Everybody should have a blog page and this is ours. Read on for interesting little snippets, an opinion or two and random musings on all things digital and technological. 
Opinions herein do not necessarily reflect those of the company or its management (but, then again, they might).

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MobileTech 2017 - A Glimpse into the Future

Cucumber recently sponsored the MobileTech 2017 conference in Rotorua. It was the 5th time the event had been run and it's clear why this is becoming such a popular event on the calendar. Over 300 attendees across 2 days with over 40 presentations covering new technology products and services in the primary sector.

The overarching theme for 2017 was (unsurprisingly) innovation through technology primarily in the farming, horticulture, forestry and logistics sectors. There was indeed a great international flavour to this event too with companies and presentations from Australia, Ireland and the USA involved.

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A Leagile Strategy

Whilst embarking on a two year supply chain course at Toi-Ohomai from February this year I was presented with, in my first set of course material, two common supply chain strategies:-

Lean strategy : categorised by the ability to reduce inventory and waste. Lean supply chains focus on cutting out unnecessary business practices and wasting fewer resources while maintaining or improving delivery of their product to customers. 

Agile strategy : the whole supply chain needs to be interactive and flexible according to actual customer demands. Agility is a comprehensive response to the business challenges of profiting from rapidly changing, high flexibility orientation, advanced level of customised products and services. 

Then the course covered something I had not heard of before: a LEAGILE strategy

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Young Innovators Awards 2017

YIA was started in 2013 with one big idea: CREATING TOMORROW'S INNOVATORS

In the first 3 years of YIA, there was just a single winner and that person or team was awarded a 2 week internship to further develop their idea. Last year, the number of winners increased to 4 - a senior winner and a junior winner who each received a 2 week internship and a day's internship for runners-up who had submitted a technology idea. Cucumber offered to host these single day internships and they took place in mid-January 2017. 

The 2 junior runners-up who won Cucumber internships were the teams from Terminal and Pet Partners - and this is the story of what they achieved at Cucumber.

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Do your Digital Hygiene first

Recently I had an initial meeting with the Chief Digital Officer in a very well-known company. In this meeting I asked for their number one challenge keeping them awake at night. I expected one of the common responses I hear when I ask this question, “we’re not all working to a single strategy”, “I can’t get buy-in for change at board / management level”, “we don’t have the required budget to make the changes we want”, “things are moving too fast, we’re not sure what to focus on”, “we can’t access our customer data to make decisions” etc etc etc. The answer however was surprising…. Search wasn’t working as well as they would like on their website.

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Act at speed without risk

Last November I was asked to present at Enable 2016 in Auckland. The theme was Enabling business transformation through the IT function and was attended by CIOs, IT Managers and other leading ICT roles.

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The Journey to Servitization Part 2

In Part One we talked about the concept of servitization as an integrated product-service offering that creates additional customer value and aims to gain a competitive edge against a globalised commodity products marketplace. Interest in service based models is not new, with articles stretching back into the 90’s.  However we are seeing a tipping point where technology is significantly enabling the ability to deliver advanced services to customers using their products as the platform to do so.

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Proof of Concept v Minimal Viable Product

The debate goes on…Proof of Concept vs. Prototype vs. Minimal Viable Product.

Debate was raging in the Cucumber camp last week. We were in the midst of putting together a proof of concept for a client, when we started exploring integrating into real life data to prove the concept was viable. By doing so a whole bunch of questions were raised around what a POC really was and were we crossing the great POC to MVP divide?

Proof of concepts (POC), prototypes and minimal viable products (MVP) are all common approaches in our world to test ideas and get useable, useful solutions to market quickly. But what do they really mean and when should we use each approach? Here are my thoughts:

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The Journey to Servitization Part 1

It is a great time to be a customer. More and more technology is empowering customers (as I write another major update in the iPhone7 and Amazon launches DASH in the UK) and this is driving companies to be increasingly customer focused. This is also driving new business models and supply chains to create efficiencies and create service excellence.

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Vive la Liberte

I don’t like Windows. There, I’ve said it. I’m a long-time .Net developer who started not too long after it was first released back in 2002. I’ve have had many years of success and enjoyment developing using C# going from developer, through technical leadership to my current role as CTO at Cucumber.

