The concept of ‘digital transformation’ has evolved from a buzzword into reality over recent years. It can be defined in numerous ways and can come in many forms: from setting up a mobile application or a website to digitally re-formatting an entire company’s database. Often, digital transformation can seem more complex than it actually is. For some, it means upgrading current servers to new ones, while others take it to mean the adoption of new applications for communicating internally. Most people understand digital transformation as the adoption of IoT devices and changing to 5G. Regardless of how you look at it, digital transformation is a way to combine, simplify and integrate processes, data, and technology into a practical and functionable layer within an organisation.
The way we use and consume data has evolved considerably. Today, data helps to support new business models and nurture a customer-centric transformation approach. Every interaction that takes place in the public domain produces large volumes of data. This publicly available web data is one of the main driving forces behind digital transformation and plays a crucial role in influencing corporate insights, development, and decision-making.
Research carried out by market research experts Vanson Bourne reveals that 64% of organisations that rely on alternative data sources when building business strategies say that alternative data has an impact on their investing strategy, and 59% say it effects their customer experience strategy. Even research from Forrester highlights 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. Web data and its many alternative data subsets play a key role for businesses when it comes to the digital transformation process, making educated decisions, and improving their business reasoning.
So, where does web data collection stand and why is it crucial in helping enterprises execute true digital transformation? Here are the three main reasons:
1. Web data collection takes your brick-and-mortar business online
COVID-19 rewrote the rules for many businesses. With a surge in consumers going online, the chances of brick-and-mortar businesses ever returning to how they operated before the pandemic are extremely slim. The rapid digital change we have experienced over the last 18 months has propelled businesses into a new kind of market shaped by new rules, objectives, and standards. However, going completely online isn’t always a seamless process. To make the process as frictionless as possible, companies must utilise publicly available web-based data to acquire further insights into their competitors, market movements, and consumer behaviour.
Public data collection is a transparent way of gaining such insights. Not only does it offer accurate market research data to all market participants, it also allows them to compete openly. This huge source of data helps businesses across many industries – from e-commerce to real estate to retail – adapt to new trends and make informed business decisions now and in the future. 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.
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2. Web data collection is a strategic priority for an organisation’s digital transformation
Organisations competing within the emerging digital economy will need to make faster-paced, forward-looking decisions that are formed on the basis of some form of logic or rationale. Although information as an asset is still in its early stages, it has a competitive edge for forward-thinking organisations as they strive for digital transformation. According to Gartner, by 2022, 90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention information or data as a critical enterprise asset, and analytics as a necessary competency. Organisations that do not have such capabilities in place will be at a disadvantage to their competitors.
3. Web data collection deciphers the complexity of digital transformation
Over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data is generated every day. This massive web-based database can be problematic as it is not equally transparent to all. Competitors often block each other when retrieving data – even when it comes to public data – or can face issues when accessing data across their different target regions. To help solve this issue, companies like ours are able to provide transparent and advanced platforms and tools for all organisations to freely access web data, enabling them to draw insights from some of the most relevant information in a timely fashion.
It’s no secret that data itself is complex. It’s raw, unstructured, and abundant. With so much data at our fingertips, it’s easy for organisations to become overwhelmed and start tapping into irrelevant data when looking to digitally transform their operations. It’s therefore crucial to make sure that only the most relevant and reliable data is gathered to ensure informed and precise decision-making that allows businesses to grow and reach their goals.
The best way to decipher vast amounts of data is to decide the type of data required to achieve your business’s digital transformation objectives. There are a number of steps you can take in order to do this. Firstly, you need to re-define each customer’s journey and use that real-time data in your analysis. Then, you must focus on accessing quality data that you can trust. The best approach for this is to start small and then scale up using forward-thinking automated tools. A retailer, for example, may look at the top-ten brand searches within a particular European region during a certain holiday period to identify the next-best items to offer on sale. Taking raw data sets and converting them into insights will enhance your decision-making. However, it is important to remember that this is a complex step-by-step process that warrants forward-thinking technology.
This is no walk in the park for any web data collection company that has to deploy certain API technologies and processes. An API-first platform is needed to automate data delivery, ensure seamless team collaboration, and eliminate manual tasks associated with databases, infrastructure, and security management. It’s critical for organisations to invest in a web data platform that can give them the data they need continuously. This means that organisations are no longer reliant on guesswork to form their decision-making. They can rely on one source that will hold a mirror up to their true reality: the World Wide Web.