The Future of Sitecore: Takeaways from Symposium and What It Means for Your Business

Sitecore

Missed attending Sitecore SYM 2020? Whether you had the opportunity to attend or not, we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together some key takeaways and big ideas from this year’s event to help you get the most out of Sitecore.

As with most things in 2020, Sitecore Symposium was different from previous years. For the first time, Sitecore held an all-virtual digital experience. From Monday, October 26 to Thursday, October 29, Sitecore Symposium was live with networking events, virtual booths, and sessions from industry thought leaders, including our very own Gene De Libero, Chief Strategy Officer.

 

Major Takeaways of Symposium

There was a lot of great content delivered at Sitecore Symposium. We spotted two common themes emerge: Customer Experience and Agile. 

 

Commit to Customer Experience

Customer Experience is not a new concept. But it’s up to us as marketers to anticipate our customers’ changing needs, and continue to move right along with them, even in the wake of the unexpected. 

This year has reinforced for all of us how imperative it is to keep re-examining our customer experience strategy. It’s important to think about emotions and feelings your business evokes--that’s what customers take away from each moment. It’s vital to make each moment matter, as Sitecore CMO Page O’Neill explained during Symposium this year. She focused on Enterprise Rent-a-Car as an example, as Enterprise took immediate action during the pandemic to help people easily access a rental car so they could travel home safely and quickly. 

The customer experience is at the core of everything you do. Tools like Sitecore come with personalization capabilities that can be a huge boon to your ability to meet your customers in any circumstance and make that moment matter. If you’re willing to put in the extra mile to dig into all the features Sitecore has to offer, the platform can help you identify, acquire, and retain customers who are happy to recommend your services.

 

Embrace Agile

Like customer experience, the concept of being agile is still at the forefront of consistently excellent marketing. Agility starts with a strong core, giving your organization and all of its elements the flexibility to stay in touch with the customer and answer their needs in real-time. A “strong core” boils down to people who are capable, aligned, and executing on processes together to accomplish bigger business objectives -- acting on the tenants of a solid strategy. 

Businesses need to experiment with new ways to work together and learn from those new processes. For a business to thrive in the digital world, Marketing, Sales, and IT teams need to not just work closely together, but bridge any communication gaps to drive results and keep up with customer demands.

 

Looking Forward: What Capabilities Are Coming?

Sitecore CEO Steve Tzikakis gave us a glimpse of what to expect for Sitecore’s future.

  1. The upcoming release of Sitecore AI will include AI Personalization (or Auto Personalization), available to existing Sitecore 10 customers at no cost. This new feature will ease up a marketer’s job when creating personalization features, such as letting the AI configure personalization rules and letting it learn user behavior with traffic. This is expected to be released in early 2021.
  2. Content Hub’s newest feature includes more things that help marketers evaluate website performance and traffic: Engagement Value and Impact Scale.
  3. Content as a Service will enable Sitecore users to improve the way they build, deliver, and distribute content on multiple channels, regardless of the device. Content is a foundational element to building customer experiences, and this new offering will enable marketers to integrate content seamlessly with Sitecore CMS and commerce solutions.

 

What this Means for You

Sitecore is an excellent marketing technology tool, offering a myriad of personalization options. It’s exciting to see Sitecore continue to expand its offerings. However, in order to get the most out of it, you truly need to have a Sitecore strategy prior to implementation. Once you have that, you must have a plan to communicate that strategy across teams and ensure training is part of the process. Placing a focus on continuous testing and learning is necessary to optimize your experience with Sitecore, and even more importantly, your customers’ experiences. 

As more features get released, it can be tempting to rush to adopt them. Without a strong strategy in place, this can lead to the illusion of innovation and optimization. In reality, lots of activity may be occurring between teams with little impact on the business.

Before you dive in to use the next feature- ask yourself if you’re getting the most value out of what you already have. Taking the time to truly understand the value you’re getting out of your current stack and feature set will provide insight into any gaps or missed opportunities that exist. This is a lower-risk initiative with a higher chance of success that will avoid over-complicating your stack, and keep you focused on the customer.

When it comes down to it, it’s important to understand Sitecore in and of itself isn’t a magic bullet. You need people and processes at the ready to make the most of what Sitecore has to offer, with a strong strategy to guide them. Ensuring you get the most value out of Sitecore starts with investing some time, some money, and some work. If you’d like a partner to help guide you through the Sitecore adventure and get more out of your investment, we at GeekHive have Sitecore experts and consultants who would be happy to help. 

Get the Most Out of Sitecore

Contact our team of Sitecore-certified experts to discuss how to get the most out of your investments.