Web Data Integration is a new approach to acquiring and managing web data that focuses on data quality and control. Web Data Integration treats the entire web data lifecycle as a single, integrated process composed of the following steps:
- Initial identification of data sources and requirements.
- Web data extraction.
- Data preparation and cleansing.
- Analysis and visualization.
- Data integration and consumption by downstream applications and business processes.
To successfully capitalize on web data and gain a competitive advantage, organizations need
a Web Data Integration solution that addresses all these requirements. With this solution, organizations can leverage web data in a fast, scalable, and cost-effective way that minimizes business risk.
Check out our roadmap below to help navigate through the process and walk you through the questions you should be asking to select the right Web Data Integration provider:
Some important area you should consider when buying Web Data Integration software include:
1. Establishing your needs
- Clearly understand and define what questions you are trying to answer with web data. The web provides an unprecedented wealth of information but finding the right solution for the job requires a clear understanding of the business need and exactly how web data will help.
- How much web data will you need? Where can you find it and how quickly do you need it? Is it a one-time collection or will there be ongoing web data needs? Note that these requirements are based on your technical and business needs and are essential in your evaluation of the solutions different vendors have to offer.
- Will the web data be used to integrate directly into an application or business process, or will it be used to support an analytical investigation? If you are looking at web data to guide decision-making, it is important that you ensure that it is high quality.
2. Commercial and Technical Considerations
- How much are you willing to spend to find the right solution? Look for vendors whose price includes not only the software, but the levels of service you may require. Assess the amount of internal resources you have and their capabilities. Most vendor pricing will primarily depend on the number of websites, volume of data needed, and frequency of collection.
- How much self-service is your organization prepared to take on? How many internal resources and capabilities are available to support this effort? Do you have the staffing resources and expertise needed to build, maintain, and use commercial software? For example, will end- users be able to work with raw extracted data? Will the software offer the capabilities needed to enrich data and make it consumable by non-technical users? Do you value a solution that allows non-technical users, including business experts, to easily participate in tuning the system to extract the data required? Does the software allow you to create, automate, and schedule specific data transformation processes, so that they can automatically be applied to every extraction?
- Should you build it yourselves for complete control? A big advantage to building your own extraction tools is the level of flexibility and customizability you have. If you’re trying to answer a relatively narrow question that requires a small dataset, or monitor websites on an ad-hoc basis, developing an in-house data extractor can be a simple, viable approach. Before embarking on a project to build your own web data extractor, you should consider the time, resources, and infrastructure needed. Our buyer’s guide has a more comprehensive list of questions to consider.
3. Create a requirements document for vendor evaluations
- Getting down to a shortlist of data integration tools can be tricky. You need to ask lots of questions of vendors throughout the buying process to make sure the software and vendors are a good match.
- A new software vendor is a long term partnership so making sure your vendor is right for you is crucial. How well can they support you in terms of quality, scalability and reliability? Can it keep up with your Web Data Integration needs if your volume of data grows a thousand fold?
High-quality Web Data Integration solutions enable the speedy and repeatable automation of web data capture and aggregation. Now more than ever, these capabilities are essential for teams looking to employ web data at scale in order to support critical business functions. Making the right choice for your organization takes research and preparation, but those efforts can pay off in multiple ways. By following the advice in this guide, we hope you can find the solution that’s ideal for your requirements.
Want to read more? Download the full Web Data Integration Buyer’s Guide.