Dataviz, a key tool to tackle exploding data!

Data visualization has become essential for businesses to tackle the mass of data created and the issues involved in processing it. The main point of data visualization – or Dataviz – is to save time searching for and analyzing information. The aim is to considerably improve decision-making.

Making good decisions relies on the quality of the information available. Having raw data compiled in Excel spreadsheets does not place the decision-maker in an ideal position to make the right choices.

A real-life example of the importance of Dataviz

One type of data is currently being increasingly monitored worldwide: medical data. We have seen the extent to which the way we present data plays a crucial role in informing and helping healthcare professionals, the media, the general public, and even governments to monitor and understand the evolution of the pandemic.

In France, the data enthusiast and computer engineer, Guillaume Rozier, enables this kind of visualization using graphics accessible to all on CovidTracker, the online platform he developed. At a glance, we clearly visualize the up-to-date epidemic situation. Medical data visualization needs will probably still be needed for several more years.

 

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Use of Covid Tracker graphics in the media

 

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Example of data visualization available on Covid Tracker

 

Dataviz tools and solutions provide faster access to data and extends this access to as many users as possible, including the general public. They improve understanding of data and trends to identify threats and detect opportunities. For businesses, the question of Dataviz is a major issue.

From a business development point of view, let’s take the example of CRM data visualization. One of the key points of a CRM tool is to detect fresh opportunities. Visualizations supplement CRM by providing more visual data, which is easier for decision-makers to understand. This means marketing and sales teams can make more considered decisions on their different actions, such as e-mailing campaigns to boost sales.

> Dataviz is one of SQLI’s specialist areas of business. Find out how we can help you with your decision-making issues.

 

Open-source tools VS paid tools

Several open-source tools have sprung up over the last few years. But what is their position on the data market?

Faced with global giants like Tableau, Qlik and PowerBI, open-source tools are increasingly used. Some are more comprehensive than others. Examples include Grafana, Kibana and Hight Charts. Hight Charts has a library of graphics that can be easily integrated into websites. The choice of these tools is mainly based on economic reasons and willingness to contribute to a community-based project.

In some cases, switching to open-source tools reduces the number of features available, or even means there is no editor support, which is only available for the enterprise version. But the financial gain is non-negligible. Open-source tools offer frequent updates including new features and bug fixes.

 

The importance of UX to produce easily understandable graphics

Whatever option you pick, Dataviz tools let you produce dashboards meeting user needs. So user experience is fundamental in producing these dashboards. UX lets you provide an instinctive reading-based display meeting key user needs, as well as including secondary reading levels to examine KPIs in detail.

 

Dataviz4

Example of an Analytics dashboard for a website

 

 

A closer look at ELK (or Elastic Suite)

Unlike other open-source solutions that include limited features or focus only on the visualization component, ELK or Elastic Suite is a comprehensive solution. It combines data recovery from several data sources using its functional modules:

  • Logstash (ETL): a tool to collect, analyze and process data;
  • Beats (log listening): a set of agents that transfer log data to Logstash and Elasticsearch;
  • ElasticSearch: renowned for storing and processing quite high-volume data;
  • Kibana: enables data visualization using a wide range of graphical depictions.

This is why some businesses are choosing this solution that includes all the tools they need to process data. And that lets them save time, whether during setup or maintenance!

Dataviz3

One of the specific characteristics of this tool is its ability to manage a huge volume of data. ELK was selected by one of the businesses I supported, as it needed to monitor data recovered via APIs every minute, and be alerted of any data recovery errors. This business provides its count data in near-real time, based on different grids and different granularities. It is provided via the API intermediary, published on the business’s client data portal. The aim of the Dataviz project is to ensure services run smoothly.

 

As we saw, ELK is one of the tools available on the Dataviz market. The rise in the number of solutions is a sign of the critical importance of data visualization, which is becoming increasingly clear. The right choice of solution for your business comes down to several criteria: cost, the use you’re going to make of it, and the flexibility you need.

> Now find out how you we can help you using Dataviz.

 

An Agile Health Check to support continuous improvement

As coaches, my colleagues and I wanted to offer the teams we support a tool they can use to not only challenge their own agile practices, but also identify their own areas for improvement. After some thought and collaboration, we successfully created a set of “Agile Health Check” cards. Don’t worry, we’ll explain!

 

Why an Agile Health Check?

Many of the teams we support use agile frameworks (including rituals, artefacts and roles) without necessarily having understood or acquired the agile mindset. So we wanted to offer them a way to take a step back from these frameworks and a look at a range of agile principles, as well as the benefits they can get out of them.

By creating these cards, we wanted to:

  • Get back to the basic values of agility and the benefits we are looking to get out of them
  • Getting teams to take a step back to look at their agile practices
  • Enabling teams to examine their own behavior and identify their own areas for improvement

What we didn’t want:

  • The cards becoming a way of assessing or even comparing teams. We deliberately chose not to have a rating system and instead opted for a smiley-based team satisfaction scale. But we are aware that the use of these cards will depend on the willingness of the people who will use them…

Agile health check

  • Asking the teams only about agile frameworks. These can be misused as toolboxes to do the same thing as before in a different form (new roles, new rituals, but without necessarily adopting self-organization, collaboration, accepting change, etc.). So we wanted to free ourselves of frameworks to address mindset.

