Five Important Takeaways from Sitecore Symposium 2018

As always, Sitecore Symposium was jam packed with information, collaboration, and connecting with others in the Sitecore Community. It is always inspiring to hear how companies and other partners are using Sitecore® and Sitecore® Experience Commerce™ to achieve their business goals. Here are five important takeaways from the 2018 Sitecore Symposium:

Sitecore Announced Their New Platform – Sitecore Experience Cloud

Sitecore continues to evolve their offering to continually push the boundaries of what is possible in a leading digital experience platform. Sitecore’s next-generation platform gives you the freedom to engage with your customers on their terms—when and where it’s convenient for them and in any format they choose. This end-to-end content and commerce platform that accelerates your ability to reach, engage, and convert customers with real-time, individualized digital experiences. Sitecore Experience Cloud™ combines the leading Sitecore Experience Platform™, Sitecore Experience Commerce™, the new Sitecore Content Hub®, and Sitecore Experience Manager™.

By combining these platforms, Sitecore Experience Cloud enables clients to:

  • Have a leading content management platform with rich customer analytics, providing deep customer insight.
  • Deliver shopping experiences that are shaped by customer’s interaction history with context, transforming prospects into lifetime customers.
  • Manage the entire content lifecycle from planning, resourcing, content centralization and management, to delivering with operational excellence.
  • Deliver personalized experiences at scale, by providing the power to manage omnichannel experiences with simplicity and speed.

Acquiring Style Labs Helps Clients Own the Complete Content Lifecycle

Marketers are tasked with creating an enormous amount of content to continually attract and nurture their audience and, ultimately, increase sales. However, this has created silos and issues with workflow. Historically, the number one integration customers have needed for their Sitecore Solution was a content management system such for their Digital Asset Management (DAM) or Product Information Management (PIM).

With the acquisition of Style Labs, Sitecore is showing their commitment to help marketers own their complete content lifecycle, from start to finish by creating the new Sitecore Content Hub. Adding the Stylelabs Marketing Content Hub® to the Sitecore product portfolio extends the Sitecore product set with first-class capabilities for Digital Asset Management (DAM), Marketing Resource Management (MRM), Product Information Management (PIM), and Web-to-Print services.  I am really looking forward to how the integration of Stylelabs progresses.  Adding them to the Sitecore family fills in some critical gaps in the stack. All three capabilities are important, but as B2B Commerce is a critical focus for Sitecore in near-term releases, having a PIM offering will make those releases more significant.

The acquisition creates an end to end content, commerce and personalization platform. From owning the entire content and production lifecycle, to managing secure distribution of content to customers, to leveraging personalized content across any channel and connecting marketing assets, customer data and analytics – this acquisition enables marketers to capture previously unobtainable insights based on customer’s consumption of content across all your channels.

Expanding Partnership with Salesforce Enables Further Personalization

Given the popularity of Sitecore Connect, a connector between Sitecore and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Sitecore announced they are going to further expand their relationship with Salesforce. The next phase of integration between the two companies will include feeding behavioral data into Salesforce including customer profiles, web clicks, page views, and more. This will help marketers gain further insights into customer behavior, enabling predictive personalization – the ability to know what customers are going to do next and feed them content to help them further engage with your brand. In commerce, predictive personalization will help feed smart product recommendations, ultimately increasing sales by helping customers purchase add-on products they previously would have had to search separately to find. The expanding relationship between Salesforce and Sitecore will help further the 360-degree view of the customer marketers work so hard to achieve.  Still some overlap in a few areas, but that gives us all choices, right?

Sitecore Cortex is Now Widely Available to Help Clients Drive Further Personalization

Sitecore Cortex has been referred to as the “mind in the machine” that helps Sitecore users with the art of personalization. By setting up personalization rules, Sitecore Cortex can learn from the initial rules and drive further customer insights, learning from each interaction your customer makes with your content or products. The exciting things Sitecore Cortex can help accomplish include optimizing SEO, identifying predictive outcomes, and identifying customers next most likely to convert. Essentially, Sitecore Cortex can identify customers you wouldn’t have previously known were likely to interact purchase your services or products, and help drive further engagements with them, nurturing them until they reach their decision point.

Sitecore JavaScript Services Are Now Available

The announcement that Sitecore JavaScript Services are now available had both marketers and developers alike rejoicing in the audience. JavaScript Services gives developers and marketers the ultimate flexibility to control how their website appears. According to Sitecore, developers will no longer be required to use .Net and C# for programming websites, enabling developers to use the much preferred JavaScript language. Not only does Sitecore’s JavaScript Services provide the ability for “what you see is what you get,” but by simplifying the coding process, it will enable clients to get to market faster and have full control across all channels with the Sitecore headless architecture capabilities.

In summary, Sitecore had a few tricks up their sleeve at the 2018 Sitecore Symposium!  In addition to all the announcements of how Sitecore will help clients develop a 360-degree view of the customer across all channels, I enjoyed hearing how clients are using Sitecore to drive innovation in their business. With Dine Brands Global, winner of the Ultimate Sitecore Experience Award for North America, using Sitecore to engage guests digitally across a wide variety of channels, to Cannondale Bikes creating an app to find the perfect bike for customers, and Sick Kids using Sitecore to help them drive the largest fundraising drive in Canada, it is inspiring to see how clients are utilizing Sitecore to set new industry standards.  What Care by Volvo is doing is a complete game-changer in paying one fee for everything but gas relating to your subscribed car. This is setting a new standard in the auto industry and having Sitecore be part of this makes it all the better. Disappointed though that I did not win the Volvo S60 year subscription. That said, it would have taken me a lot longer to get home to Boston.

At XCentium, we believe in being the leaders in the industry. Do you have a dream or vision for the future of your company? I encourage you to reach out and tell us your story of how you want to engage your customers and create great experiences for them and your brand. As a leading Sitecore Platinum Partner and the Sitecore 2018 Ultimate Sitecore Experience Award for North America winner, we thrive on helping customers reach new heights.