Thursday, 2 October 2014

Sitecore Trendspot ANZ 2014

This week I had the opportunity to attend both the Sitecore Partner Summit and Trendspot down here in Sydney. Off the back of attending I thought I would share my top three take outs from the two events.

3. The Experience Database is the Future of Sitecore
More then anything else, the experience database is the key to success to Sitecore in the future and Sitecore is investing heavily in this area going forward.

If you haven't heard about it, it has been built as an efficient big data store for all of you data about people. I know that sounds like it is starting to take on the role of a CRM and it does feel like that when they present what it can do, but Sitecore has repeatedly said that it is not a CRM replacement, but it can certainly pull and push data into a CRM system.

The xDB, as its referred to, is tightly integrated into all parts of Sitecore, as you would expect, but has also opened up the ability to integrate data from a tonne of other sources. This is the major difference to the DMS that we have today.

2. The Device Ecosystem is Alive
At the moment I am feeling all inspired by the use of non-traditional digital channels by the partners and Sitecore themselves at the conference. 

There has been a lot of buzz for a while now around digital breaking out of the browser and the phone and starting to integrate with things like i-beacons, digital signage, second screen, etc. But to be honest it has all felt out of reach of the average project. This conference has shown that the technology has matured and it is now much easier to integrate these tools into you marketing plan, as well as into Sitecore. 

It has also shown what can be done when you start integrating all these things into Sitecore, leveraging some of the cool kit they have developed. With the new scale that's available  imagine the forms of communication you can have with your consumers if you connect  to one person via
  • in-store wi-fi 
  • iBeacons
  • web
  • print
  • TV/streaming
  • paid advertising
On top of that imagine if you can do it real time. This is what Sitecore is promising us and what some of the demonstrations have shown us.

1. Sitecore is not a CMS
The biggest take out for me from the conferences is that Sitecore is no longer just a CMS. With the work Sitecore is doing around experience marketing it is dramatically exceeding the boundaries of what we consider a CMS. I can see scenarios in the future where:

  • Sitecore is used to personalise and track sites that are built on other CMS's. Think legacy sites
  • Sitecore is used for email distribution
  • Sitecore is used as a pure marketing tool for tracking campaign success and consumer engagement across all platforms
Obviously all of these scenario's can be augmented by the CMS component of Sitecore, but in the future I see the CMS component of Sitecore be exactly that, a component in a bigger ecosystem of functionality that the platform provides.

The thing that surprised me most about what I have taken out of this conference, keeping in mind I'm a tech guy not a marketing guy, is that my take away's have all been around what can we do for people. There was certainly a lot of good tech presentations there, but I already have confidence in the platform from a tech point of view. The way the technology is evolving is allowing us to chase down those interesting cross platform project, which to be honest is quite exciting.