How to automate data collection with web scraping

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Did you know that workflow automation can significantly reduce repetitive tasks by 60-95%? Data collection is one of those key areas ripe for such efficiency. After all, why request your employees to go from one website to another and copy-paste data if there’s automated web scraping?! But what exactly is it?

Web scraping is the technique of extracting data from websites using automated data collection software, known as scrapers. These are specialized tools that navigate web pages, identify relevant information, and collect it in a structured format. 

Advantages of automated data collection

When data is more important than ever, businesses resort to automated web data extraction. And this happens due to numerous reasons:

  • Time efficiency. Data that took days to compile manually is now gathered in hours or even minutes.
  • Data accuracy. Human error in data entry is reduced significantly with automation. Automated data collection systems increase data accuracy to 99.9%.
  • Scalability. Automated systems handle large volumes of data without additional strain on resources.
  • Competitive edge. Those companies that rely on analytics are 5 times more likely to make faster decisions, which may be critical for a highly competitive business landscape.
  • Cost-effectiveness. With streamlined data harvesting, companies can reach 30% long-term cost savings.

Ways to automate data collection with web scraping

As you decide to scrape websites, there are two primary paths: outsourcing the task or handling it in-house.

Outsource automated data scraping

As you outsource web scraping, you hire an external service provider to deal with the data collection process. We can further divide this method into two approaches: service and managed team outsourcing.

  • With traditional outsourcing, you hire a vendor to take care of the entire web scraping process. They use their automated web scraping tools and expertise to collect the data you need. It frees up your internal resources, but you rely on the provider’s availability and timelines. Works best for businesses without the in-house expertise or for one-off projects where investing in tools or training doesn’t make sense.
  • If you’re looking for a more collaborative approach, consider hiring a managed team for web scraping. It will work closely with your business but will be controlled by the vendor’s project manager. This is the best way to automate data collection if you need a continuous flow of data and ongoing maintenance. 

In-house automated scraping

None of the outsourcing options seem to satisfy your data needs? Then, you may want to choose to manage web scraping internally.

Here, the responsibility for maintaining and updating scrapers rests with your team. You’ll be responsible for infrastructure setup and support, staff training, and legal compliance. It always works great for scenarios when you have a strict security policy or want to gain flexibility to adjust as needed.

Automate data extraction from website and see great results

It’s now clear more than ever—businesses need to automate data collection. Whether you choose to outsource this task or manage it in-house with specialized software, you can’t deny the substantial benefits of this step. Once you automatically pull data from the website into Excel or any other format, you enhance workflow efficiency and data accuracy. If these reasons are not enough for you, think of the scalability (the amount of collected and processed data that will be right at your fingertips) and cost-effectiveness.

Also Read: Making Sense of Mismatched Data: Tips and Tricks



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