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Every business that has a commitment to achieve growth and stay on top of competition needs to take advantage of the benefits market research, and market intelligence has to offer.

The data collected from market research enables a business to gain insight on industry trends, changes in consumer behavior, and keep up with the competition’s change in strategies.

Most market research specialists prefer working with structured data because it presents less of a challenge. But unstructured data is an equally valuable gold mine. When you know how to go about extracting insights from this data, your business is sure to gain in the form of more accurate decision making and strategic plans.

Extracting insights from unstructured data involves the following steps.

  1. Understanding your resources
  2. Data parsing
  3. Proper analysis of the data
  4. Integrating Data Results with Business Processes
  5. Proper storage

Unstructured data refers to a type of data that lacks a predefined data model. It is designed for humans to read and not computers.

1) Know Your Sources

Always have an objective in mind. It will prevent wastage of time and resources. Based on your goal, which sources will be best for extracting insights?

Sources of unstructured data include web pages of websites relevant to your needs. Set aside anything that is only tangentially related to your objectives.

2) Data Parsing

What Is Parsing of Data? It is a technique in which the data extracted during the web scraping process is converted into readable data using a tool known as a parser. It will change the unstructured data into structured data.

Unstructured data extracted from web pages can be in HTML or XML. The parser will take the HTML or XML data and convert it into a readable format, such as CSV or a table. Interpreting and understanding the converted data is easier.

3) Analyzing the Data

Once the data is in a readable format, you need to study, analyze it, and turn it into actionable insights. And choose an analytics method that matches the objective of your research.  

You will need to carry out the analysis with the nature of the end result in mind. Do you want to come up with a precise quantity or price, or are you looking to obtain a trend? Without this, your analysis process will be aimless.

4) Integrating Data Results with Business Processes

All the insights you collect will not be of use if you do not apply them in your market strategies. Use these insights to create a product that matches the current needs of consumers. Insights from price scraping can help you set more competitive prices for your products.

Integrating data results with business processes will steer your business towards profitability. It will keep you relevant in your industry and give you a competitive edge over your rivals.

5) Proper Storage

You need to properly store the results of the analysis to prevent loss or damage. A cloud-connected information store is ideal. It will provide ample storage for both your present and future market intelligence research projects.

Proper storage of the analyzed data makes retrieval and utilization easier. When choosing a storage tool, pay attention to scalability and volume. The ability to function in real-time is a plus. Create a relationship between the sources and the extracted insights for a better-structured database.

Tips to Proper Handling of Unstructured Data

Here are two tips to help you handle your data better to avoid loss of information

1) Use a Data Lake to Store the Raw Information

A data lake is a single storage system for all of a company’s raw data. Use it to store your unstructured data before processing it. You can then move the structured data to a data warehouse.

2) Clean Up the Data Before Storage

Noise such as white spaces often obscures valuable data in the original files. Clean up your files. Eliminate any duplicate files and irrelevant details. Treat the data for missing values, and convert informal text to formal language.

Conclusion

There is so much data available for businesses to use in making strategic decisions and profitable moves in the industry. While focusing on structured data is easier, unstructured data is a great source of valuable insights as well.

Ensure that your sources of data are in line with your objectives. During data parsing, use a reliable parser to transform the unstructured data into structured data. Use analytics tools to derive insights from the data and integrate these insights with business processes.

When it comes to handling unstructured data, proper handling is vital. It ensures that no valuable information is lost. Clean up the files from noise and eliminate any data that does not contribute to the objective at hand. And store the raw data in a data lake before transferring it to a warehouse.

Article provided by Doma Stankevičiūtė - Oxylabs.io

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