 

How are the cards structured?

Inspired by Heart Of Agile that gets back to the basics of agility, our 12 cards are structured into 4 themes:

  • Collaboration
  • Delivery
  • Inspection and improvement
  • Team morale

The front of each card has a general question on an agile principle, and the back features questions to further examine this theme. We propose 4 levels of team satisfaction assessment (no rating). This means the team can self-assess each issue included on the cards then discuss the assessment, particularly identifying areas for improvement.

Here’s an example:

Agile health check 1

You can download the cards in French and English.

Obviously, these cards will inevitably change over time, based on your feedback and our experience.

 

4 critical questions to ask yourself about low-code

In Los Angeles, it took an entrepreneur just three days to create Givelocal, a crowdfunding platform to help struggling restaurants. The secret? Using low-code, which drastically reduces the time and cost of creating IT tools. According to a survey by Gartner from September 2020, more than 50% of medium-sized and big businesses will have integrated a low-code platform into their information system by 2023. Here are 4 questions to ask yourself before getting started.

 

What is low-code / no-code?

It’s above all a user-oriented platform to build a web or mobile application, without any (no-code) or with only a little code (low-code), based mainly on predefined models and on mainly visual programming (configuration, drag & drop, etc.). Most platforms include one module to manage data (connectors, API, etc.), another to support business processes and a final one for the user interface, based on business-oriented models.

Whether to meet a need quickly and cheaply, test a concept, or otherwise improve your everyday life, the low-code approach is a very interesting option to get started.

The use case that resonates with the biggest user base is certainly the famous macro used to process a set of data from Excel to generate a business monitoring dashboard or similar. There are also applications covering sales monitoring, ticketing and also workflow management including approval processes. A landing page can also be developed to test your own website or its e-commerce platform. There’s no shortage of use cases!

 

Who is this type of platform designed for?

Originally, this type of platform was mainly aimed at business users with solid basic development skills, called “citizen developers”. Super-users with super powers, capable of testing a concept directly with users and automating work flows to improve team productivity. That was the idea. Sadly, this profile remains very hard to find, as users are first and foremost dedicated to their business activity.

But another profile can be very interesting for these platforms: IT departments, which are very well organized to take on large-scale projects, with major aims, but struggle to handle more modest, often unscheduled demands that don’t require major development work, but need to be quickly implemented to generate as much value as possible (time-to-market). By adding this string to their bow, IT departments will not only be able to quickly meet business lines’ tactical needs, but also better manage data security (identity management natively integrated into these platforms, availability of preformatted business data), and prevent the development of technical debt and “shadow IT” by proposing clear governance combined with an Information System urbanization approach.

 

How can you get started on your low-code adventure?

A fast solution requiring little investment (one of the founding principles of low-code), consists of using collaborative work environments, and digital workplaces such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. The two competitors propose a low-code approach using Power Platform and the duo AppSheet and Apps Script, respectively.

The advantage of using one of these platforms is that most users are already fully proficient with them. They already know how to use the basic features, so with low-code they can go further, enriching the user experience.

However, to avoid any confusion, it is best to define the rules of the game in terms of features, data and security. Likewise, users need to be assisted with this adventure, firstly by teaching them about the low-code capacities of these platforms, and then by providing more advanced training to make them subsequently stand-alone.
Once trained, the idea is to provide them with a “sandbox” to test, learn and bring the low-code ecosystem to life.

 

How can this approach be made sustainable?

The starting point is a holistic view of your information system, making it possible to define the governance best suited to users’ needs for instantaneity. That’s the key!

So the first thing to do is to list user needs in terms of ideas to test or processes to automate, and then compare them to existing technical bases (that support business applications), and analyze them to identify data repositories and security needs. Based on these criteria (technological needs and capacities), the low-code platform(s) that best suit(s) your Information System can be selected.

Two worlds then open up to you:

  • Digital giants (Microsoft, Salesforce, Oracle, etc.) using a low-code approach that can be perfectly integrated into existing systems, particularly including natively-deployed identity management, via their wide range of services.
  • Pure-players (Mendix, OutSystems, Bubble, etc.) based on a more vertical approach, featuring very business-oriented solutions that enable express deployment, but are harder to integrate into existing systems.

 

This is why having an overview is absolutely essential given the wide range of low-code platforms available.

GOOGLE SEARCH RANKING UPDATE: GET ABOARD THE EXPERIENCE TRAIN

Some time ago, Google announced an update in the approach for the ranking of websites in their search results. Page experience signals were going to play a crucial part in the results and Google scheduled the roll-out for this update in May 2021. At Wax we’ve already been investigating this update to the core and Lighthouse scores are of the utmost importance for every new project we embark on. This is why we felt the need to communicate our findings on what we’ve learned in this process.

Google’s plan for this roll-out is to gradually implement it in their search results system; it won’t play its full part until the end of August 2021. That being said, let’s dive into some of the key features of this update!

 

What is the Google Page Experience Update?

As previously mentioned, the update will consider several page experience signals: these signals are a measurement tool to see how users perceive the interaction on your webpage. The reason why this is so important is because Google wants to ensure that their users land on the best performing pages out there. (< 15% of all existing webpages are underperforming according to these metrics).

