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Three reasons why web data collection is key to achieving true digital transformation

By Omri Orgad, Regional Managing Director, Bright Data

If you want to truly transform your business digitally, you need to be able to put your data to work by digging deeper than before and rebuilding your entire data and analytics competency through publicly available data collection.

The phrase ‘digital transformation’ has been defined in a variety of ways. Some take it literally to mean upgrading to new servers, while others adopt new applications for internal communications. Most people think it’s all about adoption of IoT devices and switching over to 5G. Whichever way you look at digital transformation, at its essence, it’s a transition involving processes, activities, and tools that enables moving from an offline to a digital environment.

Strong examples of digital transformation include setting up a mobile application, a website, or digitally re-formatting an entire company’s database. It may appear complex at first, but in reality, digital transformation is a method for combining, clarifying, and integrating procedures, data, and technology into a useful and usable layer across an organisation.

Naturally, over time, data consumption and use have changed considerably. Data now helps prop up new business models and promotes a customer-centric transformation approach. Moreover, we live in a hyperconnected environment, where every interaction generates vast data sets, which are in the public domain. This publicly available data is inextricably linked to digital transformation and plays an important role in influencing corporate insights, development, and decision-making.

According to market research experts Vanson Bourne, 64% of organisations that rely on alternative data sources when building business strategies say that alternative data impacts their investing strategy, and 59% say it impacts their customer experience strategy. Even research from Forrester points at the impact of data where firms make fewer than 50% of their decisions based on quantitative information as opposed to gut feeling, experience, or opinion. It’s evident that web data and its many alternative data subsets are key to helping enterprises digitally transform, make informed decisions, and improve their business reasoning.

So, where does web data collection sit and why does it hold the key to helping enterprises achieve true digital transformation? Here are the three main reasons:

  1. Web data collection is a strategic priority for those looking to go digital

It’s clear that information as an asset is still in its infancy, making it a competitive differentiator for forward-thinking companies as they pursue digital transformation. Those competing within the emerging digital economy will require faster-paced, forward-looking decisions that are based on some form of logic or rationale. According to Gartner, by 2022, 90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention information or data as a critical enterprise asset, and analytics as an essential competency. Those that do not possess the capability to collect and analyse data will watch from the sidelines as their competitors take over their share of the market pie.

  1. Web data can digitally transform your brick-and-mortar business

Covid-19 tore all the pages from the business rule book and threw them out of the window. With more and more customers turning online, brick-and-mortar businesses are realising that there is no going back to ‘how it was’, i.e., before the pandemic. Given how quickly digital change has supercharged conventional business models, propelling us into a market governed by new rules, goals, and expectations, we are nearing an even newer online era. On the other hand, going completely online is a difficult task. Companies must make use of publicly available web-based data to gain additional insights into their competitors, market movements, and consumer behaviour, among other things.

When using the internet, public data collection provides the necessary transparency. It provides accurate market research data to all market participants, allowing them to compete openly. This raw data helps those within the e-commerce, real estate, and retail industries adjust to changing trends and make informed business decisions in the future. We live in a real-time economy, and data is the new water fueling it. The collection of public web data has become the main resource for fast and high-performance decision-making, profit, and innovation, and it is key to digital transformation.

  1. Web data collection can help untangle the complexity of digital transformation

Every day, more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is generated. The main problem with this massive web-based database is that not much of it is visible or open to all, as the internet’s architects intended. Organisations are often blocked by competitors in the process of retrieving data, or they encounter difficulties accessing data in every region they are looking to target globally. This is where companies like ours have stepped in. We have provided transparent and advanced cloud-driven tools for all organisations to freely access web data, allowing them to tap into the most relevant information and transform it into insight-gold data, swiftly and simply.

Also, it’s worth remembering that data itself is complex. It’s raw, unstructured, messy, and there’s lots of it! Enterprises looking to digitally transform their operations require data, but only certain types of it – and certainly not all of it. As previously mentioned, data is the new water, but you can drown by having too much of it. It’s therefore crucial to make sure that only the most critical data is gathered to guarantee accurate decision-making that enables real business growth.

Having said that, now that’s a lot of data! The best way to untangle it is to decide the type of data needed to achieve your business’s digital transformation goal. This can be done, for example, by 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 scale up in the future if needed. For example, a retailer may look at the top ten brand searches within a particular European region, and only within a certain holiday period, to decide on the next best items to offer on sale. Transforming these raw data sets into usable 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; consider yourself warned!

This is a huge undertaking for any web data collection company that has to deploy certain API technologies and processes to collect it. An API-first platform is needed to automate data delivery, reduce friction in team collaboration, and remove manual tasks associated with databases, infrastructure, and security management. As such, it’s critical for organisations to invest in a web data platform that can provide them with the data they require on a constant basis. Organisations can then 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.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Bright Data .

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