The Path to Web Data: Build or Buy

October 12, 2020

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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

We’ve 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 whitepaper

Wp Cover Build Vs Buy

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