Today’s business world is super competitive due to the sheer amount of technology available. That makes it important for businesses to extract the right data from various sources. There are quite literally thousands of services that offer to extract data. However, they each tend to deliver vastly different services.
Not all data extraction services are created equally! This is especially true when you think about the need to fully understand the data being extracted. Many providers will put so much effort on harvesting the data that they ignore what the data means. In short, they sacrifice quality of the data in favour of quantity. You want the opposite. Here are some tips for successfully delivering quality data from web data extraction services.
Be More Visual
No business has the time to go through a website every day to see if there have been changes made to the information that’s required to operate at peak efficiency. This is a recipe for inefficiency! So, you really only have two options here.
The first is to develop a script to automatically extract data. The problem is that it’s expensive to create and maintain a script. You will need to have a programmer on staff to develop and keep the script up running.
The second option is to take a more visual approach, which vastly reduces the cost. One of the main concerns when it comes to harvesting data from the web is reaching a wider breadth of sources. Using the visual approach, you can simply have someone tag content using a web browser and then allow a web extraction platform to deal with the complexities. Adding new websites to your source of harvesting sites is quite inexpensive and only takes a few minutes. Furthermore, it removes the need for an expensive programmer.
For small businesses, the visual approach is much more efficient.
Automate Whenever Possible
The way you get your data is extremely important. You’ll want web data extraction software that allows you to schedule when content is to be extracted. In short, software should extract new content when it’s updated. Furthermore, you need to ensure that it supports many different delivery formats like HTML, XML, and XLS.
Your goal is to automate the process as much as possible. Top of the line data extraction software will allow you to do just that. This can be further enhanced by creating consistent processes in order to normalise the delivery of data.
Make it Scalable
One of the issues with a lot of software on the market is that it’s not scalable. It’s based on extraction demands right now. However, chances are that your needs today will change within a year so you need to choose software that is scalable.
When your data extraction needs become more complicated, then you want your software to be capable of adapting.
Detect Fluxes in Data
Web content is in a constant state of flux. Whether you’re a retail business that’s trying to keep track of your competitor’s pricing or you are monitoring share prices, you need to be able to detect changes as quickly as possible.
Some software has built in detection technology. This is the type of data extraction tool you need in order to stay up to date.
Data Should be Delivered Easily
Data is only useful it you can use it to take action. If your current extraction system is not delivering data to you in a format that allows you to take action, then you’re doing it wrong. Choose extraction services that deliver data to you in a way that you can use. In most cases, you’ll want your setup to be driven by a database. That way, you can just pull the information you need directly from the database.
In today’s business world, the question is not whether you need a web data extraction system. The real question is, “Which one should I choose?”