing the network of Easy partners. Presented for the first time to partners today, the EasyNumber and the Easy web-based services will officially be made available to customers in January, 2008.    Source: Creditreform and Coface Press Releases

BIIA Commentary: Apart from local company tax and corporate registration numbers there are now three universal company Identification numbers:  D-U-N-S® Number (owned by D&B) has been the leading universal numbering system for over forty years.  It is endorsed by many international industry association and governmental institutions.  D&B database has over 110 million companies linked to the D-U-N-S® Number.  In 2006 Equifax acquired Austin Tetra, a b2b information company.  The cornerstone of Austin-Tetra’s offerings is the A-T Number®, a unique nine-digit identifier for individual business entities such as parent companies, subsidiaries, headquarters and branches.  Austin Tetra’s database is said to contain 30 million businesses.  The Creditreform / Coface EasyNumber initiative is the third standard to be introduced in b2b in company identification.

BIIA Newsletter July – 2007 Issue