Sitecore Symposium in New Orleans has been an experience for everyone who visited. Great sessions, noticeable keynotes and tons of networking with partners lead to unforgettable days. Now, after few weeks of work when all emotions are settled, emails are answered and we’ve caught up with ongoing routine, we’ve picked top 5 takeaways we’ve carried out form the week in New Orleans and Sitecore symposium
Sitecore on Azure
Sitecore confirmed their commitment to Azure and it looks like we can say bye-bye to the Azure Module with Sitecore 8.2 coming! Now it will be possible to publish on Cloud Services directly from Visual Studio. This step was expected, yet we couldn’t help but notice how serious Sitecore took it. According to the demos shown, the Sitecore instance set up will be just a matter of clicks and minutes.
In attempt to turn best practices into standards, Sitecore revealed Helix website) with recommended architectural and structural principles. Helix is a set of design patters, conventions for developers and guidelines how to develop project in “best-of-Sitecore way”.
Habitat is an example of how one can architect a project using the Helix principals. It is a demo site to the Helix standards of how to do things.
Our overall impression is that you definitely should try to work with Habitat) and see how it’s done. Helix principles will be used widely in Sitecore projects, so Habitat tends to be an industry playground for practicing.
The idea of speeding website development and letting Frontend and graph designers work along with developers has been in the air.
Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SxA) separates information architecture from design. It uses wireframe for content page with reusable rendering components to add and drag around. There is almost 100 of the components and the number is growing. They can represent images, text blocks, polls, menus..etc.
SxA allows different teams to work in parallel: content authors can to enter content, front-end developers can do the theme and the back-end developer sets up data templates, making the total site development process a lot faster. The accelerator is based on Helix principles (Sitecore best practices) and supports proper structure of content so that personalization can be applied to renderings regardless of styling.
XConnect is a framework with friendly API that enables analytics data synchronization from and into Sitecore xDB. It’s goal is to connect and exchange data from Sitecore itself and from any other systems and apply this data in multiple external systems and internal Sitecore modules. That means we will get access to enormous amount of data through one API, including data from RFID readers, POS. Marketers will receive unique tools to use real world date it for marketing, personalization and any purposes they will need, connecting IoT systems with marketing platform. The xConnect should be available in Sitecore 8.3 next year.
Practical advises for Marketers and developers
Aside from announcements of new cool features, Symposium of 2016 was rich for advises and demos on how to use Sitecore at full throttle. Several sessions showcased great examples of Sitecore projects confirming system capabilities.
We’ve enjoyed practical session on Experience Marketing and demo of personalization within an eCommerce environment and especially the Path Analyzer. Comparing to the path Analyzer demo from Barcelona Symposium of 2014, we can say it’s been updated significantly! FxM has gone a long way as well, now we can’t wait to see these tools in real world action.
Among case studies, we were very impressed by the numbers of user engagement shown by Nutricia Danone. That is a great example of how context marketing, customer data, and omnichannel communication can work for marketers.
Like many other attendees we hope slides and video recording will be available to review these sessions once again and check the ones we’ve missed.
Strongest side of the Symposium was the ability to meet huge number of Sitecore developers, Partners and customers and prospects in person. This takeaway goes unnumbered, but it is the core reason we love visiting Symposium. Of course, Sitecore community communicates through blogs, social media, forums, but still, verbal eye-to eye meeting is important.
We’re glad we got to meet Sitecore officials and hear their vision from first hand. It’s great to get inspired by enthusiasm of Sitecore evangelists and team members. Many thanks to Sitecore for this long awaited symposium!
Great news is that now the Symposium will be held every year and next grand event will occur in Las Vegas October 16-19 2017. We have plenty of time to try out all the new features and looking forward to talk about Sitecore news with partners next time! Feel free to drop us) a note and share your thoughts.