Discover reasons for automating data collection and a step-by-step guide to automated data collection at no cost.
The world produces more data than it can consume. Every minute, we watch more than 5 million videos and send over 200 million messages and emails. You read that right. Every. Single. Minute.
Companies that want to tap into data-driven decision-making to dominate their competition need to collect the vast amounts of data produced and extract valuable insights using data analysis.
But data collection can be extremely challenging.
For one, the average company today produces customer data across a myriad of platforms. Whether it’s advertising software used to market to customers (Facebook ads, Google ads, Linkedin ads, Bing ads, etc.), ERP software for streamlining production, CRM software used to track sales, email software for tracking communication, or other third-party apps for operationalizing business operations - companies have customer data dispersed across multiple platforms. Keeping track of all of the differences and working on extracting data can be extremely time-consuming.
Smart companies understand that data collection is a means to an end, and they automate data capture to accelerate their time to insights.
Automated data collection is the extraction of raw data from its source without human intervention. We rely on technology to do the extraction for us.
Automated data collection software (also known as Automatic Identification and Data Collection, or AIDC for short) relies on advanced engineering and machine learning to correctly identify the raw data and extract it automatically, speeding up the time it takes to collect data.
There are multiple examples of how technology has accelerated data capturing.
One of the first examples of data capture systems were barcode scanners. Scanning bar codes sped up item identification and processing. Remember cash registers? Each product had to be entered manually by employees. Another example would be supply chains, where passing an item from one level of the chain to the next meant filling in a ridiculous amount of paperwork.
But the world has moved beyond data collection devices (such as barcode scanners or RFID readers) into fully automated data collection systems.
Nowadays, the average company can benefit from automatic data capture platforms, which take all of a company’s data sources (advertising software, CRMs, ERPs, emails, accounting software, etc.) and extract valuable data without the need for a programmer to do the coding.
Automated data collection platforms work by abstracting away the inner workings of your ETL data pipeline.
What is an ETL data pipeline?
It’s the data engineering foundation and code, which extracts or collects data from its raw sources, transforms data or cleans it in a form that is ready for analysis, and loads the data into a database or data warehouse where it’s safely stored until you need it.
The automated data collection platform builds applications which automate the ‘extract’ portion of the ETL.
For the end user, this is a straightforward process:
Automated data collection platforms offer multiple benefits to companies:
Keboola is an all-in-one data operations platform that helps you to automate your data operations end-to-end.
What does this mean?
It means that Keboola was built to automate your ETL pipeline (the extraction, transformation, and loading of your data), as well as other aspects of your data pipeline, such as:
But Keboola truly shines in automated data collection.
With over 130 extractor components, you can automatically collect data from the most popular third-party apps and tools:
Automating data collection can be done in just a few clicks and without any costs. Start by creating a free account. Every new account receives 300 free minutes each month for completing simple tasks like data collection.
Now that you’ve created a free account, search for components and click on extractors.
We have more than 130 extractors listed in a searchable library. Simply scroll down or use the search bar to find the extractor needed. In our case, we searched for extractors for Google products.
Let’s go with Google Analytics, for example. Click on the icon and create a new configuration. In this view you can also find additional information and documentation related with the extractor.
Then proceed to authorize account via two simple clicks.
In the right-side menu, there’s an option to automate data collection. Simply click on it, decide on a time frame and you’re good to go!
But what happens if you use a tool that’s not covered by Keboola’s ecosystem of automated data collection apps/extractors? We’ve got you covered.
With the Generic extractor, you can build your own data collection app for any RESTful API. Just dust off your coding keyboard and get typing! In fact, clients have set up their own extractors in a fraction of the time that it usually takes to build their own data pipelines.
Try it for yourself. Keboola offers a no-questions-asked, always-free tier, so you can play around and tap into the potential of automated data collection.