The new page experience signals combine Core Web Vitals with the current existing search signals such as mobile-friendlinesssafe-browsingHTTPS-security and intrusive interstitial guidelines.

Google

As you can see in the image above, the core web vitals are currently focusing on three assets: loading, interactivity, and visual stability:

  1. Loading: this is the loading speed of a webpage. It is the point in the pageload timeline when the main content is likely to have loaded.
  2. Interactivity: this is the time from when a user has done a first interaction on the page, to the time the browser begins processing that interaction (for example, a click on a button).
  3. Visual stability: this means that users of your webpage don’t want to encounter annoying layout shifts and unexpected movements of page content.

Google2

Webmasters should be aware of these three indicators and do regular checks on PageSpeed Insights and the dev-tools Lighthouse. Metrics already show an increase of 70% of the use of these tools to measure page experience. At Wax Interactive, we are working with these tools on a daily basis. Additionally, we are noticing that the rules of getting a 90+ score on both mobile and desktop are getting stricter along the way; the penalties are getting bigger and bigger if you’re not able to provide what Lighthouse is asking for!

 

You don’t need to AMP your articles anymore

Google News is a tool that shows related articles to a search keyword; these stories will be shown at the top of a search results page. Until the update, webpages that have AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) implemented on them, would be preferred over other articles to show as top stories.

With the new update, your page can also rank in the top stories without an AMP, so great user experience and Lighthouse/PageSpeed results will get your stories in the top results!

Please note that AMP shouldn’t be completely abandoned! This is still a great tool to help your website with speed, security and mobile features, and its features will still align with the Google page experience in 2021.

What does this mean for your SEO?

Google will keep on investing in their other algorithms, so by upgrading your page experience, you won’t automatically have the best scoring website in the page results. Great content is still number one when it comes to ranking highly. But let’s say that there are two websites with similar content; the one with optimized page experience will win in the rankings!

Visual label of page experience

Google has stated that as of next year, it will implement a way of distinguishing websites that meet all their page experience specifications with a visual indicator. (Like what they have done in the past with the AMP webpages). These websites will score a lot better in organic page results than websites that didn’t take this into account. Don’t get us wrong, website content will still be the number one indicator to get ranked in the search results, but if there are two websites with similar content, the one with optimized page experience will win in the rankings!

What can you do?

If your website has been developed at Wax after May 2020, chances are that you’re already up to date with these requirements! Like we’ve said earlier in this article, we’ve put a lot of time and effort into taking these new measurements into account, even before they would be implemented in the search results ranking system. It’s also just best practice to have a fast-loading website to keep your audience on it!

If you’re new to this phenomenon and you own a website, go to the following link to run a check yourself to see how well your current website is scoring on this test:

 

Take the test

If you get a score of 90+ on both mobile and desktop, you’re fine! If not, get in touch and we can help you with analyzing and/or implementing solutions for you!

 

Why you probably won’t read this article

When COVID-19 struck, a lot of tools were removed from our Sales and Marketing tool box such as trade shows, seminars and one-to-one meetings. But we were left with one single (and impressive) tool – content marketing.

While this may be the best tool we have had from the outset – the exasperation caused by endless unsolicited emails from brands you have bought from only once has led to what is known as  ”Content Fatigue”. So how can we up our game and grab our audience’s attention?

 

 

1 – Be brave

If you want to create content with an impact you really must stand for something. And that takes bravery. In the long run, everybody will remember the person standing in front of the class to sing. But no one will remember the bully of the class mocking them.

It’s absolutely OK to say  “While we don’t have all the answers, we really believe that…”. It’s actually even preferable to do so. Because if it’s safe – it has most likely been said already.

If you combine this with a desire for feedback, you can take a bold stand while still inviting people to join the discussion.

“Standing out without standing for something is quite frankly – an impossibility”

Ola Linder, Star Republic, SQLI Group (Sweden)

 

2 – Be Inspiring

Can you think of a book that you read that really touched something deep inside you and made you look at life in a totally different way? Well, this is exactly what you should have in mind when you create content.

Inspirational content articulates a compelling course of action and provides a memorable vision. A goal such as “We aim to double turnover in the next 12 months” is not inspiring. But “We aim to provide education for every girl in India” is.

Always remember: It’s not about you, it’s about them. And you can achieve this by explaining how you can make your audience’s daily life more fulfilling.

“By inspiring your readers, you will become the kind of brand people keep coming back to.”

Jane Irwin, SQLI Group (France)

 

3 – Be Valuable

Imagine how you would feel in real life if you meet someone at an event who said: “I’m awesome, I’m so amazing, aren’t I great? As a business, this is most likely what you are doing with your content, every day.

If you don’t want to be that obnoxious spammer who only talks about themselves, what you need to do is to provide value. So educate, inform and inspire.

What is that valuable insight that you can share with your audience so that they can learn from it? Do your research, include data, be thought-provoking and challenging. Share your experience, knowledge, process and techniques.

“You only get back what you give out”

Anastasia Lisitskaya, SQLI (France)

 

4 – Be interactive

Content can be presented in different ways, allowing you to interact with your audience. For example ask questions that readers can answer in your comments section. Make sure to follow up on them. But be prepared for some uncomfortable criticism.

