Interview with Julien Coulon, Founder, Cedexis – Cloud Performance and Analytics Success Story

Digital marketers know intuitively that slow or inconsistent page load speeds will annoy impatient website users and damage engagement and conversion rates.

Repeated education drives from Google about performance back this up, including an increase in alerts/warnings in Google Analytics about slow page speed.

But a lot of websites still don't get improved for performance despite repeated reminders from the marketers and technical folk. This can even apply to large organizations with global web audiences to serve.

Why does website performance continue to be an issue even when the businesses should realize the business benefits of improving?

One answer is that the causes of poor or unreliable website performance can be varied and complex to identify, especially in large distributed systems. Another issue is that it is hard to quantify exactly where the best ROI can be found in technical improvement work.

Wouldn't it be good if those arguing for website performance improvement had some data to back them up?

That network intelligence is provided by Cedexis, an innovative performance-focused cloud CDN and analytics system, recently funded to the tune of $22.8m -- clearly the business world sees the value of what they are doing!

In this exclusive blog interview we find out more, direct from Cedexis founder, Julien Coulon...

portrait photo of Julien Coulon

Cedexis founder, Julien Coulon: "IT and marketing teams should both be pulling in the same direction"

How did Cedexis begin?

Julien Coulon: Cedexis was founded in my garage with an ex-Akamai colleague, Marty Kagan, late in 2009. Marty is American and I am French, so we have had a truly global perspective from the beginning.

Our initial vision was that online content publishers were both blind and helpless when it comes to global Web Performance. You can tweak your website as much as you want, but the Internet is messy. Every hour, several hundreds of outages, both major and micro, prevent your end users from accessing your online services.

You’re dependent on 3rd party vendors, which all perform very differently depending on peering relationships across several thousand ISPs, time of day, location, traffic etc.

Cedexis is here to give the power back to content publishers. We have become likened to an “air traffic control for the Internet” (see live.cedexis.com) thanks to billions of crowd-sourced performance measurements we generate 24/7, 365.

Our mission is simple: make the Internet faster for everyone, by everyone.

Screenshot of Radar Live, a Cedexis world map showing network health in real time

"Like air traffic control for the internet" - Cedexis Radar Live gives an overview of global network health

Our solution consists in three main technology bricks:

  • Radar
    - monitoring solution - a crowdsourced, community-based portal, which transforms each of our customers end-users into ‘probing agents’ in order to derive a real-time view of how each 3rd party vendor (or private datacentre) is performing globally. We collect 6-billion performance measurements everyday (availability, throughput, latency, response time), across over 1,000 platforms (including Amazon, Microsoft, Level 3, Akamai, etc.)
  • Openmix
    - our intelligent load-balancing engine - leverages Radar's data in order to dynamically route end users to the best performing Cloud/ CDN / Datacentre in real-time, and for each end user request. If you imagine the popular traffic navigation App, Waze, which collects real-time traffic data to re-route drivers to the fastest route – quite simply, we are doing this across the Internet.
  • Impact
    - as the name implies, this is a tool that correlates the impact of our customers' website performance to the KPIs that matter most to their business (conversion rate, bounce rate, page view per session, resource timing, etc.)
    e.g. What percentage of end users who launch our website in 5 seconds convert into sales, compared to those who load in 10 seconds?

 

logos of radar openmix and impact

These three core Cedexis products integrate to provide both intelligence and the means to improve network performance

Who uses Cedexis systems?

Some of our customers include LinkedIn, Michelin, Airbus, MUBI, Yves Rocher, Shutterstock, Microsoft, Total, Accor Hotels and over 900 others.

Here are a few short examples of the kind of benefits these enterprises get from our systems (read more case studies here):

  • Accor: worldwide availability, page load times improvements of 60% in China, 50% in the US, Brazil, Thailand, 25% overall global improvements.
  • Total: 100% availability and top performance for its Cotoben "Committed to a better energy" campaigns in developing markets.
  • MUBI: they created their very own CDN infrastructure based on Cedexis load balancing.

graph from Accor case study

Accor case study: "Moving from a single-CDN to a multi-CDN solution provided significant performance gains across all geographical regions. It resulted in an astonishing 60% improvement in China page load times and a 50% improvement in the US, Thailand, and Brazil. Worldwide, the move gave a 25% improvement to page load times."

Can small/medium businesses take advantage of this technology?

Our core value proposition is not correlated to the size of a company, but to the volume of traffic consumed online.

Any start-up, even with no business model yet or just a few employees, would benefit from Cedexis’ technology as long as they have significant traffic which needs managing.

