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Should you Build or Buy Your Data Parsing Tool?

June 9th, 2023

Defining Parsing 

Before we dive deeper into data parsing tools, we must understand what parsing means.

Consider the following sentence: 

The adept software parsed the problematic data. 

Intuitively, we all understand what this means, but what if we broke it down into a simpler format?  

Data Parsing Tool

The process of dividing this sentence into its subject, verb, and object is known as linguistic parsing. By performing linguistic parsing, readers can better understand the intention behind an author’s words. 

In the same way that readers use linguistic parsing to make sense of language, businesses use data parsing to make sense of their data. 

What is Data Parsing?

Data parsing is the process of converting data from one format to another. The most common use of data parsing is converting raw HTML code into JSON format. 

But is this the only data parsing use case? Not quite. 

PDFs, emails, audio files and many other file types may store enterprise data. Data parsing is the conversion of any of these file types to more easily understandable formats. 

How Does a Parser Work? 

A parser is not concerned with parsing through all the data points within a business document. Rather, data is collected on a pre-defined set of rules.

Hence, data parsing is accomplished in the following two-steps: 

  1. Firstly, defining the rules that underline what data needs to be captured
  2. And then, performing appropriate transformations on parsed data to make it ready for storage and analysis

Business Workflow Optimization using Data Parsing 

Today, more than 80% of business data is unstructured. Learning how to put this data to use can create a competitive advantage for businesses, and a robust data parsing solution can help you get there. 

A data parser provides structure to data and automates the data extraction challenges that businesses face on a day-to-day basis.  As a result, businesses can use previously inaccessible data and use it to streamline communications, power analytics, and identify inefficient processes. 

Finance and Investments 

Finance is primed for the utilization of data parsers. Strict regulations and the need for vast financial information create thousands of data points that must be sorted and analyzed. So, transforming unstructured data to structured data is crucial for making investment decisions, determining loan rates, and preparing earnings forecasts.  

Moreover, it also gives financial institutions the ability to parse through audio files, documents, and audit reports that allow them to gain a better understanding of user trends and patterns. This results in greater personalization of product offerings. 

Shipping and Logistics 

Like in the finance industry, the shipping and logistics industry has a significant and ever-growing need for data parsing as well. Some examples of unstructured data that need to be properly formatted for workflow optimization are commercial invoices, import/export duty bills, and shipping labels.


Businesses operating in the accounting sector have copious amounts of unstructured data that they must filter through to get relevant insights.  They must also fulfil extensive compliance requirements which require accurate and reliable data. 

Industries like law and legal, healthcare, insurance, and manufacturing also have similar regulatory requirements and benefit from having a robust data parsing tool. 

To Build or To Buy Your Data Parsing Tool 

Should you build your own data parsing tool or buy an existing data parsing solution to handle your data management needs? Here are some key points you need to consider. 

The scope of your use case(s)

If you have a large variety of use cases with a great degree of differentiation within the documents for those use cases, it is sensible to rely on the vast capability of an existing data parsing tool. On the other hand, if you are dealing with homogenous files, then building a data parsing solution specialized for those specific files is also a good solution.

Integration with other systems

How you plan to integrate your data parsing tool with other data management tools employed by your business is also an important consideration. Perhaps you want parsed data to be fed into an analytics platform that will give you useful and actionable insights, or you want to feed this information directly into a data warehouse so that you may store it as a single source of truth. Working on integrations can be tough.  As a part of Astera’s larger data management offering, Astera ReportMiner can offer you a powerful data parsing tool alongside an ecosystem of other data management products that can take your use of business data to the next level.


On the face of it, buying a data parsing tool seems like an expensive purchase to make. However, you must also consider the opportunity cost of allocating development resources to the building of a data parsing tool. And it is relevant to keep in mind that building the tool is only the first step. Ongoing maintenance of and upgrades to the tool may prove to be equally resource-depleting tasks for your business. Check out this calculator to see how much you can save by buying your data parsing tool instead.

Customer Support

The running of a data parsing solution is no simple task. As a result, your development team will run into problems at one point or another. Having a team of dedicated customer support representatives such as that at Astera ensures that any such problems are smoothed over quickly and efficiently. 

Astera ReportMiner Enables You to Parse Data Faster 

If you decide that it is worth buying a data parsing tool for your business, Astera ReportMiner is the ideal tool for you. ReportMiner’s template-based data extraction combined with its powerful ETL engine enables you to parse data with speed and accuracy.  

Check ReportMiner Out 

The following video shows a common document processing use case in ReportMiner and its features, including: 

  • The intuitive designer window that lets you create templates with ease
  • Pattern definition and region selection that allows you to extract data by specifying the relevant fields 
  • Data capture that allows you to parse through both key value pairs and table regions
  • Data preview that allows you to see your data in real time

Interested in using Astera ReportMiner to turbocharge your data parsing? Download a free 14-day trial of our automated data extraction solution. If you prefer to speak with a representative, call +1 888-77-ASTERA today.

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