#SitecoreSym is about 30 days away and counting. With the days starting to peel away it’s time to start exploring the intense and jam packed agenda.
If this is your first #SitecoreSym, looking at the agenda can be a little overwhelming. Over the course of the next few weeks I plan to present some hand picked recommendations for different groups of people.
I have chosen sessions based on title, session description and to some extend what I might know about the speaker (having heard them before, read their work, etc…)
As a new enthusiast to Sitecore, I’m guessing you’ve recently launched a site or maybe just beginning a Sitecore journey.
In this guide I have tried to selected sessions that I feel provide good background and basic to intermediate knowledge. You’ll come away feeling smarter but not necessarily overwhelmed.
If you haven’t made the jump to registering, there is still time left and to help you out follow this link for a $100 discount.
Important note is that the schedule may shift between my time of writing and when you arrive in Orlando, so be flexible and enjoy the magic of #SitecoreSym.
Day 1 – Monday, October 8th
A great time to lounge by one of the excellent pools and enjoy some friendly Sitecore
horror adventure stories with the person lounging next to you. (And the extra tan will look nice as you head to the Welcome reception.)
An early bedtime is recommended as the next morning is when things start to rise.
Day 2 – Tuesday, October 9th
07:00 AM to 08:00 AM – Breakfast (is not just for champions)
Nice time to make new friends or meet up with old, over pastry and hopefully bacon (lots of bacon.)
08:00 AM to 9:45 AM
General Audience Keynotes. Sit back, relax and prepare to see your Sitecore world Elevated.
10:00 AM to 10:45 AM
The best advice I can provide is the Development Keynote has always been one of the most successful session in my opinion.
If you’re a later riser, your day must start for this session. The developer keynote is not to be missed. It will set the tone for the rest of the week for you regarding the new and upcoming that your team can be excited for.
You’ll end up seeing just enough awesome to really feel the wow of the platform.
11:45 AM to 12:30 PM
Sitecore 9.1 overview
Senior Director, Product Management
Senior Director, Product Management
In this session, we’ll highlight all the new features being shipped in 9.1.
WHY: If your organization is just getting started on Sitecore or have an upgrade soon, this session should be the quickest and -laziest- easiest way to get the knowledge you need on Sitecore 9.1.
Empowering your users: Maximizing the content management experience
Learn how to maximize the content management experience for your users, ranging from basic features like tooltips and thumbnails to more advanced concepts, such as separating editing interfaces for your site frame and creating entire sections of content in one click by customizing branch templates.
WHY: Maybe you know that getting to the latest and greatest will be a futile fight with management, then this session should provide insight in ways to improve on how you implement the next feature request from the content team.
12:45 PM to 01:30 PM
The Sitecore headless revolution
Headless has been the latest buzzword in the industry. While Sitecore was born headless and has been doing it for years, we have revolutionized our headless capabilities. We are now offering a whole suite of headless options that can leverage the full power of the Sitecore Experience Cloud and fit any use case today and in the future. Join this session to explore all the options that we offer today.
WHY: Just as the description states, ‘headless’ is a buzzword your marketing team has most likely picked-up and started to ponder. This should be a good session to start helping you form your responses to them.
01:30 PM to 02:45 PM – Lunch
Will there be bacon?
02:45 PM to 03:30 PM
Measure, if you want to go faster
Internet-scale load can be a scary thing. When your shiny new site goes from load testing to real-world assault from the Internet, are you confident that your code will perform well? Fear not! Join MVP and battle-hardened developer Jeremy Davis and learn from his experiences building sites that can survive the load spikes caused by peak-time TV advertising. You’ll learn about common developer tools that will help you easily spot and correct problems in your code as well as best practices you can use to make sure your launch is a party and not a crisis.
WHY: Once the color and font are correct, the next request always seems to be about how slow things are. This should prove to be a thought provoker full of good ideas to set you on the right path.
04:15 PM to 05:00 PM
EXM Live! The magic of email automation
Sitecore XP’s introduction of Email Experience Manager (EXM) in Sitecore 9 brings together the power of Marketing Automation and connected experiences to the email inbox. Experience a live, interactive demonstration of email automation using EXM powered by Sitecore’s Marketing Automation in a fast-paced, audience-driven exercise. Explore the history of EXM and how to scale out its capabilities to send millions of emails.
WHY: EXM can be a huge game changer for an organization when it is rolled out correctly, but like all things it has its hidden tricks. I expect this to be an excellent on the fly learning of how to make the most of EXM.
