"At Amber Road, we talk about global trade knowledge as opposed to global trade content because there are literally millions of pieces of data that are required to support global trade software, but the data alone does not provide what customers need," says Hardenburgh. "You also have to have the logic to use that data to effectively comply with rules and regulations."
Amber Road maintains global knowledge for 125 countries, which in 2011 represented more than 9 million records. "Our team constantly is out there monitoring the rules and regulations from all these countries, looking for changes or updates," he says. "We have in-country experts, who are not only country and language specialists, but also possess domain expertise." These trade specialists have at least one advanced degree, such as mechanical, pharmaceutical or chemical, because each industry has a lot of specialized terminology and trade issues, he says.
These front line specialists monitor each country for changes in rules and regulations so these can be quickly added to the software's knowledge base, Hardenburgh says. "Keep in mind, that different countries are at different levels of development," he says. "While some may be able to disseminate this information electronically, there still are countries putting information out on paper. We have to take that, read it and analyze it and then put it into a computer readable format so it ultimately can go into our global knowledge base and be actionable by our customers."
The beauty and challenge of global trade is that it is constantly evolving, says Hardenburgh. "There are always new rules and regulations and new conflicts that result in trade barriers and we have to stay on top of all of those. We are always building new tools to help us better automate our global knowledge." As governments develop and evolve, the overall trend is for information to be more accessible, he says. "We stay in close contact with governments around the world to make sure we are keeping abreast of developments and to provide the highest quality product for our customers."
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