Sitecore Symposium 2022 at Chicago’s McCormick Center was an awesome display of vision-product-marketing-sales-experience alignment for the software company as it showcased 3 days of product launches, customer success stories, insider breakout sessions, and visionary partnerships. Sitecore touts a clear vision for the future of the company and for the digital experience platform industry. They continue to make what appear to be large investments into their product portfolio and partnership program, creating an ecosystem that enables some of the world’s biggest, most-notable brands to deliver best-in-class digital experiences to end users.
After taking it all in, it’s pretty clear that Sitecore isn’t going anywhere. They are focused on continually improving the developer and business/marketer user experiences within their platforms. They are focused on delivering the tools needed to support the constant increase of global content and commerce demands for some of the world’s most iconic brands. And they are focused on delivering value to the enterprise by playing well with others, whether by just 1 of their licensable products or their entire portfolio. Here are 7 key takeaways from the Symposium for those who couldn’t make it:
1. Composability of everything
No longer must you be a Sitecore CMS client looking at a large bundle offering to be able to enjoy the rest of Sitecore’s product offerings. Sitecore has moved to a fully composable stack of licensable products that can plug and play with any enterprise tech stack. They claim, “the future is composable”, and the future seems to be now. All Sitecore’s products, whether for content, commerce, or experience management are now in the cloud and API first. This Lego-block composability can enable your stack to enjoy the best-in-breed offerings from Sitecore alongside other best-in-breed platforms to maximize value realization.
2. Sitecore Commerce positioned to compete
We were surprised to see the improvements made to Sitecore Commerce. There seems to be a lot of buzz about how awesome their new Commerce platform is compared to years past. We heard lots of chatter that went something like, “I wish I had these tools for eCommerce back when I was a hands-on developer!”. This isn’t a new commerce platform, however. Sitecore Commerce is the new name given to its Four51 acquisition. Four51 was already a strong player in the enterprise commerce space with a seemingly happy installed client base. Sitecore expects to expand its client list in this space given the relatively simplified implementation and store building tools now available. The best part here is that, keeping in theme with their new composability mantra, you don’t need to be a Sitecore CMS licensee to enjoy an ecommerce experience that looks poised to realistically compete with the likes of Magento and Oracle.
3. Sitecore Discover now available for site content search
This is a new content search product from Sitecore that WAS only available if you were a Sitecore Commerce licensee. Symposium marked the official release of Discover as a composable API product that any site, in any platform, can utilize. Discover was folded into the Sitecore ecosystem through their acquisition of Reflection, and after additional investment, looks to be a serious contender to improve your site’s generic “search” feature for those users searching your site for specific known content. We think this is worth a demo.
4. Take a serious look at migrating XM/XP to XM Cloud
If you are an existing Sitecore CMS client (Sitecore XM or XP 8.x, 9.x, or 10.x), you may want to take a real serious look at finally conceding to this new cloud offering. Sitecore has made a big push over the past 2 years to migrate their perpetual licensees to a subscription model. At Symposium, they announced a new SaaS subscription that they are calling XM Cloud. It’s not quite all the bells and whistles of XP but, as a SaaS cloud product, it should lower your total cost of ownership of their core CMS. This is mostly driven by less general platform maintenance, reduced backend code requirements, and automated upgrades eliminating upgrade project costs. We highly recommend a conversation with your Sitecore account representative to get more specifics related to your licensing.
5. Speed of publishing content should be the major value considerations when modernizing your stack
A consistent theme presented at Symposium, from the keynote presentations to the classroom breakout sessions was about value realization. All enterprise-level digital platforms come with price tags, implementation costs, and months-long timelines, so taking on these efforts need to produce value to the organization. This obviously will be measured differently across organizations and depending on your industry and job function, but one key value metric stood out. Speed to publishing. Today’s digital users have an unquenchable thirst for content. We can’t get enough of it and it’s unlikely to slow down. So, as you compete in your industry and consider modernizing your tech stack to improve on things like costs, load speeds, security, user experiences, employee experiences, redundancies, etc. you should also make sure to consider the speed with which your current stack is able to produce content, build new pages, and personalize experiences.
6. 1% of your revenue should be dedicated to content production
Sitecore introduced a statistic at Symposium (we think provided by Accenture) that claimed 1% of your annual revenue should be dedicated to content. This might not sound like much but running some quick napkin math starts to paint a different picture. If you’re a $100 million/year business, that’s $1 million content budget. Pretty healthy! If you’re not dedicating 1% of your annual revenue, you should be asking yourself whether or not you’re keeping up with the content demands of your market, your audience, and your competition? If not, you could be losing the conversation to your competitors. Content is a broad spectrum of information presentation from one party to another (videos, illustrations, whitepapers, blog articles, memes, emails, the list goes on), so it’s important to include content strategy in this 1% budget to ensure that the content that is produced has a solid foundation to build upon and aligns appropriately to the brand and business. Content is still king so make sure you’re got the right team focused on yours and budget appropriately.
7. Users’ personalization expectations are increasing
People like personalized and relevant content and experiences when interacting with a brand. More and more of our favorite brands continue to invest in creating personalized experience for current and potential customers. As people experience more personalization, they begin to expect it and notice when content and experiences are not personalized. This is expected to continue to grow. If you’ve been holding back on investing in personalization, it might be time to start. Take baby steps, get the fundamentals right, find quick wins, and invest in strategy first so you can meet these changing expectations correctly. Just because you can personalize something doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Be wary of crossing the line between empathy and creepy.
Sitecore put on a great show and is certainly a powerhouse in enterprise digital experience platforms. They’ve invested heavily in developing the platforms and tools needed to help the world’s best brands “Meet every moment” along their content, commerce, and experience journeys to win in today’s marketplace.
If you’re not a Sitecore client, it’s worth taking a serious look at their composable portfolio. But remember that technology by itself does not solve all your problems. You will need sound strategies and partners to realize the value that these dynamic platforms offer. Need help? As a Sitecore certified partner, Liquid’s team of strategists and technologists can help evaluate platforms, implement new systems, optimize existing implementations, and maximize your technology investments. Learn more here.