Or turn your readers into viewers. Present your content in ”snackable” videos linked to your full content piece. Also, livestream an event and invite viewers to chat, and respond to quick polls.

And try some of the great tools out there to learn what your audience is feeling and thinking. Doing this will help you understand how compelling your content is.

”Make interacting with your content an experience, not just words on a page.”

Frederik Claessens, SQLI (Belgium)

 

 

5 – Be close

Remember to “Send the right content, to the right person, at the right time“. This can be achieved with “the laws of proximity”, based on the principle that information is considered more important when it shows proximity to the reader. Here are five laws of proximity:

  • Geographical. What happens in my neighbourhood is more important than what happens in my region or my country… or in the world.
  • Today’s (or tomorrow’s) event is more important than what happened yesterday.
  • If I like it, I will be attracted to a subject – no matter what it is.
  • Practical. Remember K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid)!
  • Usage. Feed the subject with figures or statistics, or real experience.

“Ideal content will combine all, or parts of, the five laws. You have to find the right mix.

Alix Howard, SQLI (France)

 

6 – Be present

As long as you portray yourself in a good light, with high quality content, there are only rights and no wrongs. Experiment with new media that shows promise. If it seems like a waste of time further down the road, simply stop doing it.

Take time to find out what channel is good for what and what type of content works and performs best.  Use your full palette – articles, webinars, video, podcasts and infographics –  and repeat to see what sticks.

And partner up with customers, suppliers and other organizations to bring a shared message. With third-party endorsements, getting your message across in their feeds is much more compelling than it could ever be on your own.

“Use all of your rooftops – and borrow those of others.”

Tracy Postil Redbox Digital, SQLI Group (UK)

 

 

Need help getting started? Stuck? Get in touch with us and we’ll help dig you out!

Big data and industry: harmonize and conquer

On March 9th, the European Commission set out the ambitious objective of having “75% of EU companies using Cloud/AI/Big Data” by 2030.[1] The Commission also recalled that certain of our “industrial and services ecosystems…are lagging behind”.[2] This is especially true in industry, which is beginning to ask the right questions and tackling the digital transformation at the company level.

According to PwC, in 2018 only 10% of industrial countries could be considered digital champions.[3] For a long time, they rolled out digital solutions in various branches of activity without thinking about whether these solutions were coherent all together. As digital technologies took on a greater role in activities overall, these siloed approaches became less effective and relevant. To speed up the switch to digital and bring back growth, above all they must harmonize the digital services they offer and how they use industrial data.

 

Harmonize, not multiply

Today, digital technology is everywhere, from your HR system to the Internet of things and robotization. It adds value to all industrial activities. The transformation’s speed means these solutions can no longer be considered independently. Even worse, doing so would be totally insufficient given all that is now at stake: the customer experience, using AI, the switch to 5G and the Internet of things.

While a recent study from McKinsey showed that 75% of companies “expected investment in new technologies to accelerate in 2020–24[4]: these investments must come with a desire to harmonize the digital services on offer. A harmonious digital service offering is an even greater priority than rolling out new technologies that are not well integrated into the existing environment. By offering a coherent digital environment where the various services interact with each other, are interconnected and easy to use, industrial companies stand out from the rest and build customer loyalty.

Furthermore, they must take care to harmonize the data in the PIM (Product Information Management) system. By looking at the product not just by itself but by taking into account how it relates to the digital environment (indexing, use of product data, data processing, etc.), industry will truly enter into the digital era. Above all, creating value from data supposes that the company has adequate resources to catch and digest this data.

Harmonization is time-consuming and may seem like it moves industrial companies away from the breakthrough innovations that will drive its future growth. In fact, the opposite is true: by doing this work, the company unleashes its potential and prepares to use solutions such as AI and robotization that inherently require great amounts of data.

 

Beyond harmonization, open services up through standardization

Harmonizing services and product information increases potential for growth in that it makes industrial companies agile and able to work with other entities, whether within the group or externally with trusted partners or economic interest groups.

This philosophy of shared industrial data is one of the cornerstones of the guidelines the European Commission proposes in its data strategy. Nevertheless, it seems obvious that harmonization is an essential condition to creating “common and interoperable data spaces”.[5] No one would argue that we can trust the market economy to bring about this harmonization by itself.

In terms of data sharing, especially industrial data, past experience shows that it is often difficult to have this philosophy, even within the same group. Just like the work done for the Payment Services Directive (PSD2)[6], it seems more likely that legislation will be needed to speed up the harmonization of practices and create a single market of data. These constraints ultimately presage a great acceleration of innovation, as we saw in fintechs after PSD2.

The industrial companies that get ahead of these changes, that roll out transformation strategies of an appropriate size for their group and that take a company-wide view instead of incremental innovations will be well-equipped for the coming decade. By harmonizing digital services and product information management (PIM), these companies will be ready for the transition to industry 4.0 as actors and drivers of the “age of renewed economic progress” foreseen by the McKinsey Global Institute[7].

