Goodbye New Orleans! We had one week to discover your sparkling nightlife, feel those vibrant rhythms and get used to the sultry heat.
And goodbye to the Sitecore Symposium. We had one week to get to know one another, exchange thoughts and ideas and to come out of this exchange even richer than before.
Both of these were goodbyes and not farewells. If anything, we are aching to keep on exploring. Discovering new possibilities, capabilities and opportunities to apply, research and offer to our customers.
The Sitecore Symposium in New Orleans is a mirror for the type of company Sitecore has become. A large scale, full-fledged CMS that is capable of offering a solution or best approach for each and every digital need.
During the course of the two day Symposium, Sitecore urged us to get out of our comfort zone and visit sessions we would otherwise never venture into. Split out across Business, Development and Marketing tracks, we were able to fan out and find the information we were after. Whether this was a deep dive into a specific topic, a Q&A session on a product feature we already used or simply an exploration into product areas previously unknown.
The opening keynote had one big takeaway, and that was the plain and simple fact that ‘people’ consist out of persons, we must not be oblivious to the fact that an offered experience is perceived differently by each and every one of those persons. Hence we must take care of how we shape our online interactions and the experiences we wish to offer our visitors.
However, we should not wallow ourselves in a sense of indecisiveness when it comes down to creating personalization or online experiences. Rather, as Christopher Nash - Sitecore Business Optimization Consultant - puts it: we need “Less Talk, More Do”.
That same quote can be applied to the product presentations that were offered over the course of the Symposium. Sitecore has heard and understood the need for some new or corrected products and were more than willing to showcase their new developments.
A few years back, Sitecore acquired the Commerce Server solution and integrated that product as their Commerce offering. However, product development realized the complexity of a full re-integration and decided to create a new solution built from the ground up. The result will become available early 2017 and will simply be called Sitecore Commerce.
As marketers are constantly looking for more flexibility, shorter go-live times and more ease of use, Sitecore decided to provide an even bigger toolset to help them advance in their day-to-day work. The Experience Accelerator allows for wire framing and functionality to be defined by applying drag and drop components in Sitecore. A floating toolbar is available for the editor that can even be expanded on and already features approximately 100 components that can be used.
New Forms Module
The current Web forms for Marketers module has a long track record but falls short when the user needs become somewhat more complex. Wizards, field relationships and advanced fields were not easily realizable and often required additional development. The new module will offer a larger set of functionalities while offering an advanced and integrated editor that also works around the drag and drop concept as seen in the Experience Accelerator.
No more Silverlight in the entire Sitecore product. For the Path Analyzer, this meant it had to be rewritten into HTML5. This leads to more features, filters and insights into the xDB analytics information. Making it into a market ready application that can help your marketers drill down into the visitor segments depending on their need.
XConnect, as described by Sitecore, is the transformative and friendly API that enables collecting and acting on information from any touchpoint and corresponding behavior. Drawing its information from the xDB, it can allow you to act on any point of interaction and will serve as a data engine for most third party integrations and Sitecore modules alike.
Sitecore’s own emailing solution “EXM” has been around for a while now but has undergone some invasive changes in the recent releases. The current EXM 3 series has made significant improvements as to mail insights, list segmentation, recipient list creation, smart use of properties and so on. And last but not least, a new and improved mailing provider will be used to better serve globally delivery as well as offer more feedback information.
The above list is but a small overview of the various products features that were discussed during the Symposium. On top of this, panel discussions on privacy and data governance, the future of the changing mindset and many more, provided ample food for thought.
In between sessions, visitors and partners alike had time available to go about and mingle, network and visit the Partner Pavilion. The pavilion had a good mix of implementation partners as well as partner solutions concerning commerce, translations, hosting, search, digital asset management...
Keep your eyes peeled for a number of in-depth articles that will appear on our blog in the coming days. The Reference attended the Symposium with seven experts that each have their own view on specific needs or problems.
A full recap of the Sitecore Symposium of 2016 will be given on the next Meetup session on September 29.
You really want to be inspired? Visit us at the More Than Digital Day on October 6 where we will present you with a brief but thorough recap on the 2016 Symposium!