Today’s corporations have access to more data than ever before, with the need for precise, accurate information playing a significant role in driving an organization’s decision-making, competitiveness, effectiveness, and revenue. Indeed, a recent Capgemini survey revealed that 65% of respondents see data as a key enabler of their organization’s effectiveness and competitiveness. Sixty-one percent stated that data has become a driver of current revenues in its own right. Yet many companies struggle to capture, integrate and analyze the right data from a diverse range of internal and external sources.
So Many Data Sources, So Little Time
Precise data can inform better insights and decision-making—from determining your organization’s next target market or product offering to identifying customer engagement issues, revenue opportunities, and efficiency improvements. However, the complexity and sheer volume of available information make efficient data acquisition and extraction difficult:
- 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created daily
- 90% of the data in the world has been produced in the last two years
- 40 zettabytes of data are predicted by 2020
Complicating matters, data may be available in multiple languages and in a variety of unknown data structures. Data from outside your firewall will likely be incomplete, inaccurate and static.
Inside the firewall, your business may have valuable data residing in siloed, disparate systems, making it a challenge to obtain a complete view for informed decision making. You may have legacy applications with no application programming interfaces (API); in other cases, it may not be cost-effective for your business to integrate these systems.
Finding a Needle in a Haystack
Wherever data resides — internally within disparate applications or externally on website and portals — your business needs to determine the best way to collect and transform it into actionable information.
Many companies manually extract data, re-entering or copying and pasting data from one system to another to aggregate it. Others have tried to automate data collection by writing custom scripts or solutions or deploying basic web scraping tools.
However, web scraping can be plagued with development problems, programming errors and data collection inefficiencies. Web scraping often delivers large amounts of data that you don’t need or want. Trying to quickly locate the information you need can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The data needs to be cleansed and filtered before it is usable, costing your business precious time and productivity.
Taking the Fastest Route to Manage Your Data
Many companies are turning to an enterprise-class data extraction platform that uses sophisticated and intelligent software robots for collecting and transforming data into usable information. These robots provide the connection to data on websites and portals forming what is called web data integration, using cutting-edge ‘software robots’ that work like APIs to automatically obtain and extract the right data from both internal systems and external websites and portals.
In comparison, web data integration does much more than web scraping, and really should never be thought of in the same way. Intelligent robots are much smarter than web scraping. Intelligent robots dig deeper into the web and eliminate time-consuming and costly manual processes needed to verify information and ensure its relevance. It automates the entire process of data acquisition and integration with your business systems and processes to enable near real-time, data-driven decision making.
In short, an enterprise-class platform that supports the deployment and manageability of thousands of robots is the fastest and most efficient way for you to acquire, enrich and deliver information from virtually any application or data source without the need for coding—and without burdening your IT department.
Unleashing the Power of Robots
Web data integration software robots can be deployed for a multitude of uses that benefit your business, including deploying intelligent robots that track your competitor’s pricing and everyday changes.
This type of data, in particular, needs to be collected in a timely manner for it to be actionable. Your competitor’s pricing data is not very effective if it takes a week to be collated and disseminated. Near real-time web, data enables you to track and react to what your competitors are doing and how the market is changing, as well as capture any news or regulatory changes that may impact your company if not responded to quickly.
Companies can also leverage more precise web data for a wide range of industry-specific uses:
- In the banking sector, companies can utilize web data integration to improve investment research as well as ensure compliance with risk management regulations.
- In the information services sector, it can be used to enhance screening and risk management solutions by automatically and quickly checking an individual’s background against numerous government global watch lists, court record sites, fraud and abuse information sites, and more. Other businesses leverage data from websites and portals as to learn more information about markets, and deliver highly targeted research and content offerings to their customers.
- In addition to competitive and price monitoring, retailers can use data collected from websites for brand monitoring and fraud protection.
Regardless of your industry, web data integration can reap significant gains in operational efficiencies and productivity. By switching from web scraping to web data integration, for example, one company decreased its number of developers from 35 to two.
Automating the Regulatory Compliance Burden
One global financial institution has successfully extracted and processed information from a wide range of data sources to ease their compliance burden.
Meeting this challenge required a collection of a wide range of data, including regulatory rules and changes, as well as news items that may impact the bank. Visits to approximately 300 websites were needed on a daily basis, ranging from stock exchanges to federal regulatory agencies and national banks. A typical compliance officer spent 15% of his time manually checking and tracking developments.
By using intelligent software robots, the financial services company automated the entire web data monitoring process and streamlined its risk and compliance activities. This allows its employees to easily and efficiently stay up to date on all regulatory changes, link changes to the affected company policies, trigger revisions and the publication of changes, and readily provide management visibility. Most importantly, it helps them avoid hefty fines and penalties due to non-compliance.
Learn more on how intelligent robots and integrating data from the web can help your business acquire and act on near-real-time data for better insights and decision making: download our free eBook, Choose Your Future: A Guide to Rethinking Web Scraping.
Also see these infographics: Top 3 Ways You Can Deploy Robots to Collect and Integrate Web Data and Banking on Precise Data for Investment Research.