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Sitecore Symposium 2020 Digest: Enabling Moments that Matter

Sitecore Symposium 2020 Digest: Enabling Moments that Matter

Sitecore Symposium 2020 Digest: Enabling Moments that Matter

Estelle Desaint      November 27, 2020

Most attendees at this year’s Symposium probably found themselves missing the opportunity to network and mingle with the Sitecore community in the flesh as usual. But the reality of this year’s all-digital format underscored the relevance of the overarching topic on the agenda – creating digital moments that matter.

Here’s a digest of what our Sitecore team found to be the most inspiring talks and promising updates to help us all in our quest towards more memorable customer experiences.

1. Moments that break the script

An Insightful kick-off from Sitecore’s CMO, Paige O’Neil, gave us a deep-dive into the power of transforming your marketing philosophy to a moment mindset, especially in the face of the pandemic with changing customer demands and the need for businesses to respond quickly.

With 75% of people who have adopted digital channels during the pandemic saying they intend to keep using them1, businesses have to carefully design each step of the digital customer journey to meet evolving needs.

Author, Dan Heath, explained the psychology behind breaking the script of customer expectations. Incorporating core elements of elevation, insight, pride and connection helps create peak moments that imprint in customers’ minds and drive the experience of meaningful interactions. In fact, so much that customers are more likely to forgive past dissatisfaction, according to Dan Heath.

To put this into action, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester, Rusty Warner, gave his view on the importance of carefully curating a Martech stack that delivers on data, analytics and content management to gauge customer needs and realise a customer-obsessed strategy.

2. Towards owning the entire experience

The Symposium cemented that Sitecore is focusing heavily on enabling content creators and editors to own more and respond quicker to content needs.

This seems only natural as COVID-19 has accelerated the global population’s adoption of digital. A prime example is financial services institutions. They saw a 35% increase in customer use of online banking as early as in Q2 of this year.2

Digital content has become critical to building customer relationships as brick-and-mortar is declining. Marketers need reliable tools and solutions for digital asset planning, production, collaboration and distribution that will help them manage their content life-cycle and compete for their customers’ attention in crowded spaces.

Updates to the Editing Experience

Sitecore introduced even stronger capabilities for content editors working with the page editing tool in the newest Sitecore release.

For instance, features introduced to Horizon making it possible to manage your multisite and multilingual solutions, with even closer integration to Content Hub.

Sitecore will also introduce personalisation of the Launchpad, which will be customised to complement users’ daily workflows. As an editor or marketer, you will get an overview of you and your teams’ daily work with content for greater efficiency and transparency.

As part of the new Editing Experience to come, you will also be able to get quick access and overview of auto-personalisation insights.

Content Hub and CaaS

Unsurprisingly, Content Hub was one of the key offerings featured in the roadmap talks. Being one of Sitecore’s brightest stars, it offers digital asset centralisation and management with functionality that extends to managing offline collateral too.

VP of Product Management, Desta Price, and CTO, Tom Ridder, introduced news such as Content Insights and Content Coverage.

The improved platform’s potential in terms of shaping content strategy through insights and solving challenges related to supply, operations and distribution has not gone unnoticed. We understand why it was already named a Strong Performer in Digital Asset Management for CX by Forrester in late 2019.

Tom De Ridder also announced Content as a Service (CaaS) to build on the strengths of Content Hub and deliver content repository and management through a distributed headless SaaS platform powered by APIs. This will be available from early 2021 and is part of Sitecore’s strategic push towards a SaaS model.

3. Making automated personalisation more manageable with AI?

Research shows that the ROI of personalisation increases steadily as companies mature their personalisation from simple segmentation to predictive personalisation. CX leaders such as Amazon and Netflix have generated 35% and 60% of their sales from behavioural recommendations.3

For many marketers, a key barrier to personalisation is the care and maintenance it needs causing many companies to abandon efforts, even though the features may be available in their existing solution.

To bridge this gap, another big announcement from Sitecore’s CEO, Steve Tzikakis, was the release of AI Auto Personalization.

The promise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is to increase the accessibility of personalisation and reduce the maintenance needed from both digital teams and data scientists. All the while delivering 1:1 personalisation to customers by taking care of the heavy data analysis work and focusing on auto-personalisation within images and CTAs, to begin with.

We’re wary to predict on the impact of Sitecore AI Auto Personalization before seeing more concrete use cases. With that said, we’re already seeing promising results.

This includes the award-winning Microsoft pilot case, where it helped decrease manual customisation time by 30% and increased engagement by 244% on the sites that were updated. We’re eager to follow the Sitecore AI offering closely in the coming months.

The Standard version of AI Auto Personalization will be available in early 2021 at no additional charge as part of the Sitecore Experience Platform 10 (XP).

For anyone interested in testing automated personalisation, Sitecore Cortex, available in Sitecore 9.1, already delivers a range of personalisation options such as automated content suggestions, tagging etc. This may serve as a first step to trying out personalisation in your current setup if you’re running on an older solution.

4. Empowering Dev Teams with Container Support

Besides the large focus on content and personalisation, sessions around Sitecore’s move towards containerisation in Sitecore 10 was a hot topic for tech professionals who had been waiting for this.

Official support for container-based development with Docker and Kubernetes technology-based container infrastructure was discussed in a session by Senior Software Architect, Bart Plasmeijer, and Technical Evangelist, Rob Earlam.

Seemingly, this update will have a noticeable impact on the ease of use and performance as it will allow dev teams to organise, deploy and manage Sitecore using a containerised approach.

For the last couple of years, most of our development environments at Nodes have been built around Docker, and we have waited for Sitecore to officially support it – both in terms of dev environments, but especially for going into production environments.

We’re eager to dive into this upgrade and test it more, so we can help our client teams leverage it in their Sitecore solutions.

To learn more about our Sitecore team, services and cases, or to get in touch with us, click here.

Endnotes:

      1. Sitecore Insights: Symposium Day 1, 2020
      2. Realising the Digital Promise: COVID-19 catalyzes and accelerates transformation in financial services. Deloitte, 2020
      3. The Future of Retail Banking: The Hyper-Personalisation Imperative. Deloitte, 2020
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