Author: Alex McConnell

Alex McConnell is a Marketing Executive for Intechnica, a Digital Consultancy in Manchester.

Northern Tech Map - GP Bullhound

GP Bullhound recognises Intechnica’s growth on new Northern Tech Map

Intechnica is on the map of growing tech businesses in the North, according to leading independent advisory firm GP Bullhound.

Intechnica is featured in GP Bullhound’s newly launched Northern Tech Map, an interactive tool pulling data from years of research into the growing northern tech movement.

This follows on from Intechnica being named as one of GP Bullhound’s top 50 fastest growing tech businesses in the Northern Tech Awards 2016, alongside businesses like Skyscanner, Metronet, TyreOnTheDrive and TheLADBible.

This has been bolstered by the growth of Intechnica’s TrafficDefender SaaS solution, which has helped clients such as AO World and JD Williams ensure their websites remain online during their busiest sales peaks, as well as Intechnica’s professional services around performance and development.

Intechnica has also become a trusted advisor for businesses during mergers and acquisitions via expert IT due diligence services, working on valuations worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

Click here to view the GP Bullhound Northern Tech Map, here to find out about TrafficDefender, or here to find out about Intechnica’s services.

Are celebrity endorsements doing more harm than good to your retail sales?

Online retailers exploring the recent trend of signing up celebrities to endorse them to their millions of followers on social media run the risk of site-melting bursts of traffic, according to Intechnica co-founder Jeremy Gidlow.

In a talk at GP Bullhound’s event “Online Fashion: Where is the smart money going?” last night, Jeremy pointed to a recent example where Kylie Jenner drove an incredible amount of demand to the website selling her range of lipstick. However, because the demand was so great and was directed at a specific time, the systems behind the website couldn’t cope and the whole website was brought down.

This highlighted a common problem retailers are facing today: Sales reduce margins whilst increasing demand, and the technology needed to cope with the increased demand can be very costly – further cutting into profits.

TrafficDefender is a SaaS solution developed by Intechnica in response to this problem. TrafficDefender allows retail websites to remain online throughout large spikes in web traffic without needing to over invest in additional IT infrastructure.

Watch Jeremy’s talk below or find out more about TrafficDefender.

Grand National

Intechnica to reveal results of four years of monitoring Grand National betting sites and apps

Intechnica, the IT Performance Experts, will reveal the results of four years worth of end-user experience monitoring of the Grand National in a live webinar taking place on Thursday 12th May.

The Grand National drives the largest spike in traffic seen by betting websites and apps each year, with half the adult population of the UK placing a bet on the race.

Each year, many sites are troubled by traffic-related issues and errors caused by the massive interest generated by the Grand National, as evidenced by Intechnica’s monitoring activities since 2013. Common errors include missing content, slow pages and periods of unavailability.

Now, Intechnica are poised to reveal how the market has responded to this challenge, and will once again present findings in a live webinar.

The webinar takes place at 11am BST on Thursday May 12th and is free to attend.

Click here to register.

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Intechnica in the top 50 fastest growing tech companies in GP Bullhound Northern Tech Awards 2016

Intechnica are proud to be finalists in the GP Bullhound Northern Tech Awards 2016.

Intechnica joins finalists such as UKFast, Sky Betting & Gaming, Missguided and Skyscanner as one of the top 50 fastest growing tech companies in the north.

The nomination recognises Intechnica’s growth over the past few years, and in particular the growth of TrafficDefender, our innovative traffic management and queuing SaaS product, which has been adopted by businesses like AO.com and JD Williams.

The awards ceremony takes place in Liverpool – watch this space for more information.

19 Ways to Guarantee Website Uptime on Black Friday

Black Friday

Make sure you don’t inadvertently close up shop on Black Friday

The predicted £1bn sales figure for Black Friday has made website availability and performance a board level concern for online retailers, with preparations for this year’s event starting as soon as last year’s ended for some. At Intechnica we have been working alongside several leading UK retailers to help them be fully prepared for whatever Black Friday brings.

Without revealing all of our methods, we’ve compiled a quick checklist of things retailers should have done to plan and prepare for Black Friday, along with some last minute checks and actions they might still be able to consider. How many have you thought about and do you feel fully prepared?

