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There was a time when software development companies had to tackle countless key things before starting a new project. This included:
- OS Middleware
Slowly, IaaS came into the picture (Infrastructure as a Service), and then you could just rent the hardware requirements like storage, networking and servers. It was quickly followed by PaaS (Platform as a service) that even provided you with the OS itself. So now you could rent out a Linux Server or a Windows Machine at the click of a button. SaaS (Software as a Service) came eventually and this time, you even had the tools that would help you build your software solution. But you see, SaaS is a software tool. Some common SaaS that you might be using in your companies are Google Apps, Salesforce, Workday, Concur, Citrix GoToMeeting, Cisco WebEx, etc. These are all tools for you to perform some specific tasks. They cannot get you data to perform the tasks however. So what do you do when you have everything set up, but you see that you do not have the data itself, to use your tools on. You turn to DaaS! That is Data as a Service, and that is what we will be discussing today.
The three Vs of Data
Before we go deeper into DaaS and its benefits let’s talk about the three Vs of data that will actually determine whether you need to have a DaaS. The three common Vs of data are –
- Volume– One of the most important aspects when dealing with data is the volume. Depending on the amount of data that you are trying to crunch, a lot of decisions might change. Whether you are processing data in MBs, GBs, or even PBs, data cleanliness is very important and it becomes more difficult to handle when you have a larger volume. Depending on the volume, you would also need to take decisions like where to store the data, how to make it available to different teams, etc.
- Variety– Scraping one website and getting its data from time to time is one thing and keeping a track of all your competitors and scraping all their data regularly is a different ball game altogether. Why? Well let’s say you are a news aggregator who is trying to crawl data from your 10+ competitors on a daily basis. At least some of your competitors’ web-layout is bound to change once a week. And then you will have to make changes in the scraping setup to adapt to the new changes. As more changes take place and you keep adding new competitors you will have to add new scraping rules for the new websites as well as make sure they keep working and adapting to new changes in websites. When looking to crawl web data, you obviously have to go for a wide variety of sources to keep your data game going strong.
- Velocity– Do you need updated data from websites every second or every month? The difference between the two can be magnanimous. You might need a completely separate data processing server setup for the first one as well as a dedicated team of ten people making sure that your server never goes down. The speed and frequency at which you need the scraped data to be updated can be a major point to look at before setting up your infrastructure and getting into a conversation with a web scraping service provider.
What is DaaS and how can it help you?
Most companies that are not essentially data driven, but need data to keep up with their competition go for one time solutions. When they need data, they call up a lead, and get the particular data. If they need another scraped data after a week, they call someone else, and they buy it again. However this model is not recommended if you want your business to succeed in the long run. Why? Well, since you are mainly “buying” something here, you can’t usually blame them later on, in case the data throws up an error. Apart from this, there will be no uniformity of data since you end up using different vendors at different times just by looking at their pricing.
What is instead recommended is that you take the help of an experienced DaaS (Data as a service) provider such as PromptCloud. We will help you with your periodic or your regular web data needs since we have a variety of custom tailored packages to suit your requirements. We would also be maintaining uniformity and structure of data as per our confirmed data formats. And as for updating and maintaining the crawler, we will be taking care of that as well. This way, all you need to do is mention your data needs, and plug in the response into your business flow.
Where would DaaS sit in your business flow?
Earlier people used to review data manually and then decide- thus calling the decision making process intuition. Basing your decision making engine within your business model on a regular stream of updated data might do much better than intuition or even a vote among your stakeholders. The best flow to maintain is decide on the the data that you will be handling, and then come up with the infrastructure requirements so that you don’t face hurdles midway into the job.
The time for Data
Data is the new oil, and how you use it in your business might actually make or break your company’s profitability in the long run. Maintaining a uniform data flow is important so that you can spot issues in the data and fix them in real time before it’s too late. That is the very reason you should go with a DaaS provider.