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.