Technology has really changed the data game in the corporate world. Anything you need to know about any field is now available online. But how do you know what sources you can trust?
This week on The Corporate Data Show we talked to Tim Harsch, the co-founder and head of product at Owler, which is now the second largest data provider and intelligence platform in existence, second to LinkedIn.
In fact, Owler recently hit a milestone of half a million active users and became the second largest business community to LinkedIn.
This is extremely impressive considering they got their start in 2011. Obviously, over the last five years, a lot has happened to make Owler stand out and become such a successful data tool for both small businesses and Fortune 500 companies across the globe.
ecause of the amount of users Owler now has, they receive a new data point every ten seconds, that comes out to hundreds of thousands of data points throughout the week. If you’re asking yourself what caused Owler to become so successful so quickly, Tim explains something called the three legs of data creation.
Data Creation: A Three-Legged Stool
Have you ever trusted a chair without knowing it was broken?
There is no worse feeling than plopping down in a chair, and immediately ending up on the floor. If a four-legged chair is missing a leg, the whole chair is rendered obsolete. It won’t support your weight.
In a nutshell, that is how data creation works. There are three distinct parts to data creation, and if you lose one of those components, the lack of support will eventually hurt you.
An article published by Forbes called, Three Legs of Big Data Stool Needed For Success, adds additional insight (with slightly different verbiage) into what Tim is talking about. The first leg is what Tim calls the human model.
This is your in-house team of analysts that goes outs and gathers data, collates it, and consolidates it. This is typically the hardest leg of the stool to truly implement. Because of the wonderful applications of technology, it’s easy to forget the importance of skilled, human analysts on your team that know how to analyze data sets to provide you with the most accurate information.
Without this human hand, you have access to data and no way to capitalize this information to make smarter business decisions and receive wise insight. Owler has an incredibly skilled team of analysts who provide consumers with factual, well-researched data sets. The second leg is automation.
This is when you use technology and mechanization to create natural language processing. The article from Forbes calls this “mobilization,” and addresses this technology by saying, “These apps need to address identified business outcomes useful for all levels of the organization.“
Technology should act as an aid to your staff, but it should not become the only focus. The third and final leg is crowd sourcing. This is when you leverage an entire community to improve data quality. A good example would be the website, Wikipedia.
Forbes notes that too many companies try to implement crowd sourcing by only looking at social media, and other biased platforms. Though these will provide good insight on some topics, there is an abundance of publicly available data provided from consumers from survey data and other government sources that are much more accurate and reliable. Without all three parts working together, gathering well-researched accurate data will be almost impossible. The team at Owler has really capitalized off of the implementation of this method, and their growth is staggering.
Broadening The Horizons
Currently, Owler is covering 12 million different companies, and they have the rising potential to be a primary data provider across the globe. As their success continues to grow, their community will grow. More clients = more business types = more data sets to explore.
"With the demand for broader data increasing, data gathering companies have to know who to trust in each individual field."
Initially, Owler had a much greater emphasis on the tech side of things, but have shifted to a much broader understanding of different business types. Their new emphasis: Community. They have a skilled human team that does validation and fact-checking, but now they’ve reached such a scale they have to find people in each field that they trust to supply knowledgeable insight covering every possible platform. Now, instead of just being skilled on the technological side of the coin, Owler now has great communities on healthcare, biotech, manufacturing, etc.
"As a community grows, it allows people to explore marketplaces where initially little/no data exists."
How is Owler profiting from their data creation?
They have created an Application Programming Interface (API) that makes it easier for developers to use the technology and reduces the load on programmers.
By using all three methods mentioned in the stool model, Owler is dominating the data providing game, and their influence continues to grow and evolve. If your business is looking for reliable data and you aren’t already using Owler’s amazing interface, check them out online or contact Tim Harsch on LinkedIn.
Be sure to listen to this podcast episode on iTunes!