5 Emerging Data Trends to Watch for in 2017 (and How Mozenda Can Help)
January 06, 2017
2016 was a memorable year in the world of data.
From groundbreaking applications and embarrassing missteps in AI, the true advent of self-driving cars, and election results that bucked the widely-accepted predictions of pollsters, these and similar events from the last 12 months show that data is only as good as the application it serves (or misserves).
2017 is poised to usher in more awareness and adoption of data-informed decision-making.
With this in mind, we have compiled a list of five trends identified by data scientists, experts, and industry leaders that will affect organizations, and identify how Mozenda directly applies to each of them. We hope that sharing these ideas will help your organization stay ahead of the curve, finish data-driven projects more quickly, and leverage our software to help you reach important goals.
1. Smarter, Faster Automation
The emphasis on automating manual processes will continue to grow, and will also extend to previously-untapped sources.
Automation is far from being a new concept, but with around 2.5 exabytes (that’s 2,500,000,000 GB) of new data created per day, it is more relevant than ever. The key to working with data is to automate where possible and streamline everything else. Identifying, then assimilating data automatically into organized repositories for analysis is one way to accomplish this.
[…] companies must automate processes that are normally done manually. Over and over across different data problems, we found ourselves applying similar data processing techniques, whether it was to transform the data into useful aggregates, or to prepare data for predictive modeling—it’s time to streamline these, and to develop algorithms and build software systems that do them automatically.
– Kalyan Veeramachaneni, Principal research scientist, LIDS at MIT
Mozenda is a natural fit for automating workflows that traditionally have required human oversight. We call this “Web Process Automation” (WPA). It is the process whereby Mozenda is trained to automatically perform any number of tasks that would regularly or routinely be performed by a person. WPA replaces manual tasks such as copying/pasting, monitoring dynamically changing web pages, filling out and submitting all types of forms, using proprietary data inputs to search and acquire results, perform competitive intelligence, price monitoring, and more.
2. Improvements in Data Integration
Barriers that keep data from being accessed in other systems will be targeted for removal.
While many organizations have bought into the concept of big data, many have also found that having the data isn’t enough; you have to be able to do something with it.
Collecting vast amounts of data just for the sake of having it is inefficient, costly, and allows the information to easily become obsolete before it is useful.
Using data costs money. To move to the higher value uses and maintain a competitive edge, we need to lessen the impact of data silos on our businesses. To remove the barriers of silos, a progressive, pragmatic approach is most effective. The end goal of embracing advanced data analytics is to make a company data-driven — that is, to benefit from data in a consistent, organization-wide manner. Unfortunately, few have the luxury of building a suitable infrastructure from scratch, so companies must figure out a way to get there in an incremental way.
– Edd Wilder-James, Vice President of Technology Strategy, Silicon Valley Data Science
Working with unstructured web data can be difficult and costly. This is where Mozenda comes into play.
Mozenda extracts and publishes concise data that is fine-tuned to the user’s specifications. In addition to providing clean source data in a number of popular formats, Mozenda can also be used to easily convert web-accessible archived data into more usable formats.
3. Data Literacy Becomes a Required Skill
Along with teamwork, communication, problem-solving, and other employee requirements, the ability to analyze and act on data will become a core competency for professionals of all types.
As organizations rely more and more on important data, an emphasis on education and hiring practices that include data are bound to result. Consequently, decision-making at every level will be expected to include conclusions based on relevant data.
Some of the top educational institutions […] already offer modules, and even entire courses, in business analytics and related fields. This is driving change in the corporate world as the newest generation of MBA students and business leaders arrive with an analytical approach and an understanding of the value of analytics already in place.
The data-driven culture that many companies talk about no longer means that everyone should know SQL Server, Python or R. It means that every member of the business should understand that each of the firm’s decisions are made based on data, and that frequently interrogating data and making business decisions accordingly is how a company succeeds.
– Stuart Wilson, VP EMEA, Alteryx
Mozenda is a crucial tool for any organization looking to utilize web data in its decision making process. Because Mozenda can be learned by most types of employees, new data-driven models can be developed to better understand and solve business problems.
4. “Right Data” Trumps Big Data
Conceptual phrases like “big data” and “data lakes” will be used less and less in favor of implementing detailed processes that emphasize delivering useful, relevant data.
Companies continue to thrive or stagnate by their ability to collect and act on data. Unfortunately, many organizations end up building large databases of information that are underutilized and do little to improve their bottom line.
Data is truly only useful when it is able to answer important questions. What are our customers happy about? What don’t they like? Where are our new customers coming from? And so on.
Most companies spend too much time at the altar of big data. And not nearly enough time thinking about what the right data is to seek out.
– Maxwell Wessel, general manager, SAP.io
Where some tools act like a wrecking ball, scattering hundreds of data points and leaving users to make sense of it by creating filters and custom dashboards, Mozenda is more like a scalpel: you extract only the data you want and know you can utilize, then publish it to a specific location for post-processing. In this way, Mozenda is complimentary to any popular BI or Big Data application.
5. Fast Data Gains Ground
Processes that prioritize delivering data quickly where it’s needed will emerge and empower organizations on all levels.
One detail that is easily overlooked in the quest for big data is that all data has a shelf life. The benefits of gathering data are lost when the information isn’t processed quickly enough.
Big data is only as useful as its rate of analysis. Otherwise, businesses won’t gain access to the real-time suggestions and statistics necessary to make informed decisions with better outcomes. With fast data, information becomes more plentiful, more actionable and more beneficial to an organization.
– Tx Zhuo, Managing Partner, Karlin Ventures
As the first true cloud-based solution for online data extraction, Mozenda supports advanced features which help streamline the process of gathering information. Data can be automatically extracted on a schedule and the results delivered to one of several destinations (Amazon S3, Azure, Dropbox, FTP server, email address). Using the “track changes” feature allows for understanding shifts in data over time and creating historical relevance and perspective.
What This Means for You
Ultimately, these insights are only useful if they can be applied to effect positive change. Remember, data is only as good as the application it serves.
Here are some questions to ask yourself that relate to each of the points above:
- Can any of our current processes which utilize web data, benefit from automation?
- Do we have or collect useful web data that isn’t being utilized?
- How can we foster a more data-centric culture?
- Are we gathering the “right” data?
- How can we streamline the ways we use important data?
Companies making informed decisions based on insights drawn from data have a clear competitive advantage over those that don’t. At Mozenda, we understand the value of data and want to help you and your organization succeed.