Sitecore Symposium 2016 Highlights

September 29, 2016

Blog | News | Sitecore Symposium 2016 Highlights
Sitecore Symposium #ImAGeek Social Contest - GeekHive

Sitecore Symposium 2016 was amazing and we were so proud to be Gold Sponsors this year. So many things happened, too many to write about, but we’ll highlight some of our favorites below.

Breakthrough Sessions & Keynotes

Our CTO Jay Oliver and Developers John Rappel and Steve VandenBush were busy attending sessions throughout each day. Here are some of their takeaways from the sessions.

DEMAND MORE value for your Customers with Sitecore Experience Platform 8.2

Sitecore CEO Michael Seifert’s keynote led the charge to get attendees fired up about context marketing – creating and managing customer experiences by using information about how customers interact with your brand – through Sitecore Experience Platform, then called on the tools and products to help us do it. Sitecore 8.2, their much anticipated new release, comes with a whole list of features and improvements that will help you craft a user journey and increase conversions like never before. It’s basically a marketers dream.

The Sitecore Experience Platform 8.2 includes:

  • Content Foundation Improvements (Dependency Injection, Caching and Performance)
  • Support for the Publishing Service (Installed Separately)
  • Support for Express Migration (Installed Separately)
  • Enhanced Experience Editor Features
  • Marketing Funnels
  • New Experience Analytics Reports and Charting
  • Improved Content Testing UI
  • Enhanced Path Analyzer Component
  • Sitecore Experience Accelerator (Installed Separately)

We just so happen to have a simple 6 Phase Approach to implementing Sitecore Experience Platform’s tools to your site, you can download it here.

GeekHive's 6 Phase Approach to Implementing Sitecore Experience Platform

Becoming an Experience Developer

In this session, we learned the differences between MongoDB and Sitecore Analytics and how to leverage the two. It was interesting to see the way you can extend Mongo to capture custom user data that you can track within the platform and easily customize the display and reporting based on the data collected.

Mongo and Analytics play two different roles for you. Mongo is more user oriented, analytics more site wide. Analytics will tell you the average for site visitors, most visited pages, etc.  Mongo, on the other hand, is based on the type of user and what that type of user does. Mongo really gets into personas, so you can create persona groups that give your marketing team better insight into how these groups are using the site. They can use this collected information to make small changes over time to alter the website for the most meaningful results.

Mongo, on their own site, says it best: “Sitecore xDB allows organizations to collect all of their customer interactions from all channels to create a comprehensive, single view of the customer that allows marketers to better optimize the customer experience in real-time.”

Better Together: Sitecore on Azure

In this session, we were impressed that the presenter had a new Azure Sitecore instance up and running in 30 seconds so he could show us how everything worked in real time. We were able to see the analytics from the state and status of nodes inside of Azure and the ability to get alerts based on Sitecore triggered events. We’re interested to see how this Azure roll up can be used in test instances for clients and we’re curious about how they will license it from an Azure point of view.

Why Games Make Us Better

As a game designer and futurist, Jane McGonigal’s keynote reminded us that having a sense of play and infusing it into the work we do, is not only good for us, it’s good for our customers and ROI. She made a strong case for using the experiences we create while gaming to set and achieve goals in our real lives. Gaming groups understand that you want to leave users with a sense of wondering, what’s around the corner and could it be good? Getting into the mindset of the user to find areas to infuse play, open up possibilities, and leave them with a sense of curiosity helps them engage and want to take the next step forward towards their goal. As developers, UXers, designers, and marketers, where can we infuse this lesson into our website flow and how can we use Sitecore Experience Platform tools to our advantage to engage with visitors?

GeekHive’s #ImAGeek Social Contest

#ImAGeek Social Contest Winners from Sitecore Symposium 2016

When you challenge a geek to be, well, Geeky, the results are pretty awesome.

We sponsored the t-shirt press station where attendees could customize their t-shirts and choose between images that featured New Orleans, the Symposium, or our very own #ImAGeek. The #ImAGeek shirts were a huge hit and rocked by many of the attendees.

To really have fun with it, and get attendees engaged with our brand, we ran a social contest using #ImAGeek. Attendees could get creative by snapping a shot of themselves wearing their symposium t-shirt, using #ImAGeek, and tagging us in the post to enter to win a Surface Pro 4 and other fun, geeky prizes. We had several amazing entries, some featured in the header of this post and in the video below.

We also had custom Buzz (our mascot) stress balls made up and they were a big hit. Since Buzz isn’t a part of our main logo anymore, we’re always looking for ways to incorporate him into our brand. People loved how adorable the stress “bees” were and grabbed several for their kids and co-workers. #BuzzLivesOn

Our favorite part of the t-shirt station was the conversations we had with attendees who came up to get their shirts pressed. We loved learning about what they were up to in the Sitecore community and how the platform has supported their business in one way or another. The energy and enthusiasm from everyone was infectious.Sitecore Symposium 2016 t-shirt station sponsored by GeekHive

The Party

Sitecore sure knows how to throw a party, and this year, they did not disappoint at The House of Blues. There were live bands in every room, delicious food and drinks, a whiskey tasting, photo booth, caricature drawings, a tarot reader and so much more. Checking out the video and pictures below.

pic-jointer-1Sitecore Symposium 2016 Party at House of Blues in New Orleans

A Big Thank you

We were so impressed by the staff of Sitecore and Freeman who planned and ran a seamless event. Working with the team from For The Good,  who ran the t-shirt press, was inspirational not only because they are awesome people and incredibly hard working but because they are a company with principles and donate a portion of their profits to organizations that do good in the world.Sitecore Symposium 2016 Highlights from GeekHive - thanks to the people who made it possible!

We can’t wait to see what Sitecore Symposium 2017 brings to Las Vegas!

To learn more about the work we’ve done as a long-standing Sitecore Gold Implementation Partner, check out our Work.

Shannon Brennan-Cressey

Director of Digital Marketing
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