The Annual Sitecore Symposium event is one of the premier digital marketing conferences each year and is a place for experts across industries and locations to come together to connect, educate, and inspire. As a Competency Lead at Fusion Alliance, I was fortunate to present a breakout session with Fusion Alliance client M/I Homes at the 2018 event (more on that below).

In 2018, 3,000 Symposium attendees were wowed from the start when Sitecore CEO Mark Frost revealed that:

  • Sitecore JavaScript Services is now generally available with the release of Sitecore 9.1 – this will allow for Sitecore to fully support a CMS headless architecture.

  • Sitecore Cortex is now generally available with the release of Sitecore 9.1 – Sitecore has built more functionality on the emerging machine learning technology so data in the Experience Database can be used to glean additional insights on customers.

  • Sitecore has acquired Stylelabs, creator of the Marketing Content Hub platform – how will this change Sitecore? Well, the Stylelabs platform includes digital asset management (DAM), marketing resource management (MRM) and product information management (PIM), which will propel Sitecore past just being a great CMS and into the full-lifecycle management of digital content.

Sitecore has shown once again that they will continue to raise the bar in the CMS market. But what does that mean for us? Here are some of the pivotal takeaways from the symposium:

  • Headless CMS is here to stay, but the future is still with traditional CMS combined with what has been called headless optional. Traditional is marketing focused, and headless is IT focused. Sitecore has always been about the intertwining of these two audiences, and they envision the headless optional model as the future of the market (and are fully supporting it).

  • Building off the previous point, the communication, collaboration, and joint pursuit of marketing and IT will only grow stronger as the lines between them continue to blur. My joint presentation with M/I Homes VP of Marketing Will Duderstadt was about just that – how these two different views, when combined with a common vision, can achieve astounding results. We demonstrated this with our process in rebuilding the M/I Homes website, which has led to a 20% increase in lead generation and a 30% increase in conversions for M/I Homes!

  • Sitecore is fully invested in the cloud, and continues to mature its offerings in Azure, including PaaS, machine learning, and the upcoming Sitecore Hub, which will be offered solely as SaaS (this is the reincarnation of Stylelabs marketing hub).

  • It’s time for technology professions to rethink how we address projects with Sitecore. Traditional development has been focused on vertical development, where developers take a feature and work all parts of it to completion. When working with Sitecore, and especially when onboarding developers new to the platform, a horizontal approach will lead to faster implementation and a reduction in defects. How is this possible? Much of Sitecore is traditional .NET MVC development, with Sitecore features added to the feature cycle. By focusing developers strong on Sitecore on those pieces, velocity will be increased on Sitecore projects.

There was so much more at Symposium than the highlights listed here, and I encourage anyone thinking of a CMS to choose Sitecore and attend this fantastic event each year. #FusionLeadingTheWay