Productivity in the palm of your hand

digital assistant

How can I help you today?

Is it my imagination or are more people offering “life changing advice”? If I think back five years, I can’t remember there being quite so many blog posts, books, apps or “lifehacks” aimed at self improvement. I have tried my fair share, from the New Year’s resolution to regular meditation. Some stick, many do not. Recently I embarked on simple experiment to improve my productivity by embracing technology. My aim was simple, can the adoption a specific tool deliver improved productivity? Is using technology easier or better than embracing a time-saving habit? Let’s get started with the digital assistant.

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The Rise of Subscription Ecommerce

subscription ecommerce

all you need in one box

Subscription services are not a new phenomenon. When I was kid I was a member of computer games club which would send me a ZX Spectrum game, each month for a regular payment. It was great for me, I got a newly released game every month, conveniently delivered to my house. Fast forward 30 something years and subscription ecommerce retail models are back in fashion. The quiet revolution of brands and services that offer a convenient, regular product is gaining momentum with some very notable examples of success. It seems that you can offer this model for just about any product from razor blades, to healthy snacks, to beauty products to boxes of organic vegetables. Let’s take a look at how you make the subscription ecommerce model work in the digital age and why it is easier than ever to engage your customers month after month.

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It’s time to ditch the RFP

RFP in the bin

Throw out the RFP

For those of you not familiar with the RFP (request for proposal) or RFI (request for information), it is a document which outlines parameters for a company to deliver a proposal to win a contract (usually). It typically consists of a series of questions including: certification, process, governance, frameworks, technical delivery, SLAs and often many other points. Sometimes you get guidance on the format which the response should take. You may also receive an overview of how your response will be graded. The premise is, the customer running the process will understand how a future business relationship will work. By sending an RFP to a series of suppliers, you can then judge them equally on their responses and make the most appropriate selection. I believe running a selection process in this way is hugely floored, and it is now time to consign it to history.

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The importance of data in the digital age

data stategy

Data and its role in digital transformation

The early 90s saw the rise of the information age. Network connected computers and digital communication meant businesses were able to collect and leverage customer data to help develop new business models. This led to more efficient customer engagements and the rise of online services has opened up a whole new way of working in many industries. Over the last 20 years, data strategy has very quickly become the foundation on which digital transformation is based. In order to understand the importance of data, both storage and use, it is vital to grasp some key concepts. So let’s start by understanding the categorisations of data, how it is managed and the role of the analysing and presenting findings.  Continue Reading


The Right Skills for Digital Agility

digital agility

tap into expert skills

In today’s disruptive, digital world you can launch a mobile app in a week. The following day you can have over one million downloads and become an overnight success. You don’t need to manufacture a product, build a physical shop or produce expensive television advertising to do it. This rapid growth requires clever, agile organisation and management. Hiring experts to fill specialist positions takes time and money, but help is hand. With more and more freelancers and agency staff available to fill your bench of talent, flexible teams can be built and shaped in days. It all sounds good, but how realistic is it? When you should take on short term skills as opposed to hiring a full time position? Here are my five tips on delivering digital agility into your team.

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Paradox of Choice in a Multi Cloud World

multi cloud

making the multi cloud choice

Why more, is less. That is the by-line for the 2004 book “The Paradox of Choice” by American Psychologist Barry Schwartz. In the book he starts by outlining a universal falsehood of Western society, that freedom is linked to our welfare. By empowering citizens to have freedom of choice this increases the level of welfare they will have. So more choice is better. However, his perspective is that when faced with greater selection it leads to anxiety, stress and paralysis. With so many options to choose from, people find it difficult to make a choice. It puts the subject in a situation where it is easy for them to imagine they could have made a different choice, which could have been better. A great example of this is Starbucks coffee. By changing the default items from the menu there are over 80,000 drink combinations available! Imagine if you had never ordered a coffee before and went into a Starbucks, where would you start? How would you know which drink combination to select? How could you be sure you are ordering something you would enjoy? Why is this relevant to making a multi cloud decision?

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3 Keys to Delivering Digital Success

digital success

build a successful digital strategy

Before I talk about digital success, strategy and how you become successful, it is probably worth defining what digital means in terms of the modern organisation. Digitisation is typically the process of moving traditional business functions and processes online. This often takes the form of automation and delivering systems and services which enable user interaction using technology. The simplest example of this is a public facing website which allows customers to consume information about the company on the Internet via a browser. Particularly for large firms which operate in traditional verticals, this can be a complex and sometimes challenging transformation. So how do you deliver digital success?

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Performance is Still King


speed is still king

Back in 2012 I spoke at an ecommerce conference about the importance of performance. My message was “Speed is King”. I talked about how delivering a properly optimised hosting solution would deliver real business improvement. Now, in 2016, when I think about what it takes to be successful online, things really haven’t changed. Having a fast loading website should be your top priority. All the reasons which I raised four years ago are still valid today, but as society gets more impatient one could argue they are even more pertinent.

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How I Build a Blog Post

building a wall

I don’t write, I build my blog posts

In a change to my typical procedure, I have published an article “off site” on the Medium platform. It covers the process I use to build the blog posts which you read here, at The Hosting Insider. By using my article on Employee Experience as an example, I outline the steps I go through, from a blank screen to the finished document. I decided to do this to understand how I might use different publishing platforms, particularly when using a different tone of voice. Medium is full of excellent content from some very talented writers and my general impression is that people are usually generous with their comments and feedback.

Why not head over and have a read:

I am not a writer. I am a builder. This is how I build my blog posts.


Ecommerce Data Every Business Should Know

Ecommerce data

use data to track progress

From small start-up to multi-national giant, the key to selling successfully online is knowing how to improve. By understanding exactly what is happening in your store at any given moment. When you use a digital platform, you can track and record every customer interaction. This means a wealth of ecommerce data. I believe there is no excuse for not using this knowledge to your advantage and becoming more efficient and effective than your competitors. In a world where data is driving every decision we make as consumers, retailers have the power to use ecommerce data too. This is going to sound amazing, but I have met a number of business leaders who fail to make the most of their access to the metrics and even seem unaware of their importance. Here are the 5 key statistics that should drive every ecommerce website’s growth:

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