1. Quicker decisions at lower costs
Whether you are a small or large organisation, live data from the web can help you to make faster and better decisions. Previously, there were two ways to harness this data: write complicated code, or spend your day copy and pasting – a lot.
New tooling means you no longer have to have any technical skills to get the data that you need. For instance, import.io helps you to wrap-up lots of data from various websites, put into a neat little package, and view it all in one single interface. Now, front line employees can now make real-time decisions and take immediate action based on fresh, reliable and relevant information.
2. Start predicting the future now
Your company can see into the future with predictive analytics. We are transitioning into a world where more decisions will become self-learning and self-adjusting. Organisations need to accumulate vast amounts of fresh data from the web so that employees can begin to identify patterns, trends and build innovative models to predict future actions. An excellent article was published in InformationWeek, where Michael Wu, chief scientist of San Francisco-based Lithium Technologies, notes:
“Once you have enough data, you start to see patterns. You can build a model of how these data work. Once you build a model, you can predict.”
Predictive analytics can reveal everything from what consumers are likely to buy to which potential candidate has the appropriate experience and qualities to fill the job role. The finance sector even benefits from predictive analytics, with corporates using business analytics to reduce their time-to-decision making by 13%. You can customize and monitor these vital business analytics on one single dashboard using great visualisation tools such as Geckoboard, so your entire organisation can easily view live data in a simple format and react faster.
3. Lead Generation and Competitive Advantage
Sales and marketing departments rely on fresh data across a range of websites to identify qualified sales leads, keep track of competitor pricing and deliver targeted ad campaigns. Availability of real-time data means that sales are no longer chasing outdated leads, and campaigns can be narrowed down to the most niche customer base.
Quality, relevant data can be quickly acquired. For instance, using import.io you:
Navigate to any website that has the data relevant to your organisation – competitors products, contact details for potential customers – and using our point-and-click interface, you can highlight the data of interest to you such as:
- Company name
- Store Location
- Company / Item Description
Once you have data from these websites you can mix sources together and query them in real-time. Whether you’re an investor looking to monitor up-and-coming startups, a retails company looking to analyze competitor pricing or a recruitment company wanting to track new job posts across, it’s the exact same process.
4. Analyze the success of internal data
Gathering web data on your competitors is hugely important. However, it is equally vital that business’ analyze internal data that they are publishing on the web. There are so many applications for this it’s crazy! A powerful combination of tools that allows you to measure internal success is:
- Moz – Web Analytics Data
- Linkdex – Link metrics Data
- Sprout – Social Success Data
- Your blog – the words used in the titles and text
Producing a dataset using the above tools will inform what articles directed the most traffic to your website, links that earned the most shares across social medias; and what words and phrases resonated with your readers. Our good friends, OKDork and GigaOM provide excellent examples of how they used data to measure the success of their own news stories so in future they know what content resonates with their readers.
5. Location, Location, Location
There is a huge amount of readily available Location Data on the Web, which means you can do all the hard work from the comfort of your office to. Forbes produced an article which documented how big chains like Starbucks rely heavily on geographic data to manage risk and produce strategic plans for expansion. Starbucks uses:
“software analyzed location-based data and demographics to determine the best place to open Starbucks stores without hurting sales at other Starbucks locations”
Location data allows you analyze your market in each geographic area and modify your content to better suit this specific audience. Alongside easily available social data, constantly being shared across devices, business’ can be aware of where customers are at any point in time to provide tailored services and product offerings. Similarly, you can gain competitive advantage but using data from from the Local Directories or Yelp to monitor where competitors are expanding their store locations.
6. Speed up everyday logistics
At import.io we have catered lunches everyday with plenty of tasty snacks. We decided to create APIs to all the online menus we buy lunch from. We then combined them into a single dataset so that we could see what restaurant has the best offer so we could place an order quickly. Ok, this one might not be a “world changing” example, but it saves everyone in the office a few minutes each day, and minutes make hours and hours make new features for our lovely users 🙂