Digital Transformation blueprint

The digital transformation journey is complex and you can easily lose yourself looking for alternatives and going back and forth without results.

What is what we call “digital”?

Let’s start first on what is what everybody calls digital. The business is business and this has not changed, what has changed is the context, and by that reason we have to look at it continuously.

The consumers have the control, they can change of product, brand or service as soon as they can. So to become “digital” means that you put this as first priority on the whole cycle.

How can we do that? Well the answer is complex, but one of the elements you have to take clear is the fact that you need an ecosystem or platform that enables you to:

  • absorb and analyze all context data.
  • change your operations based on tactic decisions that you have taken based on the analysis.

So, user is under control and to have a platform that enables you to learn and react to it are, simplifying a lot, the two key things.

What is becoming the standard steps for digital transformation

These steps are the typical steps the companies are doing, for sure in different ways and with different styles. The culture is an important component and the organizations with an innovative mindset are crossing the river to digital easily.

Step 1.- Understand the digital dynamics:

  • What are the new consumer habits?
  • What are the consumer value more?
  • How they consume? what is the decision making process?
  • When are they consuming?

Step 2.- Define the new digital business context

  • Who are the industry competitors?
  • Who are the new competitors that do not belong to the given industry?

Step 3.- Determine the cultural and capability readiness and gaps.

  • Is the organization able to adapt to these changes?
  • How can we convince the organization that we have to accelerate these changes?
  • How can we do all this without losing the identity?

Step 4.- Map the value chains and identify the economic value added

  • What is the current situation where we are?
  • What are the main user capabilities that they are demanding?
  • How can we offer them these capabilities quickly, in an intuitive way, and aligned with their experience expectation?
  • What are the operational capabilities we have to improve/change to enable this customer experience?

Step 5.- Build the digital transformation road-map

For all these changes we have defined:

  • What are the initiatives / projects we have to launch?
  • When can be released?
  • What are the priorities?

Step 6.- Create the flight plans for the digital transformation initiatives

  • What are the defined initiatives / projects we have to launch?
  • What are the communications plans we have to prepare internally to show the vision, and purpose of these changes?
  • How ready is our organization to adopt these changes?

Step 7.- Execute the plans across the digital change life-cycle.

  • Just do it, get feedback and achieve these goals you have defined.

Attribution modeling

To attract new customers through marketing campaigns is more complex thanks to the new channels where consumers reach a brand. This makes the way to reach the consumer to be more complex.

The aim of attribution modeling is to understand the influence each advertising impression has on a consumer’s decision to make a purchase decision.

To provoke the decision of purchase is a direct goal, but there are also indirect goals in this complex relationship between a consumer and a brand. By this reason another goal of attribution modeling is to convert visibility into what influences the audience, when and to what extent.

The main restriction in marketing is budget and good marketers know how to maximize the money their customers want to spend. So ROI of marketing campaigns is on debate. This article talks about it with some good examples to understand better the attribution modeling.


What does “Digital” means in 2015?

What does “Digital” mean for you?

I have asked this question several times and it’s a good way to put the listener of the question in an embarrassing situation almost all the times.

That question was also done to me a couple of times and apparently I almost did well. I found this Point of view document from Horses of Sources where they explain their understanding of what digital means right now.

In a nutshell, “digital” describes the technologies that enable enterprises brands to exist electronically with their customers, employees, partners and suppliers. It’s the journey from a situation “AS-IS” to a situation “TO-BE”, where the there are six layers or dimensions that you have to take into account.

  1. Enterprise brand: “digital” is the way the enterprise utilize technology to interact with customers, employees… This component is marketing centered topic.
  2. As a Service: the “digital” world is interested to consume as a service, with clear price models and reducing CAPEX, so companies needs to adapt their services/products to this finance model.
  3. Infrastructure : there are changes at this level: be quicker, less expensive and take into account new spaces: IoT, more security requirements…
  4. Enabling technology: in a digital world companies need to bridge the gap of communication and understanding between clients/consumers and the enterprise itself.
  5. Omnichannel: in a digital world all communication channels need to be taking into account, a clear strategy about how to reach the consumer attention is clear. Here is where marketing has started to call themselves “Digital Marketing”.
  6. Digital engagement: how the consumer experience is with respect the company, the brand through the Apps, web page and other digital elements. This component is marketing centered topic too.

Digital-by-HfS Do you remember the years where all people where talking about “internet era”, “web 2.0”, “cloud era”? well now all is about “Digital”, another transformation of the companies to stay competitive in a changing world.

