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Web Scraping with Robotic Process Automation

March 25, 2019Category : Blog
Web Scraping with Robotic Process Automation

Last Updated on by Jacob Koshy

What is RPA?

Although RPA sounds like a robot doing your job, in reality, it is just an automation tool, that is used by several companies to automate repetitive tasks. A simple example of how RPA is used by companies is given below:

Say you have been given the task of capturing prices of all iPhones in Amazon. Doing this task manually will take quite some time. However, using RPA will help you perform this in a fast and efficient manner. This could be called Web Scraping with Robotic Process Automation. What actually happened in this scenario is that the software tracked what you did and mimicked the same steps (and clicks) to find similar data.

What are the benefits of Web scraping with Robotic Process Automation?

  • Automation leading to lesser errors and costs

RPA isn’t used for programming, rather its main use is to take over repetitive and boring tasks where humans are bound to make more errors. RPA helps make sure that lesser human errors occur, and also drives down costs. The previous Web Scraping with Robotic Process Automation was a classic example in which, a human had a high chance of making an error and would definitely require more time.

  • Customised Scraping, not just Screen Grabbing

Contrary to what many believe, RPA is not Screen Grabbing. What it instead does, is that it creates a script file, after seeing your actions, then it runs the same script file to mimic your actions and get similar work done. In the end, its work is generating a script file that will take care of repetitive work, and not screen-grabbing.

  • Do more than just crawl

You can do more than just basic Web Scraping with Robotic Process Automation. You could even teach it how to clean data by performing certain steps manually first and then letting it take over. RPA tools are also used for automating quality and assurance testing, sending the same emails to multiple people, and hundreds of other similar tasks that are repetitive and boring.

  • No need to know to code

Every person needs automation, whether he is a business associate or a research associate or a full-blown coder. But everyone is not comfortable coding, let alone automating tasks. Moreover automating one task might be very different from automating another. That is why RPAs are a boon to companies since they can be used by anybody irrespective of their coding knowledge.

  • Faster to set up

RPAs are much easier to set up than teaching people how to code. Or even teaching any specific subject for that matter. Most automation techniques are already well established and applying them to a new set of web scraping requirements isn’t very time consuming. What one basically has to do is, know how to make the system record a series of steps and how to ask it to do the same steps on other values.

  • No need of a web scraping team

Web scraping with Robotic Process Automation is one of the growing uses of RPA. An entire web scraping team can be replaced by a single RPA expert who can train the scraping system to collect data from various types of webpages. And the best part is, it can be customised for any complex use cases of web scraping.

  • Gathering Social Media data

Social media data collection has become more and more important as companies try to analyse their customers and understand their mindset. The problem is that most social media websites do not allow you to gather data automatically and doing so in a manual fashion would require too much time, too many personnel and would be prone to errors. Using an RPA based web scraping solution to perform this task would be much simpler and a favoured choice.

  • Automating batch download tasks

Downloading images, videos, or even text documents in batches is something we have all done and been bored of doing. I even remember sitting and searching for songs of an artist on Google and downloading almost 50 of his songs one by one. Such batch download tasks required by companies can be given to RPA solutions, which can easily build a script that would download all your requirements.

Who should be using Web scraping with Robotic Process Automation?

Data-entry, although sounds outdated, is still a job in many companies. Such personnel can instead be converted to RPA developers and be allowed to take advantage of the technology. Also, companies still scraping data manually should definitely be using Web scraping with Robotic Process Automation, to increase efficiency and reduce errors and costs. RPA is not bound by any specific use cases and in reality, you could make RPA perform any task that you think is too boring and repetitive to be done by a human being. Web data extraction happens to be one of major areas where RPA has immense potential in the digital world.

Is Web scraping with Robotic Process Automation the best option out there?

Web scraping has taken the business world by the storm and although RPA could solve all of your web data needs, it is not suitable for businesses that are not tech-based or do not have an in-house web-scraping team. If web-scraping is an essential part of your business, it’s always better to take the help of experienced web scraping teams like PromptCloud. We at PromptCloud, not only crawl data for companies, but also provide them in a plug and play format so that you do not need to worry about how to use the extracted data.

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