The goal is higher data quality and more complete records. All Jigsaw records come with an email address and 70 percent come with a direct dial phone number, the highest standard in the industry, Fowler says. "We're hitting the point where the value of data is exceeding the value of software. And going forward, the systems that understand changes to data are the ones that will win."
Point and Extract
A longstanding method of aggregating unstructured streams of data is through robots that search and scrape content from Web browser views. Kapow claims to have taken screen-scraping technology to a new level with extraction of any source of enterprise or Web data through a proprietary point and click browser interface.
"Early on we were trying to catch the wave of mashups, but it felt like old IT because of the code you had to write and maintain for APIs," says Kapow marketing VP Ron Yu. "Plus, new applications are coming out faster than APIs, and we want to automate data extraction inside and outside the firewall."
Kapow has many named corporate customers but can only speak about a few under non-disclosure agreements. One it can point to is Fortune 500 financial service tech provider Fiserv, documented in a 2009 case study published in the Journal of Corporate Treasury Management.
Fiserv had tried and failed to create a compliance dashboard to track more than 10,000 treasury transactions per day among the top global 300 banks. Using a login and password to open a view-only interface to secure bank Web sites, Fiserv used Kapow, an Oracle database and a dashboard view from Corda to successfully create a 10-bank proof of concept in three weeks, and a full production application within three months.
"Banks have many layers of policy for security and no one is going to let you punch a hole through their firewall to the application," Yu says. "Kapow, gave them a way to automate access to transactions."
By such an example, Yu hopes point and click Web data collection will be an effective alternative to traditional SQL programming and ETL tools, especially when the focus is on operational data. "The problems with data quality arrive when you're moving data back and forth and asking what the system of record is. Why not just integrate two Web applications so you can skip all that?"