Learning Commerce at #SitecoreSym 2018

Only a couple of weeks to go, until #SitecoreSym kicks off in Orlando. As you make your final travel arrangements, and think through the best approach to getting the most out of your time in Orlando. I wanted to provide one more handpicked session guide. This final guide is focused Sitecore Experience Commerce users or soon to be users.

I looked at the title, session description and to some extend what I might know about the speaker (having heard them before, read their work, etc…) using this information I’ve picked out these session.

Day 1 – Monday, October 8th

I’ll support you leading your team’s standup from the beach followed by a deep discussion on why Sitecore 9.1 will be a game changer.

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 in regard to 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

Seven common commerce customizations

Rob Earlam
Technical Evangelist
Sitecore

Sitecore Experience Commerce, including the Experience Accelerator Storefront, provides a whole heap of functionality out of the box, but you will still need to implement your own customizations as part of your implementation. In this session, Rob will go over seven common customizations you’ll see on most of your commerce projects, and how to implement them easily using Sitecore Experience Commerce.

WHY: Anytime you are journeying into a new frontier every little advantage can help. I see this session as the key to helping understand the best approach to tackling some of the challenges of eComm roll-out.

12:45 PM to 01:30 PM

Sitecore Managed Cloud for Commerce: Cloud expertise that delivers real business value

Adrianna Bustamante
Director, Digital Channel Sales
Rackspace
Peter Petley
Senior Solutions Architect
Rackspace

Running a global ecommerce business can be complex as online merchants face challenges such as delivering an optimized and scalable customer experience while also having to meet critical security and compliance requirements in a diverse and growing marketplace. In this session, we will take a closer look at how to best architect and manage a Sitecore Experience Commerce solution for global B2C and B2B online merchants and how to overcome key obstacles many online merchants face including architecture and scaling, security and compliance, and migrations and upgrades.

WHY: Deploying to the cloud sounds nice, but all ways seem to contain some unexpected twist. With this session coming from Rackspace, I expect to get some nice insight into how the deployment of Sitecore and specifically the eCommerce services can best deploy for you.

OR

“Leading the way: Supercharged Sitecore lead generation

Will Duderstadt
Marketing and Development Manager of Web Platforms
M/I Homes
Russell Cummings
Competency Lead
Fusion Alliance

We all know that Sitecore has powerful tools to drive your sales and marketing to higher thresholds. However, the jump from switching your website to Sitecore to generating instant results and proven ROI can be difficult to map. This session features perspectives from a Sitecore client and a Sitecore partner engaging in a website transformation to Sitecore. The vision of M/I Homes marketing has always been a h4 focus on generating leads. Join us as we discuss the project and the end result, which is a set of highly configurable conversion forms, built specific to the client’s needs which has led to a nearly 20% increase in lead generation.

WHY: Even though this might not be directly commerce server related, it should provide some interesting real-world examples to building successful lead generation campaigns, which we can agree are critical for driving new business.

01:30 PM to 02:45 PM – Lunch

Will there be bacon?

02:45 PM to 03:30 PM

Your commerce business on one dashboard: Using Sitecore Experience Commerce with Power BI and xConnect to create self-service business intelligence

Benjamin Adamski
Group Manager
Avanade
Boris Brodsky
Group Manager, Software Engineering
Avanade

In order to optimize your commerce business, marketers and executives need to have a holistic view of transactions, conversions, and interactions both online and off-line. With Sitecore Experience Analytics data available via xConnect coupled with the Sitecore Experience Commerce data the possibilities for visualization are endless. With Power BI you can quickly merge multiple data sources to provide this view in an easy to use dashboard which can be utilized by all enterprise functions. This all-encompassing view of the enterprise enables every stakeholder to drive the digital destiny forward with data-based decision making through visualization.

WHY: Self-service BI has always been a fascinating topic, and as the data sets grow and become more important to the decisions being made it becomes ever critical to understand and roll-out. I foresee learning some key facts in this session to the type of data that Sitecore makes easy as well as tricky to access and some excellent ideas to get at both data sets.

04:15 PM to 05:00 PM

A digital transformation story inspired by customers and powered by Sitecore and Salesforce

Christopher Nash
Director DX Strategy
Implicit
Ólafur Ómarsson
Director of Global Web Development
Össur

As a leading global provider of non-invasive mobility solutions, Össur literally empowers its customers to live better lives. In 2018, Össur embarked on a digital transformation journey and deployed a technology stack using Sitecore Experience Platform 9, Sitecore Experience Commerce 9, and Salesforce. In this session, we’ll tell you how we built the solution and share context marketing best practices. We’ll also provide examples of how XP9 and SXP are used to generate leads and engagement among B2C and B2B segments.

WHY: It’s always fun to see how real organizations have successfully leveraged Sitecore, especially in the realm of commerce. Stop into this session to see how the competition are running.

OR

Expand the reach of your Sitecore content with a voice-activated assistants

Benjamin Adamski
Group Manager
Avanade
Jeroen de Groot
Group Manager, Software Engineering
Avanade

Why not extend the value of your Sitecore content via an Amazon Alexa? Using the Sitecore items already in your content tree you can help customers answer questions such as “What are the hours for the Chicago store today?” and many more. In the world of APIs and artificial intelligence, it is now possible to easily tie Sitecore APIs and Alexa skills together to answer these questions. This session will cover how to easily create RSS and JSON feeds of dynamic content so that your customers can “ask” for information using voice-activated assistants.

WHY: It feels like these guys stole my idea, it should be a fun session to see how you can expand the content you currently have in the site to make a unique experience for your customers.

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

Sitecore commerce in action: Improved customer experience for Jonastone, a German retailer

Simon Schramm
CMS Division Manager
OSF Global Services

This session exemplifies the possibilities of Sitecore commerce in terms of storefront capabilities and personalizing customer experiences. Deep insights will be provided into architectural details, personalization and marketing automation strategies. The session is using jonastone.de as use case (launch date: August 2018), a German retailer specialized in selling floor tiles and terrace plates.

WHY: A great way to kick-off the day is listening to a success story of making Sitecore Ecommerce run. After this session I would expect a certain level of excitement to begin turning as you plan for the future.

OR

Let the machines do it! Using semantic technology and AI to create “smart content” and deliver personalized experiences

Christina Deno
Web Developer
The Wyanoke Group
Linda Baker
CTO
The Wyanoke Group

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are high-tech buzzwords these days, but the Wyanoke Group started exploring these technologies for very utilitarian purposes. With 200K+ pieces of content in Sitecore, it was a daunting task to expect humans to properly, consistently, and uniformly associate accurate metadata. However, recognition that proper attribution of content metadata would allow for faster and more informed business decisions drove us to find a programmatic solution that would improve in-house content knowledge discovery and more ideas for personalization!

WHY: Taxonomy is big deal on sites of all sizes. This example should be helpful in understanding ways to turn massive product catalogs into a manageable collection of items.

09:00 AM to 09:45 AM

Guest Keynote….who will it be?

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM

How to create customer loyalty programs using Sitecore Experience Commerce and Email Experience Manager

Kamruz Jaman
Senior Sitecore Architect
Konabos Consulting
Akshay Sura
Lead Platform Architect
FocusBrands

Using Sitecore Experience Commerce (XC) and Sitecore Experience Manager (EXM), we’ve created a modern loyalty program for our restaurant brands that has helped to reduce churn, increase retention rates, and drive category sales online through marketing campaigns and marketing automation. In this session, we will show you how we implemented the solution and how our clients, including FocusBrands, (and their customers) have reaped the benefits of loyalty programs.

WHY: Loyalty is easy to say, but building a fluid experience to make it happen is trickery. Understanding how to use the tools within Sitecore to succeed should leave you even more loyal to Sitecore.

OR

Extending Sitecore Experience Commerce with plugins

Kelly Brennan
Solution Architect
EPAM

In this session, we’ll walk through creating plugins to extend Sitecore Experience Commerce. Whether it’s adding wish list functionality or integrating with an ERP you’ll walk away knowing how, where, and why.

WHY: Every implementation involves some level of third-party integration and within commerce this is no different. Hearing how someone else has fought through these struggles should be a great quiver for your next challenge.

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

Omnichannel retail: personal and contextual experiences!

Ishraq Al Fataftah
CTO
Applez Tech

Technology trends have significantly disrupted the way commerce works. Customers expect a seamless and consistent experience across all channels of the retail process. Omnichannel retailing is providing a more powerful experience that is combining online services such as product pricing comparisons/reviews and in-store kiosks and NFC technology. In this session, we’ll explore Sitecore Experience Commerce as an enterprise solution that delivers an integrated, omnichannel personalized experience throughout the customer lifecycle. By leveraging online and offline channels across a single commerce platform, Sitecore is providing the right tools to achieve a personalized customer experience that is relevant to the individual customer and consistent across all points of interaction.

WHY: Get ready to see online mixed with offline commerce to succeed in generating a personalized experience for your customers. I find examples taking us from digital to real world and back again the best at exemplifying the possibilities Sitecore can provide.

OR

An inside look at American Bath Group’s multi-brand e-commerce redesign

Julie Caron
Director of Marketing & