Sitecore Symposium 2017: Drive your Digital Destiny

25 October 2017
Cleve Gibbon
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 Last week saw a core Cognifide team in Las Vegas for the Sitecore Symposium. It was a fantastic event that brought Cognifide and Sitecore even closer together through the launch of a brand new Alliance. 

Sitecore Symposium Panel Chat 2
The WPP-Sitecore Alliance
WPP is the largest communications services group in the world that engages with the majority of the Fortune 500 companies in one form or another.  They’re big!  Being on the front line, WPP truly understands the consumer want and translates that into brand needs.  One of those needs - for all brands - is to deliver personalised experiences at scale to better serve consumers at every interaction.  Not just the web, but everywhere.

Whether you’re driving in your car, shopping with mates, flying solo, or chilling to your favourite tracks on the beach.  Everywhere means everywhere.  For this, WPP agencies are working in alliance with Sitecore and its Experience Cloud Platform to create, assemble and integrate the digital technologies required to produce those bigger and better returns on marketing investments. Exciting times!

Cognifide already has a big history with Sitecore. We’re a Sitecore Platinum Implementation partner and were the creators of the Sitecore Experience Accelerator and this new alliance forges an even closer partnership. Combine this with the launch of the Sitecore Experience Cloud and the new Sitecore 9, we’re really excited about working with our clients, sister agencies and the Sitecore team, to innovate and drive change.

Driving business change
Under the theme of ‘Drive your Digital Destiny’, change was a central theme at Symposium. In his opening keynote, CEO Mark Frost, acknowledged that organisations are all at very different stages of digital transformation. This aligned very strongly with the presentation that our own CEO, Miro Walker gave at the Sitecore Symposium last year, where he demonstrated how Cognifide has been using accelerator technologies like SXA to transform the way companies work with digital. Sitecore are now on a mission to help companies with that transformation.

The first step is recognising that technology alone doesn’t deliver change. Sitecore are now committing to helping customers to successfully adopt the technology, making it easier to use, and positioning it as a catalyst to driving real business change and transform the way in which companies work. That aligns very strongly with the way we work at Cognifide.

panel discussion

Platform innovation

Sitecore formed a strategic partnership with Microsoft Azure last year and announced at Symposium that all aspects of the platform are now running in a fully ‘serverless’ capacity. Coupled with their new managed services offering, this will give Sitecore users far greater freedom and flexibility. In fact, scaling has never been more easy, or more secure.

The launch of Sitecore XP 9 introduces greater freedom when it comes to data too. The Sitecore Experience Database, or xDB, now supports a broader range of big data platforms, including Microsoft SQL Server 2016 or above, SQL Azure and, in forthcoming updates, MongoDB and Azure CosmosDB. This gives more choice for the customer and greater flexibility in collecting and connecting customer data.

When we think of innovation these days, we often think automation.  Sitecore also announced that they have completely rebuilt their user experience with a new toolset that makes it far easier for marketers to create seamless experiences across their digital channels.

The Sitecore Experience Accelerator has a big role to play in making life easier for marketers. We should know, we created it! The fantastic Adam Najmanowicz was at Symposium, showing us how the latest release, 1.5, has new features that allow marketers and their agencies to more easily share content across multiple sites, with several new components and greater flexibility for look and feel.

Cleve Gibbon

Brand purpose
Throughout Symposium there was far greater emphasis on delivering business value and what that means. There was also talk about what should drive this and our own Cleve Gibbon joined forces with Mark Zablan, Sitecore’s Chief Revenue Officer and representatives from Sapient and Deloitte Digital to talk about the role of brand purpose. Brands that have a strong sense of purpose and a clear agenda are the brands that stand out and engender greater customer loyalty. They also tend to be the brands that are disrupting themselves to deliver greater value to the customer. Cleve spoke about work that we’ve done with The Telegraph to redefine the digital experience for their journalists which, in turn, has transformed the reader experience and taken it to new heights.

What was clear from last week is that Sitecore is stepping up and going enterprise. Really enterprise.  The Sitecore Experience Cloud is a major step by Sitecore to create, deliver and support digital marketing platforms for global audiences.  The WPP Sitecore Alliance brings consumers and brands one step closer together on that journey.  Buckle up people!