Category: Sitecore Symposium

Impressions from Sitecore Symposium 2018

Impressions from Sitecore Symposium 2018

This was my second time at Sitecore Symposium as a speaker and it was interesting to compare the experience year-over-year. I’d been to a SUGCON in New Orleans and Berlin which were more developer solutioning focused, but Symposium in comparison is a much more curated production with a lot more insights and tips on offer for analysts, strategists, and business users. As one of my colleagues puts it, “SUGCON is a music festival and Symposium is a rock concert”. Rock You Like a Hurricane should have been the theme song this year consider the storm that blew through Florida. Despite the storm plenty of folks showed up to hear Mark Stiles and I deliver a talk on supercharging your author experience with Machine Learning. Lots of great questions, comments, and even a few solid leads we are pursuing at Velir!

This was my first Sitecore Symposium as an MVP, and it was great opportunity to learn more about the latest release of Sitecore and what’s on the future road map. Some themes emerged that I am really excited about.

A focus on operational efficiency for content authors and marketers

The Sitecore team recognizes that there is an ever-growing list of new tools and marketing features that we are expected to master. Authors and developers need to be more efficient in what they do and the platform itself can drive a lot of this efficiency. I was very encouraged by what I saw coming in down the pike from Horizon, Sitecore’s author experience overhaul initiative. While I can’t talk about some the specific beta enhancements we saw at the MVP summit I can say that the new interface will be miles more intuitive, reduce context switching between Experience Editor and Content Editor, and integrate page level analytics to provide better context for making decisions. They also showed some images of a revamped launchpad and analytics dashboard that will really bring some parity with other enterprise XP solutions like Adobe. Can’t wait! The acquisition of StyleLabs promises platform maturity, owning more of the creative process and end-to-end tasks so content authors need not work in as many solutions. And finally, machine learning is beginning to be applied for practical use in the authoring and personalization space (via Cortex and other services). It’s not magic, it’s SCIENCE!

Maturing technologies and frameworks

The promise of more seamless connection with the rest of the marketing ecosystem is becoming realized with deeper integration with Salesforce and other apps via xConnect. JSS promises to allow Sitecore to provide headless front-end solutions that still allow you to enjoy the power of the Sitecore back end and its experience editor. SXA foundation continues to solidify and the package is growing, taking some pressure of developers to bootstrap common components and accelerate the pace of development.

Overall, I walked away encouraged and excited to be part of what comes next!

10 tips for optimizing the author experience and operational efficiency in Sitecore CMS

10 tips for optimizing the author experience and operational efficiency in Sitecore CMS

This year, along with Dominic Hurst of Valtech, I was very fortunate to have presented at the Sitecore Symposium in Las Vegas, Nevada. Both Dominic and I have worked on a variety of Sitecore installations and over the years have noted some mutual industry observations:

  • The role of the Content Author in modern CMS solutions has evolved into a multi-dimensional job. Too often these every-day heroes have to fight inflexible and uninspiring solutions to overcome the even smallest tasks
  • Many organizations spend the lion’s share of their budgets on CMS implementation, yet pay little attention to the efficiency of the operational processes that enable it
  • Poor authoring experiences can lead to UX erosion over time. Bad AX → Bad UX → Bad CX
  • Content authors are rarely empowered to aid in design, personalization, and performance analysis

Together at the Symposium we decided to address these observations and present our top 10 tips for organizations to empower their content authors to deliver real value on a daily basis. Many they can enact right away. Below are links to 10 blogs posts that cover each of these points in greater detail. We hope you enjoy these posts and, of course, please reach out to either of us to continue the conversation. Dan – @sitecorelations; Dominic – @dh_analytics)

  1. Provide access to non-explicit fields in Experience Editor
  2. Simplify rich text embeds
  3. Make it easy to do the “right” thing
  4. Optimize data template architecture for greater usability
  5. Dynamically nest local components with pages
  6. Use branch templates to create structured content models
  7. Get your content authors involved in the design process
  8. Be a custodian for chang(ing content)
  9. Embrace governance, add guard rails not gates
  10. Combine the authoring experience with analytics

Special thanks to Nicolai Winch Kristensen of Sitecore for coordinating and moderating our Sitecore Symposium presentation. May the force be with you!