 

 

 

  • [1] https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/europe-fit-digital-age/europes-digital-decade-digital-targets-2030_en
  • [2] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/resource.html?uri=cellar:12e835e2-81af-11eb-9ac9-01aa75ed71a1.0001.02/DOC_1&format=PDF
  • [3] https://www.strategyand.pwc.com/gx/en/insights/industry4-0.html#Download
  • [4] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/will-productivity-and-growth-return-after-the-covid-19-crisis
  • [5] https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/europe-fit-digital-age/european-data-strategy_en
  • [6] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/FR/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32015L2366&from=EN
  • [7] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-and-social-sector/our-insights/will-productivity-and-growth-return-after-the-covid-19-crisis

Content: a fully-fledged part of your online projects

Whether text or other media, content is a topic that is rarely considered early enough and identified as a risk. However, it is key to a making your online project a success! If there is one issue that concerns all your digital projects, whether overhauling or creating institutional or e-commerce sites, showcases or mobile apps, it is content. Often, everything goes to schedule right to the end, all the bugs are corrected and tested, but the launch date is pushed back because of content that is either late or, even worse, absent.

 

The importance of addressing the content issue from the start

Delayed schedules, budget overruns…it goes without saying that there are many high-impact risks associated with content. The consequences go far beyond the project itself, even impacting your brand image, which would take a hit from low-quality content when your platform launches. The delay caused by content that is not optimized for search engines could also cost your rankings dearly.

Additionally, content is the best way to test for bugs, whether cosmetic defects or bugs that break a feature or the site’s display. But you can rest assured: there are solutions to tackle content like a pro. As is often the case, anticipation is key, but it is not the only key.

 

Looking at content as a “project within a project”

From the moment the project kicks off, content must be clearly identified as a full aspect of the project in its own right. You must press the importance of this issue and the associated risks on all the project’s participants. Once everyone recognizes this, it needs to be identified as a “project in the project” with its own structure:

  • A pilot, the project manager specifically in charge of content,
  • A project team that includes all the participants and stakeholders in the issue, both internal and external, especially the writers, SEO experts, proofreaders, translators and integrators,
  • A suitable methodology so you can successfully navigate the content design, production and testing stages,
  • A specific schedule established alongside the online project’s overall schedule.

One of the key points to an online project that uses a CMS is the start date for content integration, which can only be done on a stable back-office to avoid losing any data entered. It is essential to begin entering the content at a reasonable date that is communicated well in advance. This date must respect the time needed to integrate and test the content without impinging on the developments that are still underway or have not been tested.

Finally, the content work must be tracked alongside the online project with dedicated committees because, while they are interdependent, the two projects often call on different participants.

 

Audit the current situation to identify the UI approach

One question remains decisive in designing the new platform: what content do we already have? In the design stage of your new website, organize your content into four categories:

  • Content to reuse identically
  • Content to delete (not re-used)
  • Content to change (needs to be reworked for the new platform)
  • Content to create

How you answer this question will help determine how you design the future interfaces, and you will be confronted with two possibilities:

  • Either the mock-ups will be based on the existing content that you are able to provide,
  • Or mock-ups will be created with fictitious content since you are unable to provide realistic content on time, and you will then have to take the presentation constraints of these mock-ups into consideration when producing your future content (text length, image formats, layout possibilities, etc.).

 

Equip each stage of the project appropriately

In general, you will have six major stages to your content project: production, approval, integration, translation, proofreading and search engine optimization (SEO). While the participants vary depending on the project, you will need a suitable methodology and tools for each stage:

  1. Production

When producing text and other media, set up file sharing for all team members to avoid versioning problems. Organize your work files in a folder tree structure similar to your future platform: this will make it easier to navigate your files. At the lowest level of your structure, have a folder per page so you can gather all the text and images to be included on that page in the same place.

Take care not to use a text editor that inserts hidden style tags that could pollute the display once it is on your site (this is the case for the most common editors like Microsoft Word). However, online tools like Word2cleanhtml allow you to clean up your text before moving to the integration stage.

  1. Approval

For this stage, it is essential to set up the workflows and identify the people involved. Trello is especially helpful in tracking project progress. Create a card per page and move it to a shared table according to the different stages, from creation to approval on the site.

  1. Integration

Oftentimes, the question arises of whether to integrate manually or automatically. The answer depends on your ability to provide data in a strict format and the development efforts that need to be made.

Automatic integration is recommended when there is a large amount of content to be present on the site and the structure is easy to standardize (product pages, news, etc.). It will then be important to define the expected import format as early as possible and to carry out several tests before importing the final files onto the production environment. Manual integration is preferred when pages have a more complex structure that is hard to make uniform. In this case, use an integration file with the same breakdown as the site’s back office. Excel makes the integrator’s work easier by following the “one back-office field = one cell” philosophy.

Ideally, provide one Excel file per page to reduce the risk of confusion and store it in a folder that also contains the images and other media to be integrated onto the page (which will be identified by name in the Excel file). If possible, provide this structure from the content production phase: it will save you precious time!

Finally, keep in mind that integration is bulk, assembly-line work. To be efficient, the integrator must have all the elements available to them and be able to simply copy and paste the data into the corresponding fields in the back office. The proofreading and correction stage comes later.

  1. Translation 

This stage can be done before integration, but it is often easier to translate your content in your CMS’s interface. There are many translation plugins available for the most widely used CMSes that can make your life easier. Using automatic translation can help prepare the work.

