The world is filled with data. In fact, it is overflowing with data.
The trick to success thus lies in finding the right way to gain valuable insight from such magnanimous amounts of data.
And, while in search of efficient ways to tap the potential of the data, you might have come across the terms big data and Business Intelligence.
But, before you jump into exploring these, you need to understand the very basics of what constitutes data and what types of data are there.
Data can consist of any piece of information. But, it is the perspective from which the data is collected and acted upon that makes the difference.
People are mostly only concerned with internal data; that is data coming from within the organization or a particular operation in question.
This restricted perspective is not a healthy data approach because you only solve part of the puzzle with internal data.
You thus also need extensive amounts of external data to support your decisions and get the full picture. So, what is external data and how can it help you derive better analytics. Read on to find out more.
What Is External Data?
Defining external data is easy: It is any data that are generated from outside an organization. It can originate from anywhere in the world and can come from various types of sources. External data is available almost around the clock and is quite easy to access.
External data have the ability to drive a lot of value for your business. Here are some ways it can help your business:
1. External data give you a better overview. Unlike internal data, which is restricted to your organization’s operations alone, external data can present to you the data that have a wider scope and is able to provide a bigger picture.
2. Accessing it is cheap. There are many encouraging initiatives taken up by both private businesses as well as governments around the world to bring make access to external data cheaper and easier.
Most of these databases can be accessed for free. The costs associated with external data are thus mostly associated with organizing and evaluating it.
3. External data are easy to access and comprehend in a technical way. Advancements in technology and tools have made it possible to conveniently access data and make it available for meaningful interpretation. A more connected world is also being very helpful in giving you unlimited access to external data.
The development data tools have further made it possible to collect and access data without needing the help of experts. However, you would require expert help when it comes to making data-based decisions.
4. It is capable of providing you with real-time and minute-by-minute updates about the current trends in various industries and product areas.
This makes the most valuable contribution to your data analytics because current data is the right data to base your decisions upon. It is extremely helpful when you need to make fast, informed decisions.
5. External data lets you perform better than your competitors. This is because you can be a step ahead of your competitors, as your strategies and decisions will always be relevant to the most current trends.
6. More and more data is being accumulated on the web via uploads and numerous customer interactions. Data is not being generated in terabytes or gigabytes. Every day, the amount of data being generated amounts to zetabytes and exabytes.
Being able to use this to your advantage is what external data promises you.
Using External Data
Before you dive into external data, you need to understand a few things. External data is not the same as internal data and is thus more complex.
It might take you a while to become familiarized with external data and you will need an expert on your team to work on the data. Furthermore, you must start to consider the external data along with the internal data whenever you make a marketing or business decision.
Tools and Sources to Make the Most of External Data
Below are a few tools and sources that will give you access to external data easily. You can explore these to help make things easier while you get started.
Data.gov is open source and an excellent place to find free data. It provides you with more than 131,000 datasets and some research tools.
Import.io is a web platform that collects data from over 10 million records all over the web every day. They have billions of datasets that will be helpful in your real-time competitive analysis.
This is a niche source that gives you access to datasets that could be useful to evaluate your marketing and advertising strategies. You can use it to get an insight into your competitor’s strategies and make the best use of your online marketing campaigns.
Keep learning more about external data as the more you explore, the more you will be able to use it wisely.
Do you have any questions? Please feel free to leave your comments below and thanks for reading!