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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Google Tag Manager 101 Part 8 - CSS Selector

The most important page on your website is your home page. For our website, just over 50% of traffic lands on the home page and for some sites that I work on, over 80% of visits start on home.

When a new website is designed, typically multiple people within the company agonise for hours over which areas of the company should receive the most promotion on the home page. They talk about how to feature their content - carousels, promo boxes etc - and about every aspect of the design of the page, the layout, the font, the colours.

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Plantech – a triumph for Tauranga!

As someone who grew up in Tauranga and then left for over 10 years to study, start my career and travel the world, coming home to ‘settle down’ always came with mixed emotions. On the one hand I was coming back to a place where you could leave the office and be walking around the Mount within 10 minutes, but on the other hand I was worried that my career would be compromised as the Bay was not known for its innovative, robust, thriving business community at that time.

Fast-forward 7 years and all that has changed. The Bay is now the fastest growing region in terms of population, GDP, and employment growth. We are now much more than a beach, much more than $10 Tauranga and much more than the place for the newly wed and the nearly dead.

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Groundswell Festival of Innovation

Cucumber is sponsoring Groundswell, Tauranga’s inaugural Festival of Innovation created to power the movement, spark collaborations, conversations and connections across the city. Showcasing how our business and people are leading the way through innovation, locations across Tauranga will come alive with a range of events to inspire and upskill the community. Featuring national and international innovators, Groundswell is a must-do in Tauranga this August.

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Sitecore Trendspot 2017

Missed out on Sitecore Trendspot 2017? Never fear, we’ve captured the top highlights from the keynotes and strategy sessions right here in this handy little blog post.

Did you know the average human attention span is now 8 seconds? That’s one second less than a goldfish. We’re basically designing and building for the human equivalent of a goldfish. Hopefully your attention lasts until the end of this post!

“A wealth of information has created a poverty of attention.”

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Google Tag Manager 101 Part 7 - The Data Layer

I set out on this series of articles intending to write a simple guide to Google Tag Manager for non-developers. After all, the main benefit of Google Tag Manager (GTM) for the marketing department is that they can build in tracking for their campaigns without having to wait for the IT department to release new code. So my plan was not to delve into JavaSscript at all ....

Having said that, sometimes you just can't avoid going a bit deeper to provide good analytics for certain types of website.

This article discusses the data layer, how to read from the data layer and send information through to Google Analytics and how to store state information from GTM into the data layer. I am only scraping the surface of what can be done, other people have written articles about getting in depth with GTM and the data layer.

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Design Disruptors

Design Disruptors; my kind of people!

A couple of weeks ago, on a cold and blustery Thursday 150 folk braved the un-Tauranga like weather to come along to watch Design Disruptors – a documentary from Invision which Cucumber and Priority One partnered to bring to Tauranga. The screening came about from a simple conversation (as these events often do). Kyle Turner, who leads the design team at Cucumber, mentioned in passing that there was this new design film out and it would be really good for our team to watch it. It turns out that in order to view the documentary you have to pay for a licence and host a screening so one designer looking to watch a film turned into close to 150 people in a room. The film details how various companies had used different design solutions to answer business objectives and generate economic gain.

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Back to the Future - Design Insights

The 80s are back!

Great Scott Marty, we’ve dialled the DeLorean up to 2017 but nothing’s changed?

We all know how styles come and go and if you hold on to something long enough it might just be cool again (except for Crocs, Crocs will never come back). It’s why when you were little the best thing about visiting Nana was for the boiled sweets and Sodastream, but now it’s to make sure she still has that mid-century couch you ‘subtly’ suggest you’d like to inherit...

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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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