  1. Proofreading and corrections

At this stage, the content is tested directly online so that the page can be tested in its entirety (text and presentation, consistency and harmony with the integrated media, etc.). Any corrections can be made directly before the page is published.

  1. Final SEO optimization (URL, meta tags, etc.)

Once your content has been finalized and approved, your SEO expert can make a final pass for technical optimization to ensure that your content is indexed according to your search engine objectives.

 

Whether for a site overhaul or a new creation, the issue of content should be seen as a “project within the project” that needs to be addressed alongside the online project kickoff given its impact on the project’s design and, especially, its success. Content is a key factor that you should not overlook.

While this project is particularly heavy during the initialization stage, it continues with varying volumes throughout the site’s life, and the methodology you set up before launch will help you be more productive and follow best practices.

 

Environmental responsibility and digital: two key points for optimized customer experience 

Environmental responsibility has never been more relevant. According to a study conducted by Oney and OpinionWay on sustainable consumption[1], 90% of consumers expect brands to make a real commitment and help them consume better. While the current health crisis has accelerated this profound shift towards better consumption, it has also put the focus on better communication, which provides greater support and reassurance in a society that is searching for meaning.

How does the digital customer experience serve and strengthen brands’ environmentally responsible actions? What are the two areas where optimization can help to enrich the experience and strike the right balance between commitment and efficiency?

 

Building trust through transparency

In the face of the many recent greenwashing scandals, consumers are no longer as trusting and are wary about brands’ claims about environmental responsibility, which are often perceived as opportunistic marketing tools. It is no longer enough to simply claim to be a green or responsible brand: saying it is one thing, proving it is another. Consumers are well aware how difficult it is for brands to achieve targets such as carbon neutrality and zero waste. Nobody is expected to achieve the impossible, which is why the general public demands transparency above all.

The e-commerce and ROPO (Research Online Purchase Offline) booms are proof: digital holds a select position in the buying process. It is essential now for brands to use digital to highlight their commitment and attract consumers’ interest, whether directly on their own websites or via social networks, for example. How can this be done?

  • Through regular updates: news and thoughts about sustainable development (such as the replacement of a material, the optimization of a logistics process or an innovation underway) are steps forward that reflect a real and ongoing commitment.
  • Through relevant certifications and standards: with an ever-growing number in the area of sustainable development, they offer brands an opportunity to back up their claims with tangible, objective evidence, which is always more reassuring for consumers.
  • Through storytelling: history, origins, aspirations and values are all ways in which brands can develop their communication strategies to link environmental responsibility with their DNA, give their green actions authenticity and highlight evidence of their commitment.

 

Ensuring coherency, always

According to ADEME, the French Agency for Ecological Transition, the carbon footprint of digital, information and communication technologies is equivalent to that of civil aviation over a one-year period. So how can a responsible digital strategy not be considered when thinking about sustainable development? Digital does not seem to be a real priority in companies’ green transformations, however, unlike production and logistics processes, or offline media, for example.

It should be! Digital makes it possible not only to ensure a constant commitment, but also to reconcile ethical requirements with profitability targets. Which good practices can help integrate environmental responsibility in your digital strategy?

  • An eco-designed website, combining minimalism and performance. From design to integration, and the choice of CMS to hosting, each design stage is an opportunity to deliver sustainable improvements that will lead to a slimline, fast, functional, attractive and even search-engine optimized website.
  • Targeted and personalized marketing campaigns based on big data. This is a very good way to prevent digital pollution, by optimizing the volume of communications, as well as to avoid large numbers of unread emails being stored indefinitely in inboxes.
  • Responsible marketing campaigns in the “age of better consumption”. Competition for Black Friday and sales, where brands are seen as being responsible for uncontrolled consumption (fast fashion, food waste, constant push marketing, etc.), is encouraging them to be more sparing with their promotional offers.

Digital is a powerful tool to increase the number of touchpoints between consumers and brands, and this is a real asset when it comes to convincing people about a topic as sensitive as sustainable development. For some, it is an opportunity to regularly gather a mass of information and experiences, in order to make enlightened choices. For others, it is a chance to build the relationship based on preference and loyalty that consumers expect, step by step.

However, at a time when ethics and authenticity are key, it is essential to bear in mind that environmental responsibility is a long-term investment, where humility and regularity remain the best guarantors of a recognized commitment and a lasting customer relationship.

 

 

[1] https://www.oney.com/etude-consommation-raisonnee/

VivaTech 2021: sustainable development at the heart of strategies, among other things

The leading global tech show reopened its doors with a hybrid online-physical approach: VIVA Technology in Paris, June 2021. This fifth event attracted more than 140,000 visitors (including 26,000 at the venue), and addressed the following topics: global trends through the lens of the pandemic, the positive impact of technology and strengthening of sustainable development strategies. This growing awareness was already apparent at last year’s CES in Las Vegas.

 

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Source : echangeur.fr

 

The end of 2020 was all about learning to live with the “new normal”. 2021 could be the beginning of a race, which will probably last several years, to help companies complete their digital transition or transformation, which will be crucial if they are to meet challenges arising from today’s trend of growing respect for people and the planet. More than ever before, this VivaTech show perfectly illustrated this trend.

