We have made HOSTNOC’s blog a place where you can get handy tips to help you with website development and maintenance, finding the best hosting provider and other areas where IT can complement your business. For this purpose, we invite different experts from the IT landscape who would share nuggets of wisdom to help you scale your IT infrastructure easily and enhance your bottom line.
Keeping this tradition alive, we have Carlos Lizaga Anadon with us, Head of Digital Development for Magento as well as Engineering at Pronovias Group. Carlos started as the Lead Web Developer and move up the ladder to the position of the Head of Digital Development. Pronovias Group, a €650 million conglomerate, is a world leader in designing bridal dresses based in Catalonia, Spain and has subsidiaries in New York, Italy, and Shanghai.
In today’s interview, Carlos will shed light on different aspects of eCommerce stores that our readers, who are interested in launching their stores, will find very enlightening. Let’s begin the conversation.
Q1: Hello Carlos, how are you doing? You’re working with Pronovias and it is indeed a big name in the Spanish business industry. Share a bit about your experience as a Head of Digital Development there and what do you guys have in store for 2020?
Carlos: Hi Aaron, I’m great, thanks! My experience as the Head of Digital Development at Pronovias has been remarkable. I had the great opportunity to contribute to a very young but experienced and talented team of engineers by introducing Agile methodologies, tools, and, environments which are what helps them be more productive and performant. We have the privilege of taking care of our Digital Systems, such as the different websites that the group owns, which is also a great responsibility. We take quality seriously, and we are implementing, at this moment, great surprises that will be available for everyone for 2020. We are so excited about 2020.
Q2: As we learn about building websites, we see WordPress tutorials all around, but why did you choose Magento instead of WordPress?
Carlos: While WordPress is an excellent tool made by exceptional developers from all around the world and supported by a vast community, as engineers, we need to choose the right tools. A car mechanic probably might be able to unscrew a piece of the engine block with a hammer, but it would be faster, safer, and more convenient to use its proper tool such a wrench. As Pronovias has e-commerce in nine countries of Europe and has both physical stores and wholesales all around the world, we felt that we needed a tool that had catalog capabilities out of the box.
We ran a study of different options that the market had back then, and Magento seemed to be the most suitable platform. Not only because of its name and proven record but also because of the accessibility of the platform. We love open-source, and Magento has a vast amount of contributors to the Comunity Edition. We use the Enterprise Edition of Magento, however. Now we are excited to play with the newer 2.3.3 version of Magento that implements a lot of exciting features and technology challenges. The latest version of Magento should be live soon, and it will be a great experience.
Q3: Just getting a bit technical here, which optimizes the order flow better for an eCommerce website? WordPress or Magento?
Carlos: Again, WordPress is a great CMS but has to be highly modified to manage orders or anything related to eCommerce. Magento 1.x-2.x has an eCommerce soul that makes the process highly configurable, customizable, and scalable. It features anything needed for eCommerce out of the box. Also, the number of references that we do manage is big enough to need more advance data treatment systems such as EAV models that, as far as I know, are not so much polished on WordPress.
Needless to say that I am not a WordPress expert myself but just someone who had to play with it on previous experiences and personal projects. I would probably recommend WordPress with a layer of eCommerce modules to small businesses or individuals who want to sell some stuff only. But when it starts to need integrations with ERP, OMS, PIM/DAM, CRM, or any other system, I would strongly advise going for a more suitable and specialized solution such as Magento.
Q4: Working with big names isn’t easy as it can shake Work-Life balance. How do you manage your work-life balance?
Carlos: It can be hard sometimes. Working in luxury fashion requires much dedication as things happen fast, and solutions may be implemented on a short time basis. However, we usually manage to find the correct path not to do many extra hours while at the same time, deliver a quality product. It’s all about preferences, disciplines, and how flexible the company is.
For example, most of my team members prefer to start their day in the office early in the morning, so they have spare time for their personal life. I am a late bird that usually stays for longer in the office, that does not affect my personal life as most of my hobbies can be done a couple of hours before dinner. It is just great that Pronovias gives us flexibility in choosing hour working hours.
Q5: Name some of the platforms or people who helped you in your career?
Carlos: If I had to choose a platform, it would be GitHub for sure. Not only because of how great Git is but because of how easy it is to learn new technologies just by forking and playing with repositories that are open source and at the hand of literally anyone that wants to either contribute or learn.
Regarding people, that’s a more straightforward answer. I have an infinite admiration for my father and my mother, who are the most hard-workers that I know. I wouldn’t be the way I am without them, so I will always be in debt with them. I also was fortunate to have the friends that I have and how the relationship that we have allows us to progress not only as a professional but as an individual.
Q6: What advice would you give to Magento developers?
Carlos: Enjoy! Magento is evolving fast (for good), so try to enjoy the trip and learn the different possibilities that it will offer to you. Let’s assume it. Magento 2.3.3 front-end is not perfect, and Knockout is hard to deal with, but detaching Magento and using a new front-end with Vue.js, React, or even Angular is challenging and exciting. Just think out of the box, and don’t be scared about the change. Changes are good.
Q7: As you know, HOSTNOC is a hosting company and offers to host services and dedicated servers to businesses all around the world. Tell us how important it is for businesses to own a website?
Carlos: Pronovias wouldn’t be Pronovias without the Digital Ecosystem that we manage. For the Group, the Websites are critical. Most of the traffic that we drive to the physical stores comes from the website. The Digital Development Team is growing every single day. We started with a team of two digital engineers, and now we aim to be eight to ten during 2020, so that gives an idea of how important websites are for our company. In general, having a presence over the Internet is something that every business should aim for. Either it is by having their software or installation or a Single Page Application.