Web scraping is an indispensable resource when it comes to gaining an edge in the competition with the help of business intelligence. As more and more data gets created on the world wide web, the complexity of extracting it intensifies. Web scraping is a technology that demands an extensive tech stack, high end resources and technically skilled labour. Given this resource hungry nature, many businesses prefer outsourcing it to doing the scraping in-house. Here is a brief walk-through of web scraping so that you can get a grip on the whole process and understand how it could affect your revenue growth as a business.
The competition among online businesses is at its peak. This has more to do with the ready availability of insightful data. When data acquisition at this scale wasn’t possible in the past, businesses made hit-or-miss decisions upon instincts. Now that every activity can be recorded, extracted as data and analysed to arrive at the best business decisions, companies are making the most of it to boost their revenue. This includes monitoring the activity of competitors on social media, price intelligence, sentiment analysis, gathering data for market research and much more. The use cases of web scraping in business is almost infinite. Business intelligence is extremely helpful for the survival of companies in a market that fluctuates often. Implementing a business intelligence strategy powered by web scraping can definitely give a boost to your revenue growth.
Web scraping, despite being a robust solution for extracting data from the web, is not going to be an easy path if your company is not technically rich already. It involves setting up resources like a tech stack and servers that can run the web crawler by a technically skilled team. Following are the primary cost centres involved in the web scraping process.
1. High end servers
Web scraping is a resource intensive process. Considering the importance of uptime here, the crawlers cannot be run on average performance machines. To have the optimum uptime and avoid crashes, the crawler has to be run on high performing servers located in different parts of the world. The quality of servers is crucial to the consistency of the process. Not to mention, these high end servers makeup for a significant amount of the cost involved in web scraping.
2. Technically skilled labour
Scanning through the source code to identify appropriate tags that hold the required data points and creating a program that can automatically fetch these data points from similar pages’ at large scale requires deep programming skills. It goes without saying that employing skilled people would incur cost that could take a hit on your revenue. Ideally, you will need a team of at least 10 to run a web scraping setup in-house.
3. An extensive tech stack
Although most of the software being used for web scraping are open source, you will find yourself investing in paid software to make certain things easier or faster. Dealing with open source software might not be as user friendly as the paid ones. In any case, having a tech stack with a lot of options is a necessary aspect of web scraping that would incur additional cost.
Building and running the web scraping setup is only half of the story. Since websites undergo changes often, there is a possibility of the crawler setup breaking from time to time. To avoid or solve this at the earliest, a monitoring system that involves both machines and humans is necessary. Monitoring and maintenance contribute to a considerable cost in the web scraping process.
If data for business is your requirement, a better way to acquire it would be to depend on a company that can deliver it via the data as a service route. Web scraping companies have already set up high-end resources required to run the web crawlers that you can utilize to avail web scraping at a much lower cost than what you would incur by doing it on your own. With this, you can also save yourself from the complications and maintenance headache associated with web scraping. Moreover, with a web scraping service, you can enjoy a much higher return on investment owing to the lowered cost of data acquisition. You can use our ROI calculator to compare between the cost of going with an in-house web scraping setup and a hosted solution.
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