 

Sustainable development at the heart of companies’ digital transition

In the field of finance, BNP Paribas is engaging with the circular economy. On the one hand, it is offering its customers financing products that promote the growth of the circular economy.

On the other, BNP Paribas has introduced a policy of reducing paper, water and energy consumption, while equipping its employees with electric vehicles and locating its operations in environmentally friendly buildings. In addition, it has joined forces with 3 Step IT to help companies develop a circular economy strategy.

Cécile Gauffriau, Circular Economy Stream Leader at BNP Paribas Personal Finance, explained how the circular economy is first and foremost an opportunity to come up with new services and solutions: maintenance, resale, recycling, repair… New players with business models based on the circular economy have started to emerge: Vinted, Back Market, Charlotte… And many established brands are taking steps towards the circular economy: Ralph Lauren, Levis, Décathlon (rental services), Galerie Lafayette…

 

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Another sector that is being driven to transform and deeply integrate sustainable development is the travel industry and aviation in particular, due to its CO2 emissions.

In his speech, Vincent Etchebehere, Sustainability Director at Air France, talked about various actions initiated to meet this challenge, such as renewal of the fleet, eco-piloting (reviewed routes, less polluting take-offs, etc.) and the use of bio-fuels, which could eventually reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 90%. The first long-haul flight with sustainable aviation fuel was completed in May.

Arnaud Coiffard, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer at OUI.sncf, spoke about two key points related to this challenge: The market share of train transport in France is 10%, and railways remain a clean form of transport, offering a cause for optimism as we look to meet the challenges lying ahead. However, the SNCF is keeping its eyes on the future, with a new, more efficient high-speed train – the TGV M – for 2024, experimentation with a hydrogen train in 2023, and an eco-comparison tool that is now available on the OUI.sncf website, enabling users to calculate and compare their environmental footprint, journey time and free time on-board.

Both of these companies are aligned with their customers’ expectations, and see the need to join the “fight” (Air France compensates for its carbon footprint through reforestation actions for each ticket sold), compensate for a lack of information about responsible consumption (SNCF: one out of every two French people feel that they are poorly informed about sustainable transport issues) and increase transparency (Air France & SNCF use scientific data produced by ADEME, the French Agency for Ecological Transition, to guide their policies).

These are the keys to success for these two players, in order to embrace the economic recovery while protecting the planet, develop multi-modal transport with a focus on railways and speed up the deployment of alternative fuels.

In order for us to make sustainable development a core part of our strategies, we need to know where we are now and, above all, be able to identify avenues for improvement and measure progress. With this in mind, the movement Impact France presented its ‘Tech for Good Score’ at VivaTech, an assessment tool that offers increased transparency about the social and environmental impacts of tech. For stakeholders, particularly consumers and investors, it is also a means of providing transparency.

Half of the total score out of 100 is based on the Impact Score, the aim of which is to assess the social and environmental impact, as well as the way in which value and power is shared within a company; the other half analyzes the impact of digital on society (inclusion, digital technology education, etc.) and the environment (eco-design, carbon footprint of servers, impact on biodiversity, etc.).

 

Alliances to overcome the pandemic and speed up digital transformation

Following a strategic partnership signed four years ago, Carrefour and Google were able to measure the impacts and benefits of their alliance during the Covid pandemic. Thanks to tools in the Google Workspace suite, Carrefour’s 160,000 employees were able to stay connected, which was absolutely crucial to overcoming the crisis, according to Alexandre Bompart, Carrefour’s CEO.

 

Vivatech2

Source : Frandroid

 

However, this partnership goes much further. Elodie Perthuisot, e-Commerce & Digital Transformation Manager and Data Officer at Carrefour, explained the three main areas of the transformation conducted in collaboration with Google’s teams.

  • Develop an omnichannel experience, with the creation of a digital catalog (20% of customers who go through the checkout consulted the catalog) and the development of Google My Business & Maps, to help customers locate stores and manage store image (20% increase in the NPS), for example.
  • Boost e-Commerceby strengthening collaboration between digital marketing and in-store sales, through data infrastructures, using machine learning to automate processes and, lastly, setting up anti-churn campaigns to ensure customer loyalty (1 customer out of 5 is prepared to switch store chains).
  • Create value using data, for example with a service that personalizes the product assortment in neighborhood stores, based on machine learning algorithms, which compare, analyze and recommend products by gathering data from several similar stores (like the Netflix of product assortment).

 

Google is also present in the luxury industry, through a strategic partnership at the show with the LVMH group and its 70 “houses”, which is aimed at speeding up innovation and developing new solutions based on artificial intelligence and the cloud.

AI will make it possible to improve operations in the area of demand forecasting and stock optimization, as well as create a personalized customer experience. As for Google Cloud, it will contribute to modernization of part of LVMH’s IT infrastructure. Training will also be addressed, with the introduction of a ‘Data & AI Academy’ to grow employee skills in the areas of artificial intelligence and data-based value creation.

In the travel and tourism sector, Amadeus is an ERP system that provides solutions enabling companies to safeguard their businesses and improve the traveler experience.

