On our last blog, we discussed what Web Data Integration is and why organizations need it when driving their web data strategy instead of using legacy web scraping tools. The purpose of adopting Web Data Integration is to allow the enterprise to use and build on web data with the same high levels of trust and confidence that are associated with internal enterprise datasets.
How is Web Data Integration different from web scraping or web data extraction?
Today, organizations trying to access web data programmatically use a technique called web scraping. Unfortunately, web scraping tools are incomplete and insufficient to deliver on the promise of Web data. They can only access a fraction of the data on the internet, they provide little in the way of data quality, and must still be integrated with other tools to deliver real value. This leaves organizations either missing the opportunity to leverage web data or with incomplete data access, poor data quality, unreliable and out of date data, high costs and uncertain business risks.
With web data from scraping, Executives are facing a dilemma – (A) Don’t use the web data and be disrupted or (B) Use poor quality data and risk making bad decisions. Web scraping alone is just not cutting it anymore. Web Data Integration delivers clean data, 100% reliable and fully integrated.
Web Data Integration is a new approach to acquiring and managing web data that focuses on data quality and control. Unlike web scraping or web data extraction, Web Data Integration treats the entire web data lifecycle as a single, integrated process composed of the following steps:
- IDENTIFY the URL where your data is located. Simply point and click to show us what data you need. Alternatively, our machine learning based auto suggestion feature makes “one-click to data” a reality.
- EXTRACT displayed or hidden content from anywhere on the web. Behind a login, across multiple pages or require interactions, Import.io can extract exactly what you need, when you need it.
- PREPARE extracted data by exploring, assessing and refining the data quickly. Cleanse, normalize and enrich the extracted data using 100+ spreadsheet like functions and formulas.
- INTEGRATE prepared data with a library of APIs to support seamless integration with internal business systems and workflows or deliver it to any data repository to develop robust data sets for advanced analytics capabilities.
- CONSUME prepared data with graphs and charts to find answers and glean insights. Analyze data with change, comparison, and custom reports.
Web scraping is in fact just a small component of Web Data Integration. What else does Web Data Integration do?
Among other things, Web Data Integration can also:
- extract data from non-human readable output (hidden data)
- programmatically extracts 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
All of which are not found using legacy web scraping tools or scripts.
Executives in companies from a broad range of industries are quickly realizing the value that can be found in datasets that reside outside of their organizations’ walls. As a result, many are turning 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. Now more than ever, these capabilities are essential for teams looking to employ web data at scale in order to support critical business functions.
Want to learn more about Web Data Integration? Talk to an expert.