Unlock the potential in your existing database with a customer data platform and rebalance your google ad spend.

Google Ads is an effective way of acquiring customers, but businesses often forget that they have great potential in the data they already have. Google has become the Amazon of marketing, it’s the go to place to capture leads and increase sales. More Ads = More leads = More conversions = More Sales.

Where this is effective, it bears a cost. As more agencies compete, the cost per click increases for the same consumer, the conversion drops, and the only real winner is Google.

With an average cost per acquisition of £50+, there are other ways to increase sales.

Customer Data Platforms. Know your customer.

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Conversational vs traditional customer experiences.

I’ve been working on a project with Pat.ai/EC.ai for several months, and what those guys can do with linguistic understanding (and context) is pretty amazing.

Looking at a traditional customer experience in travel.

A traditional UI for example google’s multi-itinerary flight search form, has prescribed inputs


The customer enters data, select dates, and builds their itinerary. – comparing this to a dialogue with a travel agent the questions would be mostly the same. (“I’m interested in going to Singapore, I need to go via doha to attend a meeting but just for a day. Here’s my dates”)

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Digital transformation: more human than digital.

Us humans are a funny lot! We’re quite stuck in our ways. We like to do things the way we do, we do not really embrace change even if it’s for the better.

Digital transformation is everywhere at the minute as businesses aim to become more efficient. But a digital transformation project isn’t a one size fits all plug and play solution.

Digital transformation requires the business to change, and that change is one of the biggests risks/success factors for a project.

A good team is one who can ask the right questions, determine un-biased answers to map out the essential parts of a system (systems theory) from the business stakeholders.

Then when suitable enabling software can improve a business, for it to be mapped against these goals and for the business to adapt for the benefit of the business.

The human engineering aspect is a larger hurdle than the technological one. People first, technology second. Strong leadership, guidance is essential.

Travel agencies use Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to save money

Travel agents often book outside of the corporate booking engine. A good example of this is Ryanair or easyJet flights, and other tour operators or dmcs, who may give negotiated rates over the phone.

These manually booked elements, bear risks. Risk of typos, date errors, risk of incorrect costs. If left un-checked these bear a liability to travel agencies.

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Deliver innovation via micro services orchestration.

Traditional applications can be monolithic beasts with APIs as the final layer These services present a prescribed flow are often inflexible and were built to do a specific purpose.

Traditional applications are usually object oriented with a series of services being called internally, and eventually rendered as a soap/rest API. Quite often with all functions being within a single code repo.

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Security Design patterns: CIA triad

CIA Triad

When reviewing systems, I use this model to provide useful context to ensure that applications/services have sufficient processing to ensure data security is managed and maintained.

Confidentiality – what level of secrecy is expected for this product or service, how do we protect it, how do we allow access to the data

Integrity – how do we protect the data, how do we prevent unwanted modifications, how do we maintain consistency, how do we know what changed and who changed it.

Availability – ensure uninterrupted access to the data

When SaaS providers hike their prices.

OpenVPN has been my goto appliance for SSL VPN connections for Devops accessing cloud services, especially as AWS doesn’t have its own SSL VPN gateway!

Open VPN provides a good UI and client tools. Until recently I’ve been happy to pay for its annual licence fee as it offered good value, but earlier this year they changed their model and increased their prices by 400% (oh wait thats before discount, its ONLY increased by 229%).

Last year an annual 10 user licence cost $180

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How to wifi enable a Zebra USB label printer.

Zebra printers are one of the most popular label printers, also the printer recommended by Royal Mail Click and Drop (which links to Shopify). For new sign ups Royal mail offer a £150 Zebra GK420D printer which is a great deal but it isn’t a wifi printer (it is usb, serial or parallel). Network versions are available but are about £200 more.

Using a zebra printer wired is fine, but its a bit messy being tied to a cable in 2021! It would be much more convenient if it was wireless.

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UK or overseas holidays in 2021?

In our current covid landscape, overseas holidays in 2021 feel quite far away.

The question is, is a UK holiday significantly different in cost to an overseas holiday.

In review; It’s about the same if you book early. For my example I took prices today (1st Feb) for bookings on the 1st August for 7 nights. 4 pax (2 Adults, 2 Children) – i’m using airbnb to give average costs per night as a base line.

Lets compare popular UK with popular Spanish destinations.

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Could revenue and accounting departments be in for a challenge for 2021 bookings?

At the minute travel companies are releasing sales promoting a low deposit, fully flexible booking to secure their 2021 holiday.

With the current terms, your deposit is refundable (cash/voucher), previously this would have been non-refundable. As a result many consumers are willing to potentially book multiple bookings (to different destinations) on the hopes that they can get a great deal for multiple possible destinations by booking early, and then cancelling nearer the time of departure

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