If you’ve seen the movie The Iron Giant, you know it’s about a boy and his enormous robot which is capable of doing just about anything and doing it loudly. In a nutshell, that’s how I describe Bloomberg. Where most news services are pulling back on coverage, Bloomberg is expanding. Name an esoteric market instrument and Bloomberg probably carries its data. From around the world to your town’s latest bond offering, Bloomberg covers just about everything market related, which may be why this Goliath commands an estimated third of the $16B global financial data market.
Used by our finance students, Bloomberg is also popular with faculty performing research due to the system’s large data footprint and its easy-to-use Excel add-in. Initial training on the system can take no more than 20 minutes for the new user to be up and searching, or they can enroll into Bloomberg University through the system to gain more expert knowledge. An added bonus, it provides a responsive help desk via chat.
There are drawbacks for the academic user. Because its software is loaded on individual computers, it can’t be accessed through the web. And though it contains an enormous data warehouse, it’s hard to say exactly what’s in there other than to dig through the search engine. Like the Iron Giant, Bloomberg is not the nimblest resource out there, but in terms of comprehensive news and financial information, it’s hard to beat.