In this article we will discuss:
- Data collection was once reserved for corporate behemoths
- Now even the smallest of companies can gain access to live data
- Being targeted will help you save money while avoiding unnecessary liabilities
Data collection was once reserved for corporate behemoths
For companies that wanted to perform data collection, it used to require companies to:
- Have a large IT department, DevOps as well as an extensive list of developers, and other technical staff members
- Build robust in-house systems, and/or buy or lease IPs, and servers
- Spend countless employee hours on cleaning, and preparing datasets for their algorithms to make efficient use of them (in fact, 80% of employee’s time used to be dedicated just to cleaning datasets according to research conducted by Cognilytica (via Internet Archive).
- All of the above also meant that data collection was not only very slow (meaning analysis were usually not based on or produced in real time)
- Additionally the sum total effect was that data collection was a very expensive endeavour making hypothesis testing, and entire data-driven projects harder to achieve budgetary funding for
Now even the smallest of companies can gain access to live data
These days, data collection can be accomplished by anyone with a computer, serving one-man startup operations to slightly larger SMBs. A big part of this paradigm shift can be attributed to DIY data tools, developed by one of the industry’s leading powerhouses, Bright Data. The engineering team has worked to roll out the Web Scraper IDE tool which is revolutionizing the way businesses integrate data collection in their operations. Here are some of the key positive changes Web Scraper IDE has brought about:
- The data collection process is fully automated, and datasets are delivered directly to your in-house consumers (from algorithms to team leaders)
- It requires zero technical knowledge, staff, or infrastructure meaning that anyone from the CEO to a junior staff member can set up a data collection request
- Data collection happen in real-time ensuring that you can make live decisions that can positively impact your strategy (e.g. updating your dynamic pricing strategy based on competitor price point fluctuations)
- Data collection jobs can be scaled up, and down at the click of a button affording you, and your team ultimate budgetary flexibility
Being targeted will help you save money while avoiding unnecessary liabilities
The other option is using pre-collected Datasets, this too is a field that Bright Data is leading. Instead of having to actively crawl, collect, structure, and clean data, you can simply choose a targeted sub-data set from a website, and have it delivered directly to your team or systems. For example, you may want all competitor pricing for baby cribs on a specific marketplace or you might need the sales volume on flight tickets to New York from London, on a competing Online Travel Agency (OTA).
Datasets allow you to avoid the hassle of dealing with data collection while leveraging the power of pre-collected data and saving money, and time in the process.
The other thing to consider is avoiding collecting any personal information or any other type of information which is prohibited by data-protection laws such as GDPR in Europe, and CCPA in the US. Bright Data tools help you pinpoint the datasets that actually provide valuable insights to your business (e.g. sentiment on social media regarding a specific stock) whilst avoiding data that can become a liability to you, and your company (e.g. personal, password-protected account information of people on a Reddit investment forum).
The bottom line
Data collection used to be something that only large, powerful, and wealthy, well-staffed companies could perform. Today, any person or SMB with a computer, a small budget, and the willpower to make data-driven decisions can gain unprecedented access.