Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE:DNB) got its start in New York in 1841. As America entered the Industrial Revolution, it needed information service providers such as D&B. Thanks to that long history, D&B no doubt has a deep perspective on the evolving needs of businesses and has changed its own strategy accordingly.

D&B's key technology is known as DUNSRight, which provides quality information to its business customers. Its database is huge, with information on more than 83 million companies from 214 countries. The database is refreshed about a million times per day.

A few years ago, D&B looked like a tired company that was unable to keep up with such things as the Net. Since then, the company has taken a variety of actions to refocus the business. This has meant making key acquisitions, such as for Hoover's, as well as division spin-offs and re-engineering initiatives.

Yesterday, the company announced its third-quarter results. D&B posted earnings of $47.5 million, which was up $28.8 million from the same period a year ago. This was in line with analysts' estimates. However, revenues were basically flat at $333.2 million. The company has about $193.8 million in the bank. It also repurchased $53.2 million of its common stock during the quarter.

D&B's purchase of Hoover's was certainly prescient. For example, in the third quarter, the e-business division posted revenues of $12.9 million, which was up 54%. The e-business segment is also providing cross-sale opportunities for other D&B products.

The company is also mindful of its cost structure and is seeking opportunities to outsource noncore business processes. It's a trend that is affecting many businesses. Yesterday, for instance, D&B announced that it will outsource elements of its data acquisition and delivery, customer service, and financial processes to IBM (NYSE:IBM). That should help provide improve performance and, most importantly, free up more resources for the company to invest in the growth segments of its business.

Fool contributor TomTaulli does not own shares mentioned in this article.