In early 2021, in order to innovate and provide new products and solutions, Amadeus and Microsoft signed a strategic partnership based on three main areas:

  • Speed up transition to the public cloud (with Azure), in order to adjust its operational capacity according to needs, market conditions and demand;
  • Encourage collaboration between internal and external teams using Microsoft solutions (Teams, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, etc.) ;
  • Promote innovation and joint-development of products in order to create fresh travel experiences.

 

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Source : news.microsoft.com

 

Another hot topic at the conferences, against the backdrop of tensions between Europe and the United States, was the issue of data confidentiality. Three of the biggest representatives of GAFAM – Apple, Facebook and Microsoft – each had a private keynote with Maurice Levy, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Publicis Groupe and co-founder of VivaTech.

 

Combining competition, privacy and user security

For Tim Cook (Apple’s CEO), while the GDPR is legitimate and it would be interesting to roll it out at global level, security remains a core issue. In particular, he regrets to see the European Commission’s proposal for a Digital Markets Act, which would oblige the company to provide an alternative to the Apple Store, making it impossible to guarantee user privacy and security.

Regarding efforts to fight against carbon emissions, the company has integrated the entire chain, from suppliers to the end customer, in its approach. Result: the latest iPhone (12) is made using 40% recycled aluminum and 98% of rare minerals are also recycled.

Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, has a more ambivalent position. He feels that the regulation is not totally bad and that regulating to stimulate competition and create value is a good thing. This is demonstrated by a recent agreement signed with the French groups Orange and Capgemini to provide the American firm’s cloud technology from infrastructure placed under their exclusive control, out of reach of American extraterritorial laws.

For Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, the future is all about augmented and virtual reality. He sees a world where “There will no longer be any need for televisions and screens. It will be possible to project an image anywhere and anytime using augmented reality glasses.” The California-based firm is currently investing billions of dollars in these two technologies in order to build “an extraordinary future in 5 to 10 years’ time.” “It’s an interesting thought experiment if you take a walk during the day and think: how many things in my life don’t have to exist physically and can easily be replaced by a digital hologram in a world with [technical] glasses.” Great opportunities lie ahead!

 

Vivatech4

Source: realite-virtuelle.com

 

This hybrid event clearly underlined the need to explore the world’s tech shows and discover the latest innovations that seem likely to contribute to the resilience of companies and organizations.

Digital and cosmetics: the innovations that are on everyone's lips

In this age of digital technology and smartphones, personalization is everywhere, even in our makeup bags. And, with the current pandemic, cosmetics brands our bringing their in-store experiences into our bathrooms. While smiles are hidden from view at the moment, brands are preparing for the day when they will be unmasked: more and more brands are using the latest technology to offer product personalization services. Discover innovations created by the likes of Estée Lauder, Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, for a look that is guaranteed to be yours and nobody else’s! 

 

Estée Lauder’s Lip Blend Machine corner

In November 2019, Estée Lauder opened a new “corner” at Galeries Lafayette. The brand is enabling its customers to personalize their lipsticks by creating a custom shade. The service is provided along with personalized advice to adapt the color to their complexion and look. Customers had to wait 30 minutes to get a tailored product in a box containing the lipstick and two refills.

Cosmétique-digital1

Source: www.influencia.net

 

The system was a bit slow and, above all, short-lived, as the campaign only lasted a few months. However, it put the idea out there! Other brands got in on the concept, adding touches of digital and even m-commerce.

 

Smartphone, who’s the fairest of them all?

In January 2021, YSL Beauté announced the release of its personal lipstick creator “Rouge Sur Mesure”. Yves Saint Laurent launched a lipstick that can be refilled and, above all, personalized from anywhere! Using a super easy-to-use mobile app, the brand will now help its customers choose their Rouge Sur Mesure Powered by Perso by YSL.

Using face and image recognition technologies, users can test the color in real time using their smartphone camera, match their color with their bag, select the lipstick color in a magazine photo to get inspired, and more. Personalization is done using a mixture of three preselected basic colors.

For now, this amazing technology remains in the beta test stage, and only people living in the United States can sign up to be testers. Test participants are rewarded with a gift of two sets of cartridges worth $180… However, with the retail price announced at around $300, it remains a somewhat inaccessible “beauty tool”.

 

The latest cosmetics brand to enter the field: Chanel and its Lipscanner

The concept of this app is similar to that launched by Yves Saint Laurent, but Chanel has gone a step further by adding an e-shop module. Beyond the recommendation and virtual try-on features, the brand is making it possible for customers to order their personalized Chanel lipstick and receive it a few days later. The rest of the world won’t have to wait for the Americans to test it first! In addition, the range of colors includes all of Chanel’s various lipstick shades. The brand is also adding a community dimension with a photo sharing feature.

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The slogan is simple: “Love it. Scan it. Find your perfect shade. ” Scan any color you see, whether it’s on someone else, in a magazine or on a poster. Within seconds, the new LIPSCANNER app will identify the corresponding CHANEL lip color. “Then, test out your match virtually with CHANEL TRY ON. Save or share photos of your discoveries and order the products you love directly through the app. ”

Choose your very own lipstick! We can expect to see other competitors get involved, dig deeper into the concept with new features and extend it to cover new products. The “beauty experiences revolution” is underway!