As usual, the Sitecore User Group conference splits its content over the course of two days. While this is an event supported and promoted by Sitecore, the fantastic Sitecore community clearly and foremost drives it.
Originally originating out of the Dutch user group, the organization has grown through co-operating with other user groups and the community. Resulting in this fifth installment of SUGCON EU to have grown into a full-fledged conference that is host to over 600 attendees. This means that the SUGCON EU has grown in size exponentially with every edition, doubling in size nearly every year.
The emphasis of the yearly Sitecore Symposium lies in providing product information through cases, realizations and thought leadership. However, the SUGCON EU conference rather aims at showcasing technological highlights, hands-on realizations and demos by the hands-on technical experts and architects.
Featuring both speakers from the Sitecore teams as well as the community (partners, agencies, Sitecore MVP’s and other technical profiles), this provides the option to go into more depth for a large amount of sessions.
This year’s emphasis was on Sitecore’s potential to be the driving platform behind technical innovation and smart use of data. Sitecore has come a long way from being just a Content Management System. It has since moved into that niche market of platforms that offer an experience platform. However, with the latest product developments in mind (such as xConnect, JSS, Marketing Automation), the platform is ready to step into the next natural step of its lifecycle.
Sessions such as “Power of connected data” and “Uber-modern APIs for Sitecore” combined with sessions on how to scale out on your Sitecore Environment “XP Services – Scale up and Scale out” really highlighted the flexibility and scalability of Sitecore.
As one of the opening sessions, Sitecore announced their new release cadence. Their goal is to have a stable release calendar or both spring and fall releases for Major or minor releases. However, concerning patches, updates and fixes, these will still be released as much as needed to support the customers. This approach helps streamline both the Sitecore internal teams (by setting clear release goals) as well as the partners and customers. The benefit for customer and partners stems from the transparency in possible update budgets that can be made available well in advance.
Since SUGCON is mainly a technical event, less attention is given to the entire suite of marketing tools that is also present within Sitecore. However, a number of specific sessions showed off the capabilities that ship with Sitecore 9.
However, a number of sessions showed the real value that Sitecore is now able to deliver through an integration of the new Forms solution, the reworked Marketing Automation plans and the matured Email Experience Manager. These three solutions create a firm basis to drive conversion and value from within the Sitecore platform.
Two final and very honorable mentions go out to the sessions on:
- White hat hacker’s guide to the internet – Ethical hacking has been an interesting topic for a while now since it helps gain insight into typical oversight and helps identify risks within the Sitecore solutions. As one of the most attended sessions of the entire SUGCON, the conclusions were astounding. As it turns out, over 52% of all inspected Sitecore websites were open and vulnerable to fingerprinting and exploits.
- Sitecore JSS – While the solution is still only available in Beta, the promise of the product is already quite clear. Being able to transfer data at will, modifying the data contract, consuming data for any type of purpose and/or even use it while retaining the possibilities offered by the Sitecore platform such as the Experience Editor is offering a whole lot of options. It will not only increase the flexibility of the platform but will quite likely increase the speed of the developed applications as well as offer even more connectivity.
The SUGCON EU finished by offering us the details of next year’s date and location:
LONDON 4th and 5th of April 2019!
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Find more information about the agenda, speakers and drive behind the SUGCON EU here