Sitecore Symposium is closing in quickly and, again this year, I have the amazing opportunity to attend and represent Coveo. But with great gifts comes a great decision: not being able to attend all the breakout sessions.
Most visitors will select one or two tracks fitting their role and interest, such as my friend Chris Williams from Perficient focusing on the developer track.
However I’m sort of stuck in the middle. I am a Tech MVP so good ol’ code is still appealing. But for the last year or so, I have focused less on the Sitecore tech stack to look at the purpose of the platform, which is often better understood by our marketing and strategy colleagues. On top of all of that, let’s not forget about the partner sessions! Several partners, including Coveo, will be presenting in the Partner Theater in parallel to the breakout sessions. So this year, I will flirt with just about all of the tracks, and will therefore have a pretty full and complex agenda!
You can download the master agenda from this page or view the Strategy, Marketing, Getting Started and Developer Tracks.
Tuesday, October 17
This year will be all about commerce. I saw a large amount of webinars on Sitecore commerce, and since I personally had my hands in it and the Coveo solution for ecommerce, I want to hear what commerce server expert Brian Holmgård Kristensen has to say about it:
Hands-on with Sitecore Commerce: What I’ve learned …real-world experiences in developing on Sitecore Commerce | Brian Holmgård Kristensen, Vertica A/S
Still, I might be tempted by Microsoft’s presentation on new stuff in Azure, or XCentium’s Getting Started session on search. Because you know, search is what I do.
You can never get too much data, especially in the new commerce environment. The magic of Symposium brought together an impressive list of MVPs and senior developers to talk about handling data gracefully:
Dazzling data: How to impress with dashboards …how to improve your dashboard skills | Jason Wilkerson, RBA | Tim Ahlenius, Americaneagle.com | Amir Setoudeh, XCentium
Mindtree did catch my interest with their session on B2B digital marketing strategy, which would be my second choice.
Next up: SXA! So far, I have seen a lot of the SXA demo, including one by our very own JF L’Heureux at the Quebec SUG. I must confess that I have not seen it used that much in live projects. However, a commerce scenario is the perfect place for SXA to shine. So, my take for this slot will be:
Introduction to SXA Storefront …how SXA and the new commerce storefront work together | Søren Kerrn, Sitecore | Rob Earlam, Sitecore
But if I could split myself in two, I would definitely like to see “The Personalization Boondoggle” by another impressive panel composed of Alex Shyba, Lars Birkholm, Mark Stiles, Amrit Raj and Jonathan Bobo.
Wednesday, October 18
Machine learning is the new hot topic, in and outside of Sitecore. A few days ago the Sitecore Machine Learning community was founded, and the term will just keep growing in popularity.
Coveo is also pushing Machine Learning for search relevance and insight, so it would be foolish not to go to:
Empowered analytics: take the guess work out of personas …smarter personas via machine learning | Abe Taylor, ICF Olson
But if there were more hours in a day, I would definitely attend fellow canadian, Brandon Hubbard, who is presenting connectors for Sitecore Commerce.
Now, it’s time to go back to the technical stuff with a presentation on DevOps by again another power team assembled by the magic of the Symposium:
Effective DevOps for Sitecore …how to handle change management and collaboration during development | Joseph Bissol, Comcast | Kam Figy, ConnectiveDX | Derek Hunziker, Hedgehog
If I could, I would also love to watch the reasons to love SXA by Parametric and Slalom. I said earlier that SXA looked good in demos, but I have yet to see its real world application. Well, these guys will bring an interesting marketing view to it.
For this time slot, I am actually unsure where to go between two sessions which sound extremely similar:
Personalization is the new bacon: 8 steps to cooking up the right personalization strategy …how to get started with personalization | Lori Kirkland & Jason Grochowski, Quisitive
Getting Started: Personalization …how to deliver personalized experiences to the masses | Ed Kapuscinski, NTT Data
You might have guessed that personalization is the keyword that caught my interest. Personalization is one of the biggest challenges of the modern web strategist, and the presentation from Phil Wicklund on the subject was one of my favorite sessions of the 2017 SUGCON. It actually inspired me to present at the Sitecore Virtual Summit on how to extend personalization to search. Now for which of the two sessions to choose, I might play it Vegas style and roll the dice.
Now for this slot, I am definitely biased since Mark Floisand, CMO of Coveo, will be presenting, along with Tom Dudfield, director of development at Redweb. However, it promises to be an exciting session, since it will cover machine learning, personalization, search and commerce, a.k.a.everything you want for your Sitecore project bundled into one session:
Increasing conversions and revenue in ecommerce with machine learning …how to re-create the personalized store experience online | Mark Floisand, Coveo
And I have to give an honorable mention to another canadian team, TechGuilds, who will be showing you the future with their VR integration in Sitecore.
Thursday, October 18
Almost there! If my brain can still compute after two days of non-stop sessions, then I will once again fall under the charm of machine learning:
XPF, Machine Learning, and Wizardry …integrated Machine Learning algorithms with xDB | Todd Mitchell & Niels Kühnel, Sitecore
But I have to give a shout-out to BrainJocks for their page testing in Sitecore, which is one of the only presentations on the subject, which I would have loved to attend. And these guys have created the Score framework so they know how to do clean UI work.
Finally, the mad genius duo of Bas Lijten and Rob Habraken created one of the funkiest presentations of the 2017 SUGCON. Don’t miss this one:
A futuristic showcase of the omni-channel capabilities of Sitecore XP …where personalization and profiling meet ML, AI and next gen tech awesome! | Rob Habraken, Colours | Bas Lijten, Achmea
And that’s it! Let me know on Twitter what you are planning to see and don’t forget to pass by the Coveo booth (#301) at the Symposium to come and say hello!