11 Takeaways from Sitecore Experience 2019, London
In true Sitecore style the event started with thumping music and an introduction from CEO, Mark Frost to his new Chief Marketing Officer, Paige O'Neill. Paige joined Sitecore in July 2018 and brings over 20 years’ experience in senior marketing roles in enterprise software, customer experience, and cloud computing - the event itself is aimed at providing customers with the digital wisdom required to deliver smarter marketing with demonstrations of how the Sitecore platform can help you create engaging, high-converting digital experiences.
Paige was then joined by Daniel Fulbrook from Carter Jonas who was there to talk about the award-winning personalisation program we conducted which ensured their property site successfully meets the needs of their four very different audiences. You can read more about this in our case study.
This was followed by a brilliant keynote talk on Artificial Intelligence (AI) from Jeremy White, the Executive Editor at Wired, who showcased the rise of AI with some great examples of successful implementations. These included a fully automated hedge fund investment platform by Hong Kong-based Aidyia and an innovative customised image creation site by Philip Wang, a software engineer at Uber. You can see this site in action for yourself by visiting ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com and you can also read more about this project here.
In the next talk, DAM (Digital Asset Management) specialist Theresa Regli then explained the importance of creating a content hub to feed your personalisation campaigns - at the same time providing the rationale behind Sitecore’s recent acquisition of Stylelabs in November 2018.
Theresa went on to explain how DAM systems have progressed a lot in recent years with the introduction of AI-based recognition tools such as Microsoft Cognitive Services. These intuitive services can learn what an image is of and automatically apply tags to it, therefore reducing admin efforts and costs.
Across the remainder of the day, we saw a range of specialist talks on personalisation, commerce and content from an array of top speakers.
So for those of you who weren’t lucky enough to attend, we’ve listed our top 11 takeaways from the event’s speakers and their presentations below:
1. A new role has emerged in the C-suite for the CDO (Chief Digital Officer)
With overarching responsibility for the execution of digital technology and marketing across the organisation, CDOs are responsible for delivering digital transformation and are future CEOs in the making.
2. To get the most of your DXP you should start from the back and work forward
Data and content assets are what powers your experience platform, so it’s important to set these up in advance as they underpin your communication activity. Therefore you need to establish a 360 view of your customer and connect up your CRM/data warehouse upfront. Likewise, you need all your content and media assets readily available and fully tagged up, ideally in a DAM/content hub and ready to be served dynamically as part of your personalisation campaigns.
3. Personalisation based on sentiment is the future of CX
Don’t ignore sentiment. Creating an emotion is far more important than tracking some data about your customers and surfacing ‘cold’ personalisation. For example, innovative outdoor advertising firm Bidooh, are harnessing machine learning to help their customers deliver realtime personalisation.
4. Sitecore Commerce is all about the “Minions”
As defined by Sitecore Commerce Solution Architect Ian Webster, a ‘Minion’ is ‘an asynchronous task that runs on a periodic basis to handle certain business functions without user interaction.’ Built up following a microservices architecture, the Sitecore XC Commerce Engine leverages the use of Minions to perform specific tasks in a process, e.g. sending an order to the ERP or updating the status of an order.
The diagram below shows how Minions can be used during the order process:
You can learn more about Minions in the Sitecore 9 Developer Documentation.
5. AI Works - it’s proven!
According to the results of a Gartner study of 300 companies delivering AI projects, virtually all of them delivered value.
So ensure AI is in your strategy now as those who don’t will soon fall behind the competition. It is the future of customer experience.
Mike Lowndes, Senior Director and Analyst at Gartner shares his wisdom at Sitecore Experience 2019
6. Most Sitecore users are missing out on the benefits of personalisation
Use this simple maturity model to see where you sit on the personalisation scale.
7. eCommerce has only just got started
If you think you’ve missed the boat, then think again, the ecommerce industry globally is still in its infancy and is apparently about to explode.
8. Commerce will be anywhere and any way the customer wants it
Thinking beyond your online store, users want commerce in context. Booodl aim to take away the pain of shopping by providing your own personal shopping assistant.
9. Experience is 'King'
Today’s customers are more demanding than ever before. Amazon has created a new service standard and only those that truly delight and think out of the box will thrive in tomorrow’s world.
10. Commerce is losing its head
A ‘headless DXP’ integrated with a Commerce engine and other specialist services via their APIs can provide the most flexible, futureproofed solution for building any kind of frontend commerce experience - all without tying you longterm to any one vendor.
11. Only 3 platforms offer DXP and Commerce as a single solution and Sitecore is leading the way
Only Sitecore, EPiServer and Kentico have a digital experience platform that is fully integrated with a Commerce engine that allows for personalisation rules based on aspects such as what items the user has in their basket, and marketing automation based on previous order history.
Gartner position Sitecore as the leader of the pack:
If you’d like to know more about our key takeaways, or you’d like to speak to one of our Sitecore specialists, then don’t hesitate to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org