Take your Sitecore project to the next level With Nodejs
WHY: This should be an insightful session on new opportunities to tune how your code is written and deployed.
05:15 PM to 06:00 PM – Closing Keynote
06:00 PM to 07:30 PM – Happy Hour!!!
Day 3 – Wednesdays, October 10th
07:00 AM to 08:00 AM – Breakfast
Coffee first, then bacon. Coffee first, then bacon…
08:00 AM to 08:45 AM
The Sitecore developer story
This is the story of a Unicorn and a Hedgehog who, after journeying by Ship out of their natural Habitat, formed a Helix-shaped Synthesis of Glass and Rocks, then Exchanged a Stack of it with a Courier to share with the Community. Have you heard this one before? If so, you might be a Sitecore developer. Your experience is shaped by the tools, recommended practices, APIs, communication channels, and events created by Sitecore and the community. In this session we will navigate a choose-your-own-adventure story of a Sitecore project together, find out where it can go wrong, and see what the future holds for you, our protagonist, the Sitecore developer.
WHY: There’s enough Sitecore buzzwords in the description to make anyone hesitate walking into the session, but that just demonstrates how well in tune the speakers are to the life a Sitecore developer. Attend this session to inspire and start to do great things with Sitecore.
Why Aren’t You Using Sitecore Analytics?
Sitecore Analytics are one of the most powerful tools in the Sitecore platform, but as discussed at last year’s symposium there are many customers who are not taking advantage of the power of analytics. This session will focus on how customers are taking full advantage of Sitecore analytics and the creative ways they are combining the power of Sitecore analytics with Google analytics. We will share customer stories from the healthcare, manufacturing, and retail sectors providing example dashboards, recommended B.I. layer technology such as Power BI, Tableau, and others to create custom dashboards. This session will also include proprietary research and insights on how customers are using Sitecore analytics to create custom dashboards.
WHY: After a roll-out of Sitecore, it can be strange for the team to see the site owners not taking advantage of analytics. Sitting in this session should provide you some ammunition to convince the site owners that there is more (and better) things to this system than just content entry.
09:00 AM to 09:45 AM
Guest Keynote….who will it be?
10:00 AM to 10:45 AM
WHY: Scratch that developer itch for the new and shiny by learning the ins-and-outs of JSS. Even if you don’t specialize in JS or CSS, this should prove to be a fun intro into JSS.
Integrated DevOps with Azure, Git, PowerShell & Slack
Get full control over your implementation quality while maintaining an insane density of deployments and improving the user experience. In this session, you’ll learn how to optimize your continuous-development setup to maximize the fun for and efficiency of your development team. We’ll explore hands-off deployments with zero-seconds production downtime and how you can update your team and stakeholders automatically with what has changed and present them with the automated regression test results along with some obligatory code quality reports. Oh, and we even automated content promotion and rollback for developers!
WHY: Maybe your noticing a trend in my recommendations, but the number of organizations I’ve worked that struggle with successful devops is a lot higher than one might expect. Thus, any extra details to point you and your team in a direction is worth it.
10:45 AM to 11:45 AM – Break
Time to discuss new opportunities over coffee in the Partner Pavilion. (Or catch a quick swim…hmmm…decisions are hard.)
11:45 AM to 12:30 PM
Personalizing the customer lifecycle with Marketing Automation and EXM
Modern marketing is increasingly focused on the consumer and their personalized experiences. This is done by delivering timely and engaging content, with campaigns built around the customer lifecycle. In this session, we will explore key lifecycle marketing business themes and best practices, with practical guidance on using email and automation campaigns, all within the context of real-world scenarios such as commerce. We will also showcase the ease of use, flexibility, and versatility of the EXM and Marketing Automation products, along with new features to inspire marketers’ own campaign strategies.
WHY: The infamous phase 2, always seems to be a struggle to achieve for organizations before the implementation partner leaves. Through this session I think you will be armed with an understanding of the technical needs to help get EXM and Marketing Automation ready for the team to take advantage of.
Sustainable Sitecore personalization: Don’t build your castle on a sinkhole
For personalization and targeting, Sitecore is by far the most integrated and well-designed platform on the planet, yet many organizations struggle not only to get a personalization practice going, but also to sustain it. Luckily, there are great opportunities to build a sustainable personalization practice, but you must be willing to learn from others and ground your expectations. In this session, John Berndt provides analysis of the expectations, technology, operations, staffing, content, and testing layers that need to be aligned, and methodologies that set organizations up for sustainable success. Discussion will also cover typical pitfalls, and how to make the best of this new set of challenges.
