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Web Data Integration: Revolutionizing the Way You Work with Web Data

Web Data Integration: Revolutionizing the Way You Work with Web Data

There’s no denying that organizations are leveraging web data every day. The web represents the single, largest data source – a data source that is growing exponentially and changes constantly. It is where equity and financial research, retail and manufacturing, and travel and hospitality businesses go to find the most up-to-date information that can be used to inform decision-making, fuel investment models, provide alternative data sets, and offer insights.

Businesses around the world are losing trillions of dollars due to lack of timely access to high- quality data. In fact, IBM estimates that poor-quality data costs businesses in the U.S. more than $3 trillion annually. Today, organizations trying to leverage web data use a technique called web scraping. But just as the internet has brought a revolution to information by making it possible to access almost any information, communicate with anyone else in the world, and so much more, organizations can do better when it comes to leveraging web data – they can use a Web Data Integration (WDI) approach.

 

A More Sophisticated Perspective on Web Scraping

WDI is an emerging category – a revolution – that does away with the need for traditional web scraping. Web Data Integration is a new approach to acquiring and managing web data that focuses on data quality and control. It still achieves the same objectives as web scraping, but it is much more sophisticated, providing an end-to-end solution that treats the entire web data lifecycle as a single, integrated process.

Web scraping is in fact a component of Web Data Integration, but Web Data Integration also allows you to:

  • extract data from non-human readable output (hidden data)

  • programmatically extract data several screens deep into transaction flows

  • perform calculations and combinations to data to make it richer and more meaningful

  • cleanse the data

  • normalize the data

  • apply additional QA processes

  • transform the data

  • integrate the data not just via files but APIs and streaming capabilities

  • extract data on demand

  • analyze data with change, comparison, and custom reports

 

Web Data Integration Unlocks the Value of Web Data

According to Opimas Research, total spend on Web Data Integration is estimated to hit $5 billion in 2019. Given this reporting on estimated spend, it seems that as companies urgently try to become “data-driven” as a part of digital transformation, they are also stepping up their game when it comes to web data, the value of it, and how they work with it.

Ovum reports that when treated as a single, holistic workflow (from web data extraction to insight) with the same level of data validation discipline that is normally accorded to conventional BI data or big data, web data can yield valuable insights. This is the value of a Web Data Integration approach – and why Import.io has developed an end-to-end Web Data Integration platform to better serve the need to treat the web data each company (or each team) needs as the valuable data set that it truly is.

As market research, business intelligence, analyst, and data teams in companies from a broad range of industries continue to realize the value that can be found in datasets that reside outside of their organizations’ walls, they will undoubtedly turn to the web as a key source of intelligence. High-quality Web Data Integration solutions enable the speedy and repeatable automation of web data capture and aggregation to fuel a broad array of mission critical strategies like:

  • staying a step ahead of the competition by monitoring pricing from rival retailers or manufacturers

  • rating the financial health of companies through indicators such as sentiment expressed in industry blogs, social media, or news aggregator sites

  • gauging risk by tracing product reviews to gain insights into product quality or perceptions.

Data from the web complements conventional enterprise analytic data or big data by adding evidence or providing context. And, for those companies who realize the need to go beyond traditional web scraping, Web Data Integration will provide a competitive edge by yielding hidden insights about the market.

Ready to employ a Web Data Integration approach to your web data strategy? Speak with a data expert from the Import.io team to best leverage web data for your business.

 

The Path to Web Data: Build or Buy?

 

You know that the best data about your customers, your competitors and your market exists outside of your organization, out there, on the web. You know how valuable this web data is to your business, but the data on the web is not structured or organized to be read by machines; it is formatted to be read by humans and would be difficult for you to harness the value of web data at scale. You may wonder how you can tap into this wonderful resource available on the web. Perhaps you are considering buying a commercially available solution or maybe you are thinking that your internal team could build some web scrapers.

Companies are beginning to realize the true value that web data can deliver to an organization. However, many companies considering web scraping and web data integration struggle with the usual question that arises around technology adoption: Should we build, or should we buy?

The answer is: It depends.

The traditional method for making a website machine-readable known as web scraping (aka web data extraction) has not kept up with the technology that powers the web which is getting more sophisticated and complex.  Many considerations inform a buy vs. build decision including the obvious, such as cost; and others that are not so obvious, such as what level of accuracy you require.

 

When Building Makes Sense:

  • The company has an extraordinary set of requirements that cannot be satisfied by commercially available products or services

  • The company has sensitive security requirements and very specialized operational workflows

  • The company has the financial resources, technical talent and operational experience necessary to meet the demands of enterprise-level software development

  • The company has a demonstrated history of delivering custom data sets and solutions on time and on budget

 

When Buying Makes Sense:

  • If 90% of the company’s web data extraction needs can be met by the web data extraction solution of interest

  • The company’s priority is to devote internal technology resources toward its core competency, not extracting web data

  • The company does not have an interest in hiring personnel to support web data extraction projects nor do they have access to seasoned technology personnel, in-house or at a third-party, that is well versed in web data extraction

  • The company wants to leverage the expertise of a dedicated web data extraction service provider to deliver on your requirements using the same disciplined approach that focuses on quality and control

 

Import.io – the leading Web Data Integration solution provider -- examined each consideration to help you make the right decision for your business.  Download the whitepaper and use it as a guide for helping you decide whether your web data needs are best served by a commercial data extraction platform/provider or by building and maintaining web data extraction scripts.

No matter the path taken – build or buy – a company considering adopting a web data extraction technology will do well to understand the features that are required of a best-in- class data extraction technology. In terms of building, given the amount of money that will need to be invested, having a clear understanding about the features present in state-of-the-art web data extraction will serve as a valuable road map when implementing a solution.

Making the right choice for your business takes research and preparation, but those efforts can pay off in multiple ways. Regardless of the means of implementation – build or buy – web data extraction technology is a key asset for any company that needs to gather and process information that exists only in the web pages of the billions of websites that exist on today’s Internet. By following the advice in this guide, we hope you can find the solution that’s ideal for your company’s unique requirements.

>>> Download the white paper <<<

 

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