What is true though, is that all large enterprises will always have a vested interest in protecting their customers experience with their service - even if their business is not directly impacted by web performance, it can affect their brand image, credibility and so on.  For most large enterprises we work with, it’s a combination of the above, as well as controlling their infrastructure costs, reaching global availability and ensuring maximum performance, which drive their adoption of Cedexis.

screenshot of Impact dashboard

The Cedexis Impact introduction challenges you: "How much can you improve your conversion rate by decreasing page load time by 2 seconds? How much money are you losing during a 5 minute outage?"

Can you tell us more about "Impact" and tracking how website performance affects KPIs?

Impact is a tool able to correlate web performance to KPIs that matter the most to an online business.

It consists of two main parts:

1. A statistical distribution that shows how a KPI or a set of KPIs are correlated to your online performance.

It shows you how many people have loaded your website or web page in X seconds, and what the conversion was for this specific audience.

A trend our customers have noticed is the direct correlation between a faster end user experience and increased conversions.

Cedexis impact graph showing correlation of website speed and conversion rates

Here we see a 0.5 second improvement in page speed leads to a 3% increase in conversions

2. A conversion funnel, which graphically presents the end user’s journey in relation to the performance they experienced.

It shows you the exact points of the buyers' journey you lose them because of poor performance.

Cedexis impact conversion funnel showing drop off at different stages of conversion, correlated with website performance

Cedexis Impact visualizes where prospects are dropping out of the conversion funnel, and relates that back to website performance

This is what makes your data actionable: you can decide where to focus your efforts to improve your performance.

It's not just about the negative analysis though: on the positive site, it also shows you where your customers have a great experience, and therefore helps you target the most responsive segments of your audience.

What are the best definitions of website performance?

The definition is really relevant here, since we correlate online performance to business performance.

Online performance can be understood as the way the website, the mobile app or the video performs FROM THE END USER’S PERSPECTIVE.

This is the most relevant way to measure performance for the online businesses, better than synthetic measurements.

Internet performance relies on various players, from ISPs to CDNs or Clouds or Datacenters or your website build itself. But in the end, the closest you can get to the user experience, the best you can truly define your online performance.

What business performance KPIs are commonly tracked?

As we mention above, we correlate web performance to business performance. This is why we are committed to online performance to the KPIs that matter the most to each client, whether those KPIs track conversions, sales, ads displayed, navigation time, videos displayed, pages displayed, bounce rate, etc.

Any KPI is usable as conversion criteria by a business. It usually depends on their industry.

For example, video publishers will define conversions by videos displayed, time of viewing, ads displayed, page views, etc.

E-merchants will track sales, amount of the shopping cart, etc.

Media outlets will track bounce rate, page views, time on site, ads displayed…

But any KPI can be used depending on how an online business defines its online success.

Does Impact help companies take action on website performance issues?

We've found that Impact tends to bridge the gap between IT and marketing teams, to ensure they are both pulling in the same direction.

For the IT departments, it’s a crucial step to control, measure and monetize the impact they're having on the website.

For the marketing folks, they can clearly identify and gain an insight into the impact web performance plays for end user experiences across all domains across their website, and therefore act on the strategic domains for the business.

What is coming up in the future for Cedexis?

2016 is a year dedicated to reinforcing our solutions. This means implementing video QoS metrics for example, which we’re very exited about, or refining the way our clients can display and use our data for Impact.

Since we have raised 22.8 million dollars in January 2016, we are going to use this money to expand our sales, engineering, marketing teams and to target new markets in Europe, America and Asia.

 

KnowledgePower editor: THANK YOU Julien, Antoine, and the Cedexis team for taking the time to do this interview and share information about these cutting-edge solutions!

 


About Cedexis

"We have the most comprehensive and objective view of real-time Internet performance globally, collecting over 6 billion metrics daily. We make this data actionable in real-time in order to ensure a faster Internet for everyone, by everyone! "

  • Locations:
    Paris, France ; London, UK ; Portland (Oregon), New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, US ; Tel Aviv, Israel.
  • Team:
    We have a formidable team with ex-employees coming from Microsoft, Jive, Akamai, HP, Amazon, Adobe, who are true experts in the Content Delivery industry.
  • Network:
    6 billion data points collected every day from 50,000+ networks (ISPs, Clouds, CDNs, Datacenters) around the world.
  • Clients:
    1,000+ clients globally
  • Awards:
    - Pass French Tech
    - Eurocloud’s Best Cloud Startup
    - EY's Entrepreneur of the Year 2013, 2015
    - G20 YEA Member 2013, 2015
    - CIO Magazine's Hottest Cloud Startup
    - Streaming Media Europe Reader's Choice
    - SFR's Most Innovative Startup
    - Online Video Trophies Jury's Favorite
    - Systematic's Paris Champion
    - Syntec 250 Award
    - Streaming Media 100 Company
    - Tech Tour 25 Selected Companies Member

Contact the Founder!

Julien Coulon, Founder: julien [at ] cedexis.com

https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliencoulon/fr