Data is information, and information is free, right? Anyone who has ever spent time researching a project online knows only too well that this simply isn’t the case. Very often, opinion is free, speculation and comment are free, but when it comes to cold, hard facts – these are extremely valuable indeed. Wikipedia is a prime example of what we’re talking about. 20 years ago, if you wanted the kind of information stored in Wikipedia today, you’d have to shell out a small fortune on a set of Encyclopaedia Britannica; and of course, even then you couldn’t simply search for relevant topics with the click of a mouse. Wikipedia is free, fast and comprehensive, but it isn’t accurate. Printed encyclopaedias are rigorously researched and thoroughly fact checked, whereas Wikipedia is user generated and fallible. More often than not, if you want top-quality data, you’re going to need to pay for it.
Should data be free, though? Say what you will about Wikipedia, the internet has taken great steps towards helping businesses reduce their research costs, with options like Google Consumer Surveys, social media and crowdsourcing providing companies with a more or less costless resource that simply didn’t exist several years ago. However, while information in and of itself may one day be completely free, that price often reflects its true value. Data is not valuable without insight, and that insight is often where the costs are incurred. Services that can provide your company with crucial insight and analysis into your data are more or less priceless, so you should be looking for a data capture company that can offer you flexibility, experience and knowledge where your data is concerned.
It’s not where your data comes from but what you do with it once you’ve obtained it that matters. You may decide that you want to undertake ‘DIY research’ – self-generate your data and then work from there. That’s all well and good, but when it comes to data analysis, there’s so much more that data capture experts can offer you than you’d be able to determine yourself. There are all sorts of problems that can throw a spanner in the works at this stage in proceedings; the logistical difficulty of dealing with big data is one, the numerous challenges of interpreting free-form data another. Our automated data capture processes can help you to deal with even the most robust big data challenges, and our text analytics and natural language processing services can help you to make sense of loose, unstructured free-form data, allowing you access to more insightful qualitative data than ever before.
High-quality information may one day be obtainable with little or no overheads, but making sense of that information is always going to require skill and experience, and those things can come at a premium. Contact us for a free workshop where we can explain in more detail how our services can help your surveys, research projects and audits, after which we can work together to develop a solution that’s right for you.