CQ Roll Call: Going Big on Analysis


The superheated interest in Big Data and associated analytics continues unabated. As we have long noted however, while there are many ways that data publishers can tap into opportunities created by Big Data, they themselves tend not to be sources of Big Data. That’s not a bug: it’s a feature. So much of the value-add of data publishers come from distilling, organizing and synthesizing of data. Indeed, those data publishers that continue with the old-style model of delivering giant data dumps to their customers are the most challenged players in this more sophisticated and demanding environment.

But despite this intense focus on Big Data and analytics, let’s not forget that there is still real value in all types of analysis, no matter how it’s created. I was reminded of this today while reviewing a new offering from CQ Roll Call. If you’re not familiar with CQ Roll Call, you can think of it as a giant legislative tracking service. For the inside players in Washington, it’s a must-have: it’s the place to go to hear developments first, along with authoritative analysis. But CQ Roll Call also has an “inside sports” aspect to it: an endless series of details wash over you, and if you’re not deeply immersed in a specific piece of legislation, for example, it’s hard to get up to 40,000 feet and see what’s going on over time and in context.

CQ Roll Call is starting to address this need (and likely a latent market as well), with a series of detailed backgrounders, all on high profile topics. They’ve produced 45 of these policy backgrounders to start, with more to come.

What really caught my eye is that these backgrounders, unlike some many that are cranked out by publishers, are designed to be dynamic: they stay up to date. Also of interest is that they are not divorced from the company’s core data product: they link to CQ reporting, the actual text of each bill and other CQ research. It’s an elegant way to tie together a lot of the company’s products with a simple overview designed to encourage drill-downs by those who want to get deeper into the subject. CQ Roll Call touts these reports as a sort of “Wikipedia for policy wonks.”

The simple insight here is that even in the era of Big Data, ALL analysis products remain useful and valuable, and even more so if your content is fast-changing and intricate. Drawing meaning from your content is what your customer do with your data: do if for them and they’ll not only thank you for it, they’ll probably also pay you for it!