Industry Voice: Three tips for web data collection that will improve your business workflows

clock • 4 min read

How to tap into the most relevant information and transform it into insight gold

Change has become our living certainty. This bodes well for the regular consumer but not so much for businesses. From increasingly demanding customers to rising manufacturing costs, and now a shrinking global economy, running a profitable business has never been more challenging.  

Business owners must now consider the wider global data environment, using new marketing channels, data-driven technologies and tools. In addition, to remain competitive, they must also predict trends and anticipate market shifts that will enable them to make better business decisions. This implies that every owner and CEO must possess Warren Buffett-like predictive powers, which, as we know, is rarely the case.

One way businesses can improve their decision-making prowess is by collecting and analysing online data. In fact, the most accurate business decisions are typically backed by data, and there is no greater source out there than the Internet. Let's explore the top three tips for web-based data collection that will guarantee to improve your business workflows. 

Accuracy is key when it comes to web data collection

To understand how, we must first understand why. The fact is that over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created each day. The key issue with this immense online database is that not much of it is transparent or available for all to see, as was originally intended by the Internet's creators. This is where organisations such as ours have stepped in. Bright Data has created a transparent way to openly access online web data, which enables all organisations to tap into the most relevant information and transform it into insight-gold data quickly and easily.

In addition, businesses operate inside a real-time economy where decisions rely on real-time data. E-commerce players, finance, travel, and security firms make minute-by-minute decisions based on the online public data they can easily access. As such, they tap into web data at a high rate for purposes including market or pricing strategies, legal knowledge or behavioural insights.

However, this web data is neither easy to access nor analyse. It's crucial to make sure that only the most critical data is gathered to guarantee accurate decision-making that enables real business growth. One way to ensure accuracy is to first establish the type of data needed to achieve your goal, e.g., re-defining each customer's journey and using that real-time data in your analysis. Then you must establish how much data is needed. The best way to do this is to start relatively small and then to scale up in the future if needed. Transforming these raw data sets into useable insights will feed and enrich your decision-making. However, be aware that this is a complex step-by-step process that requires forward-thinking technology. There is such a thing as data obesity. Beware. 

Using low-code solutions

One way to efficiently access public web data is through implementing low-code solutions. 'Low-code' refers to 'low-code development', which in layman's terms means developing an app or software through a visual user interface rather than through coding and programming. In other words, it's perfect for businesses that lack internal coding resources but want to quickly digitise their operations to work more efficiently, deliver products faster, connect better with customers, and save on development costs.

Low-code is revolutionising our capacity to collect web data. Businesses used to require tremendous resources to get around constantly changing websites, blockades, misleading and fake information, and integrating data into an existing business infrastructure. However, nowadays, low-code removes the complexity from building powerful, high-performing business applications (apps), enabling businesses to quickly adapt and respond to fast-changing conditions. Even Forrester and Gartner previously predicted that 75 per cent of all enterprise software will be built with low-code technology in 2021.

Embracing and predicting change through web data collection

During the past year, public online data has proven to be the only source of information that is fast and flexible enough to provide a reliable market, industry, or consumer-based snapshot. For example, we ran a survey together with Vanson Bourne and found that nearly one in four financial services professionals use insights from external data sources every day. This is a huge testament to the role online data plays, even in one of the most traditional market sectors, and demonstrates that businesses are relying on more accurate information instead of 'gut' feelings.

We now live in an era where data represents power. It enables companies to improve their products and offerings, and customers to receive the best available options. It drives real-time markets, moving spending power and resources from country to country, thus improving our quality of life.

But simply gathering data is not enough. It's the data-driven techniques and technologies that are critical to understanding how to handle the entire Internet ecosystem. It's maintaining that safe ecosystem where data is carefully and transparently collected and utilised. The data itself needs to have a purpose; it needs context, and in the end, it needs to be used to drive open-market competition, vital research and even to save lives.

With this in mind, organisations can now eliminate the entire guesswork process from their decision-making and rely on the one source that, without fail, will always show them their true reality: the World Wide Web. How easy can they use data to reach that certainty? That depends on the technology they use and its quality.

Itamar Abramovich is director of product management at Bright Data (formerly Luminati Networks)

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