Research from a recent Oxylabs white paper, ‘The Growing Importance of Alternative Data in the Finance Industry’, reveals that over half (52%) of UK financial companies are still reliant on archaic manual data collection processes to inform strategic industry decisions.
Access to data allows businesses to make correct investments and create real-time responses to the global stock market fluctuations. However, to achieve this, companies must ensure a consistent real-time data flow, which is impossible with the manual collection. The report also found that over a third (37%) of respondents indicated that accessing data in real-time was still a challenge they faced when it came to their web scraping activities.
However, whilst data collection for some businesses is still not used to its full potential, it is seen as a critical asset to more than half (52%) of financial organisations who consistently use an automated Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) framework. Such an emphasis on data shows that the implementation of these methods dramatically improves company efficiency. A technique that summarises data to reduce its size and to enhance performance for specific types of analysis.
Findings also highlight that larger companies are more likely to collect data in-house due to increased flexibility and adaptability. These companies only require supporting tools, such as proxies, to perform their data-gathering operations. They can then tailor collection and analysis goals closer to the business mode than those who outsource scraping. Additionally, there is an equal split among financial service organisations outsourcing or doing in-house scraping (36%), with a smaller number (27%) using both methods.
Finding the best data talent is still an ongoing issue for over a third (35%) of financial businesses investing in web scraping activities. Moreover, 36% of respondents indicated that they found it challenging to find reliable partners to outsource web scraping activities to.
Julius Černiauskas, Chief Executive Officer at Oxylabs, has commented on these findings:
“Data is only as good as the actions taken from the signals it creates. It’s not enough to analyse data and predict insights that may or may not be profitable. These insights and their grounding must fall into the hands of the right people at the right time. Proper data governance strategy execution ensures that no information is wasted.”
Despite all the hype and benefits surrounding external data acquisition, all respondents in the study indicated that they still face a wide range of issues and challenges with their web scraping activities. Forty-two percent of respondents struggle to ensure a consistent data flow, a problem most often faced by in-house data teams, and 39% of respondents still find managing and processing large datasets challenging.
Černiauskas continues: “Data collection and integration processes produce significant amounts of value to any business that can utilise the additional information. However, higher entry costs, driven by building an in-house team might dissuade some from the pursuit of being data-driven. For those that are having doubts about whether data can be of use, finding a third-party web scraping solution provider is the easier option. Comparatively, there are minimal start-up costs, and data can be integrated nearly instantly.”
“While outsourcing data acquisition reduces flexibility and adaptability, the lower upfront costs allow businesses of all sizes to derive insights from previously unattainable information. Finding the correct web scraping partner may be difficult, but the benefits will always outweigh the risks in the long run,” concludes Julius.