We usually associate Sitecore as the platform that delivers context and experiences to customers, so it’s little wonder that Sitecore Symposium 2016 was held in New Orleans, a city that’s all about the experience - Laissez les bons temps rouler!
A local jazz band set the tone for the initial keynote from Michael Seifert (CEO, Sitecore) who re-enforced the importance of not only owning, but also shaping the customer experience. As digital disruption continues to challenge businesses, the key enablement features of Sitecore including eCommerce, detailed data analytics and personalisation were all critical points in Michael’s keynote. Sitecore enables customers to champion digital disruption within their own organisation to establish a competitive advantage.
Jason Silva (futurist and film maker) then encouraged the audience to broaden their thinking and demanded that we step out of our limits and allow technology to take us on an exponential journey of growth. Jason explained how the evolution of what we can achieve with digital transformation has positive implications for businesses and consumers alike by creating experiences that delight and are contextual at the right place, at the right time.
Combining the vision of both Michael and Jason, we were left with a clear focus that partnerships are a key enabler for digital evolution and success. It was clear that Sitecore were setting a strong tone for the entire event that encouraged collaboration amongst participants and strengthening of a community that is pushing the boundaries of digital transformation. With nearly 2,000 participants, we were excited to be participating at several levels at Sitecore Symposium from the attendance in the developer streams by a Switch Sitecore MVP through to our presentation on success with Sitecore eCommerce in the breakout sessions.
It was a huge privilege to present at Sitecore Symposium 2016, our breakout session asked the audience to “Think Outside the Big Box Store: Innovating with Sitecore Commerce” which was a popular insight into how customers can not only achieve transformation with Sitecore but deliver customers with purchasing power, at any time on pretty much any device. We emphasised that a successful Sitecore Commerce approach requires critical planning to ensure that all the dominos line up, if one is missing - the whole connection is lost. We were excited that it was a theme that resonated throughout Sitecore Symposium as eCommerce is the crucial next phase for many customers. We’ve seen this first hand having recently won the Sitecore Digital Innovator of the Year award for our work on the industry first eCommerce solution for the Royal Automobiles Club of Australia (RAC). We’ve also recently been working on digital transformations using eCommerce for both Toshiba and Zip Water, given our experience with Sitecore and most flavours of eCommerce (Insite, uCommerce and Sitecore Commerce) these have been highly integrated and successful outcomes.
Jane McGonigal delivered an inspirational keynote with powerful insights into how games can help us achieve extraordinary goals. Some stunning facts included that that we spend 3 billion hours a week as a planet playing computer games and far removed from being a waste of time, computer games have huge benefits by producing positive emotions, stronger social relationships, a sense of accomplishment and a chance to build up a sense of meaning and purpose. We can become the best version of ourselves: the most optimistic, most creative, most focused, most collaborative, most likely to set ambitious goals and the most resilient in the face of failure. We also saw the motivational power of Pokemon Go in NYC and Taipei which shows the sheer volume of people who’ve caught augmented reality fever that play for an average of 45 minutes per day.
Lars Nielsen (CDO, Sitecore) delivered the final keynote that gave us an insight into his daunting task of continually evolving Sitecore to deliver the tools to maximise what we will need in the future. Showcasing some of the next features in Sitecore was exciting to see and we’re all looking forward to seeing further integration of the platform to a point that allows us to truly use data, content and context to provide the best levels of automation.
We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to bump into some old friends at Sitecore Symposium 2016 and to meet some new ones. Sitecore have to be commended on a flawless event, from exciting and interesting keynotes through to breakout sessions that provided first hand insights and learnings and of course the sensational House of Blues Sitecore Party. The entire Sitecore team was readily available and actively participated in product demonstrations, keynotes and breakout sessions - this is a great way to enable everyone to achieve the opportunities that Sitecore presents as a solution. Sitecore Symposium 2016 has set the bar for what is going to be delivered in Las Vegas is 2017 which is going to be nothing short of phenomenal.
Wrapping up Sitecore Symposium 2016, it’s hard to not think about the transformative business model that the Sitecore platform represents. Not only does Sitecore deliver enablement for businesses looking to transform but also the efficiency to achieve their objectives of connected customers. In doing so, we’re all enabled to create deep customer relationships for life by not only understanding our customers but providing them with the context they need, when they need it. Ultimately hitting that objective of making things easy and removing hurdles that traditional ways of doing business so often throw in our way.