Fix mobile usability issues found

Google Sending Mobile usability warnings to huge number Of Webmasters. And the platforms as wordpress, prestashop, shopify…  are part of this massive communication.

The message I receive is:  “Fix mobile usability issues found…”  follow by the domain name.

My honest opinion is that this is the way Google is saying us: check out your mobile usability because we are going to change the search algorithm and this will be important.

I checked the tools offered by Google for checking and fixing the issues and at the end of the day the main factor is the template you have.

For sure every single web is different and a deep analysis is required, but the template is key here.

The first question that comes to my mind is,

which platform has the community with better ability to react to this change?

Any thought about this?

Google Merchant Center

Google approach can be seen in so many angles, to me the example of the tactics used on flights booking services is a good example: first absorb the data, second provide it from removing the need of the third party.

Merchant Center follows the same road map. Today, you spend money advertising on ad words, specific directories, Facebook… Google is tracking the information from your store, and you can show it in Google Shop.

Better time response

Now this blog is hosted in a different server, and the result is just better in terms of time response.

I came from an average load time of 3,5s to an average load time of 2,15s.

The first 2 requests took 1,3s; mainly the web browser waiting for response from server (yellow line). Now this takes 0,7s.


Now it’s time to go for next priority!

Hosting benchmark, bogoMips

When you are doing a hosting benchmark there are thousand common parameters all providers suggest to compete against others (size, bandwidth, #databases… ).

The main secret of the providers is the speed. All providers hide this information: CPU speed and number of people hosted on the same server. These 2 parameters can vary, so at the end of the day the important parameter is the real time response.

I found the concept “bogowips”, which is a play on the Linux “BogoMips”. It is short for “Bogus WordPress Instructions per Second”. This concept was created by a WordPress developer that has invented his own criteria to measure it. The utility he has created is this plug-in:

BogoMips comes from Bogo Millions of Instructions Per Second. The results in my case are:

  • CPU Speed: 24.686 BogoWips
  • Network Transfer Speed 4,24 Mbps
  • Database Queries per Second: 1.049

I love the idea but for me it still is not so much credible because I do not know where the average of the other data comes from (it could be the case that they come from dedicated VPS). In any case it is a good idea that I hope that evolves in something more consistent.

I still hope there will be a standard speed measure recognized as standard that enables the community to evaluate the time response of the services they hire.

Who are your IP neighbors?

Time response continues causing me headaches, but I’m discovering causes and differentiating the causes, so I’m progressing in the right direction.

The situation now is that pictures are compressed and with a light weight, no code faults, reduced CSS and JS files, CDN activated, cache, etc.

It depends on the pictures of the main screen that time response differs, anyway the time to load the page yesterday was 3,26s. What’s the main issue?

The first 2 requests take 1,3s (40%) mainly the web browser waiting for response from server (yellow line).

joapen-time-responseSo, the server, what’s happening with the server?

After checking for some weeks the performance of the server, the conclusion is that memory assignment is fine, and there are not faults on the server, the parameter that provokes time response issues is the CPU at 100%.

What does it mean 100%? I have not the data of the speed and number of CPUs, but I have read about strategies of hosting companies about how they co-locate the shared environments and how they do it.

Basically, you can host so many people in one server and be aggressive on price, or host less people on same place and increase the price (providing better quality). I have read about hosting services that co-locate 5-10 people on a server, and other that co-locate over 400 places.

You can easily understand how much neighbors (places) you have in your neighborhood (the shared server) using tools such this:

I work with two different hosting providers, in one I have 29 neighbors, in the other one just 4.

Now I know:

  • I have to move to the neighborhood with less neighbors.
  • Next time I look for a hosting service, I will ask for the number of neighbors.
  • The consumers community of shared hosting services should start demanding a clear parameter to understand the quality of the shared hosting. Some offers include infinite disk or bandwidth, what about a minimum CPU assignment in MHz?


Web time response on WordPress

In April I started to take care of the time response of the WordPress blog.

After adding wp-cache, CDN, and check the quality of the code, the results are:

1.- Yslow grade = A, overall performance score = 96

2.- Load Impact: it’s not perfect, but goes from 7.5s to 5s average, and only 2 high peaks.

LoadImpact_joapen 3.- WebPagetest: this one comes from 72/100 to 93/100, First Byte Time is still bad, compress images has decreased and Cache static content has improved.

WebPage_test_joapenThe job is not perfect but for me, now it’s time to go for Prestashop!