Sitecore Symposium 2020 Recap - Day 1

The first ever Digital Sitecore Symposium kicked off on Monday October, 26th 2020, with a Virtual Happy Hour by Sitecore CMO Paige O’Neil and Sitecore Official Comedian, Jake Johannsen. As an amazing annual Sitecore Conference, 4,500 attendees with more than half of them from outside of the United States, attending from a 70+ counties, showed up this year. Symposium is the ideal place for learning new platform features and products while networking with other Sitecore enthusiasts.

The main theme of this year's Sitecore Symposium is "Moments that Make Experiences”. Moments have taken on a new  meaning to brands and customers as all of our activities went digital this year in response to the customer needs. This is what makes the customer experience - understanding the needs of customers at the moment. In short, our world has shifted and we must adapt to the changes we see before us.

On Tuesday, October 27, 2020, Sitecore Symposium kicked off with a Keynote by Sitecore CMO Paige O’Neil. Paige spoke about the Pandemic and how digital transformation has become even faster at this and how this defined new expectations. This added a new experience to the customer experience as we must evolve into a moment to moment experience. The new customer experience includes empathy and how to build a much deeper trust connection with customers to help them in these moments. Paige also talked about the importance of building a content strategy to create the right types of content. Sitecore offers Sitecore Content Hub to help resolve the content crisis and gives you tools on how to spend less time managing content. If you have any questions about Sitecore Content Hub, reach out to ([email protected]).

Sitecore CEO, Steve Tzikakis, gave a Sitecore business update. He started by giving a shoutout to Sitecore customers which are made up of big brands in different industries. Steve also talked about the amazing roadmap for innovation and leading the change according to Gartner's Magic Quadrant for the 10th year in a row. A key takeaway was Sitecore's goal to be the number one digital experience player in the world while providing the very best digital experience and personalization.

Steve joined Sitecore as their CEO a couple of weeks ago and, during his presentation, he went through customer comments and reviews. He also promised to focus on continued acceleration of innovation, presents in all regions, and focus on Partners Echo System, by making sure partners are familiar and experienced with Sitecore products to match customer interests.

Sitecore will make sure that their customers always have the digital advantage over their competitors. They plan to do this by providing Sitecore class products and integrations with flexibility, maintainability, and usability. By moving to SaaS, which will cost less, it will make it easier to maintain, upgrade, and deploy by a single click. With this, Steve announced two new offers from Sitecore:

  1. Sitecore artificial intelligence auto personalization standard with no cost for all customers in Sitecore 10.
  2. Release of Content as a Service – true multitenancy infrastructure

Sitecore will focus on the innovation and move to the cloud (SaaS) within the next 12-18 months. They will maintain a long-term relationship with customers and ensure the partners remain in their important role including the 22K Sitecore developers around the world. Sitecore will not compete with partners but at the same time they will make sure partners provide the best Sitecore services.

In the 'Road to Product Innovation' general session by Desta Price, EVP Product Management at Sitecore and Tom De Ridder, Chief Technology Officer at Sitecore, many new features were announced. Following are the highlights:
  • Sitecore As a Service is coming in the next 12 to 18 months - presented as "the future". The Sitecore journey started by partners/customers managing the platform, then managing the platform in collaboration with Sitecore through managed services and now the platform will be managed by Sitecore (SaaS).
  • Sitecore Content Hub has Content Insights, which provides engagement value on the strategy board.
  • Content Coverage that is based on Sitecore AI, which helps marketing teams determine the best content strategy -  you can access through Sitecore Horizon.
  • Sitecore AI auto personalization standard with no minimum traffic required
  • Sitecore Experience Commerce Product Recommendation based on Sitecore AI
  • Content Suggestions powered by Sitecore AI accessed from Horizon. Sitecore AI helps improve marketing effectiveness by questioning if you have enough content.
  • New Next.js SDK for JSS, and continue to build on the new Developer experience produced in Sitecore 10. This contains, ASP.Net Core SDK, and Sitecore CLI/ Sitecore for Visual Studio.

There are a lot more features and enhancements coming in 2021.

About Author

Mohammed Syam
Mohammed has a Masters degree in Computer Sciences, has been a Sitecore Most valuable Professional (MVP) since 2016 (2016-2020), and is a Sitecore Hackathon 2019 winner. He has been in software development since 2009, and working with Sitecore since 2015. He has also been working as Sitecore Architect with since 2017.

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