External Data Collection Unlocks Major Possibilities Despite the Roadblocks
The World Wide Web, the world’s largest database, was created with the intention of being freely available to all. From its conception to the present day, that basic premise has remained – although today, the web specifically and the internet in general have both become a great deal more monetized.
The internet and all the businesses on it continue to run on data. However, many businesses currently find it difficult to use the internet’s open and public-facing information freely. That’s because most data sources out there – especially those with skin in the commercial game – put up automated barriers to block others’ attempts to mine their assets.
Combing through thousands of competitors’ and partners’ data sets is now highly challenging for most organizations. In fact, Gartner states that organizations spend a significant portion (40%) of their productive time and resources in finding, accessing, and integrating unstructured data from the internet, leaving them with very little remaining time for the important analysis process.
As such, it’s becoming increasingly commonplace for companies in fintech (i.e., insurtech, retail banking, credit rating agencies, brokerages) and e-commerce retail to use third-party services to collect external online data – despite the finance sector’s conservative nature when it comes to new technology.
The leading provider of such a service (and one that’s largely considered to be the inventor of many of the technologies involved) is Bright Data (formerly Luminati Networks).
Bright Data provides a large-scale online data collection solutions, which unlock hard-to-access sites, collates information, and often present huge data sets in mere minutes. Raw web data is safely and reliably parsed, sorted, and presented in standard formats ready for processing. Using the Bright Data platform, organizations see the open web as consumers might, but at a massive scale and with no public data hidden from view.
The automated platform can get reliable and structured publicly available information from any website using a range of patented data collection tools. By operating granularly, yet at a large scale, the automatic shutoffs that would apply to standard data collection techniques are never deployed, leaving transparent information presented.
Bright’s automated Data Collector then goes much further: after gathering information according to the user-specified timetable and frequency, it collates the gathered information, cleans it, and presents it as required. The end result is a powerful source of in-depth knowledge about current markets, competitors’ positioning and customer data insights and trends.
The platform forms an accurate, quality resource that organizations can use to effectively strategize and react to rapidly changing market conditions. With updates available in near-real time, decision-makers’ reaction times can be slashed from weeks down to minutes and hours – in a data-driven economy, having access to information in this way and time frame is both necessary and invaluable.
The platform can be used as a standalone web-based application. There are ready-made collection templates available for common use-cases so users can get up and running with no delay for complex configuration or coding. There is also an IDE interface that allows customers with programming skills to create their own proprietary collectors. The company also offers other automated tools to simplify its customers data collection operations.
All of this is possible as a service, with no specialist data infrastructure required. It gives users the ability to collate external data for just about any purpose: to assemble price comparison services or investment-related information, check for signs of fraud at scale, and dive deeply into trading patterns – at all times remaining compliant of data privacy regulations like the GDPR and CCPA.
As a separate service, if one wishes to collect the data themselves, and depending on the use-case, users can choose between any desired mix of proxies, residential, mobile and data center, each with verified IP addresses that effectively unblock access to public data at scale.
While the technology press is full of grandiose statements about data being the new oil, Bright Data states that, perhaps, data is the new water: a resource available in real time for decision-making in just a few seconds or less. To find out more about how to get started, and to get your first data set for free, head over to the Bright Data website to begin.