WHY: This session will step you away from the technical into understanding how you can help get the business side of the organization ready and thinking in the right direction to take advantage of personalization. By understanding how personalization is planned, should also help direct future site enhancements to properly support the personalization model your team is using.
12:30 PM to 02:00 PM – Lunch
Can I have a side of coffee with that?
02:00 PM to 02:45 PM
Scaling Sitecore 9.0 for the Superbowl
This session targets business decision makers. We will cover a multi-region, highly available, auto-scaling Sitecore 9.0 architecture. We’ll dig deep into design, implementation, and considerations that go into a large-scale Sitecore 9.0 infrastructure. We’ll also explore how to handle patching and deployments with zero downtime and how to scale Sitecore to meet the needs of Lexus.com on Azure PaaS.
WHY: Big sites need to work hard to keep up with the elevated experience customers have come to expect. Even if your site isn’t as huge as Lexus knowing how to keep it running at maximum will keep the beeper quiet over the holiday weekend.
Beyond the SXA toolbox
Learn what the Sitecore Experience Accelerator offers besides the toolbox and see for yourself why SXA is the way forward for 99% of the sites that you nowadays build on top of Sitecore. We will show you what SXA offers, how you can leverage and customize it, and all the latest improvements we have made.
WHY: SXA is an interesting module that when used properly can provide some quick and easy wins during site builds leading to long term flexibility of content and design. What I have found is understanding the shift in mindset required by SXA, which should be explained and demonstrated in this session for a successful launch.
03:00 PM to 03:45 PM
JSS in powerful ways
Excited by the idea of headless but not sure where to get started? In this session, we will discuss the basics of what headless CMS is, when to use headless architecture, and how JSS is different from other headless solutions. Then we’ll build a JSS app from scratch, deploy it to Sitecore, and edit it. For dessert, Team X will give a demonstration of JSS in powerful ways.
WHY: Another trend in the selections this year are the interesting demonstrations of JSS (or the headless CMS.) Understanding how you can take advantage of building one-off business sites quickly for your organization while still having Sitecore bracing it can be a powerful win for an organization.
Marketer’s Guide to a Sitecore Upgrade
Migrating multilingual websites to a new version of Sitecore at a large enterprise is no small feat. From building the business case to user acceptance testing and training, there are many moving parts. Hear from a fellow Sitecore customer who’s just been through an upgrade and learn tips and tricks for navigating the process.
WHY: Upgrades can be an ugly time, requiring testing and potential stop of current activities on a site. Hearing how a large enterprise can successfully make this happen will provide you confidence in your own upgrade planning.
03:45 PM to 04:45 PM – Break
Seems like a good time to see what free stuff can be found in the Partner Pavilion.
04:45 PM to 05:30 PM
06:30 PM to 11:30 PM
Party like a Potter
Leave your Muggle worries behind and join Sitecore for the most magical bash of the year!
Day 4 – Thursday, October 11th
07:30 AM to 08:30 AM – Breakfast
Can the lights be turned down a little? Just coffee this morning, please.
08:30 AM to 09:15 AM
09:30 AM to 10:15 AM
Sitecore Install Framework (SIF) demystified
Sitecore Install Framework (SIF) is the new method for installing Sitecore with v9. With SIF comes a myriad of new PowerShell cmdlets, required parameters, and deployment options to understand. We will explain how to get started with SIF, how to extend it to make it work for you, what’s new in the latest version, and what the long-term roadmap plans are.
WHY: Anyone developing or will be developing Sitecore need to have a good grasp of SIF. At first glance even, I felt a little overwhelmed by SIF (this is coming from a guy who wrote SharePoint deployments via PowerShell.) I look to this session to point us in the right learning direction and understand where SIF is headed in the future.
10:30 AM to 11:15 AM
Learning to SPEAK. Impress your customers and colleagues by taking Sitecore customization to the next level
Getting started with Sitecore can be overwhelming. If you are a developer who is just starting with Sitecore and would like to impress your customers and colleagues by building an application within Sitecore that looks like all other Sitecore applications, this session is for you. We’ll show how to create a SPEAK 3 application from start to finish.
WHY: We’ve all been in the situation that a request comes in for something a little non-standard but critical to the business. In the past trying to fulfil this within the context of Sitecore was a bit tricky, but the session should prove that this is no longer the case.
11:30 AM to 12:30 PM
UPDATED 9/17/2018 – Removed expired discount links.