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Dean Wood on joining Cucumber

Spotlight on the newest member of the Cucumber family:

This month we start a new series where you get to know the member of the Cucumber family a little better. We kick this off with the new kid on the block; Dean Wood, who has joined Cucumber to help us build awesome relationships with our clients.

Question:
What’s your background prior to coming on board at Cucumber?

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Creating Google Analytics goals with regular expressions (regex)

Google Analytics is an immensely powerful tool for analysing your website data. This article looks at creating a Google Analytics goal using a regular expression (regex) and how to create and test the regex.

So here's the scenario. You want to record any view of a particular page typ eas a goal. Easy enough you might think, but what if the pages are located randomly around the website folder structure? As an example, what if the page type is product pages and the product pages are at various depths in the page hierarchy? The shortest URL is of the form

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2016 Digital Transformation Summit

On Monday I attended the 2016 Digital Transformation Summit at Sky City in Auckland. I'd like to share some of the key messages that resonated with me and some of the random thoughts that wandered across my brain.

Some key messages

  1. For digital transformation, the lead needs to come from the top and the ownership shared across the whole organisation. It shouldn't be a silo within IT or Marketing.
  2. "Fit to Fight". Ambition is to be applauded, but firstly you need a team in place with the skills and personalities to make change happen.
  3. It isn't a one-time, massive budget, project. It is a continuous, co-ordinated, agile sequence of milestones.
  4. Be smart about where you transform. There are no prizes for being the "most digital". Target the areas where you need a digital advantage to defeat your competition.
  5. Mobile First & User Experience is key. And the more consumer focused your company is, the more "mobile first-ish" it needs to be.
  6. Build in your measurements. If you can't meaure it, then how do you know it is working?
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Google Search Changes

Google changed the design of their Search Results page again recently. In this article, I will show the changes as I am seeing them here in New Zealand, some possible reasons for those changes and then take a look at how Google Chrome is a key component of Google's Search strategy.

Firstly everyone's view of Google Search is dependent on a number of factors.

  • Whether logged into a Google Account
  • Location
  • Search History
  • Browsing History
  • The terms they are searching for.

Because Google is storing your history while you are logged into your Google account, your search experience is very particular to you.

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Website Analytics - Why?

Let’s start with a question. Why even bother with website analytics?

Firstly, you have invested in a website and possibly in Adwords, email marketing software etc. Not to mention the investment of time of the people in your organisation. When the website was designed, you had target personas and conversions that you wanted to push visitors towards. Something like 

  • Read a brochure.
  • Sign up for a newsletter.
  • Contact you via a form/email you/call you.
  • Place an order
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SEO Guidelines for Content Editors

As a digital agency, we like to ensure that technical best practice is adhered to during the build of a new digital solution, however, the content within your site is the most important part of ranking well within search engine results. As they say, Content Is King!

To help with structuring your content, we have put together this high level overview of some of things you can do to lay the foundation for solid on-page optimisation.

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Cucumber and PGG Wrightson win at the 2015 Sitecore Experience Awards

We are excited to announce that PGG Wrightson (PGW) have won the Retail, Wholesale and Consumer Goods award at the 2015 Sitecore Experience Awards for Australia and New Zealand. Sitecore holds these awards annually, and we’re thrilled to be the only New Zealand digital agency to feature in these awards for the past 2 years.

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Part 3 – MongoDB and considerations for hosting it in production

In this series of blog posts I’ll talk about how we approach Sitecore® Experience Platform™ 8 production hosting at Cucumber. As this is a large topic I’ve decided to split it into bite-sized chunks for easier digestion.

Part 1 - Production Hosting
This post outlines the kinds of things that you should be considering when planning your production deployment of the Sitecore® Experience Platform™

Part 2 - Sitecore 7.x
A look back at how things were done before the release of version 8 and the problems that version 8 addresses.

Part 3 - MongoDB
An introduction to the MongoDB NoSQL database and some of the things you should know about hosting it in production.

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Part 2 - Sitecore 7.x: a look back at how things were done before the release of version 8.

In this series of blog posts I’ll talk about how we approach Sitecore® Experience Platform™ 8 production hosting at Cucumber. As this is a large topic I’ve decided to split it into bite-sized chunks for easier digestion.

Part 1 - Production Hosting
This post outlines the kinds of things that you should be considering when planning your production deployment of the Sitecore® Experience Platform™

Part 2 - Sitecore 7.x
A look back at how things were done before the release of version 8 and the problems that version 8 addresses.

read more...