Planning – In the lead up to Black Friday

  1. Assign an owner and team dedicated fully to the specific task of preparing the website for Black Friday.
  2. Agree on the budget – performance doesn’t come for free. How much is uptime and speedy response times worth to the business on Black Friday? (We can help you figure this out!)
  3. Find out how much traffic is expected and its nature. Work closely with the marketing department to find these out based on planned activity along with overall trends. This information should include baseline traffic levels, the size of peaks, how fast they are expected to hit, where the traffic is likely to come from and how users are expected to behave on the site.
  4. Measure how much traffic the site can handle and where the bottlenecks are through thorough performance testing and analysis.
  5. Validate that your test results make sense and are realistic!
  6. Identify existing means to scale up the website’s capacity, e.g. capacity planning, cloud hosting, failover capacity, disaster recovery etc.
  7. Optimise performance in quick development sprints, focusing on low hanging fruit and test the results regularly.
  8. Move hits away from the domain using CDNs etc.
  9. Reduce the size of traffic hits, e.g. optimise image sizes, minify JavaScript etc.
  10. Cache content as close to the browser as possible, e.g. on a webserver rather than in the database.

Preparation – Last minute checks

  1. Ask “what could possibly go wrong?”
  2. Ask what the impact of such failures would be.
  3. Ask how you would know if such a failure was about to occur or in progress.
  4. Ask what could be done to mitigate this!

On the day

  1. Make a list of non-essential functionality that could be quickly switched off to boost performance if the site is struggling, e.g. predictive site search, live chat, etc.
  2. Empower team members to be able to deal with problems quickly without needing to wade through red tape.
  3. Make sure monitoring is in place and running (real user monitoring, business metrics, social media etc.).
  4. Know who you can contact in a pinch within the business and with third parties – have a list of numbers and emails at the ready.
  5. Have an insurance policy in place in case all else fails.

What if all else does fail?

Many top retailers suffered very public failures last Black Friday, with sites crashing under much higher demand than anticipated. Fortunately we have developed TrafficDefender, an insurance policy for if websites do reach bursting point come Black Friday.

TrafficDefender removes the risk of complete website outages if capacity can’t keep up with demand, and gives a better experience to any overflow of visitors than a generic error message by placing excess visitors into an orderly queue.

Even if you have followed our checklist from top to bottom, do you have an insurance policy for if all else fails?

Ian is the Head of Performance at Intechnica

Performance Testing and APM part 3 – AppDynamics

The current topic of the Intechnica Performance Podcast is Performance Testing and APM (Application Performance Management), with a focus on aligning APM tools with performance testing.

In each episode, Intechnica Head of Performance Ian Molyneaux (author of “The Art of Application Performance Testing”) has been detailing a specific APM tool and its individual capabilities and idiosyncrasies around integration with performance testing. In part 3 we’re focusing on AppDynamics.

Download/stream link

Make sure you subscribe to get the podcast each week!

Find out about Intechnica’s expertise in Performance Testing and Application Performance Management.

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Join us at #VelocityConf!

For the third year running, Intechnica are sponsoring Velocity Conference in Europe – this year taking place in Amsterdam.

Velocity is the premier Web Performance and Operation conference, with a schedule packed with the cutting edge of web performance topics and discussions.

If you are attending, be sure to drop by stand 426 on Thursday or Friday, where you can talk to us about:

  • Managed Performance Testing – Delivering a more a consistent, expertly managed performance test resource
  • APM Managed Service – Get the most value and benefit possible from an investment in Application Performance Management tools
  • TrafficDefender – Guarantee website uptime and performance at peak times such as Black Friday sales with our traffic management and visitor queuing solution

Not got your pass yet?

Use our discount code Intechnica25 for 25% off your pass!

Click here to register

Preparing for Peaks at AO.com

In one of the sessions taking place during Velocity, Adam Warne (Director of IT Services at AO.com) will talk about how the UK’s largest online white goods retailer prepares for peaks in traffic by using information to build the right architecture.

This talk is taking place on Thursday 29th October at 17:05 in room G109.

Not attending Velocity? Join a live webinar

Adam will also be presenting his talk in a live webinar on Thursday 5th November, 6pm GMT.

Click here to register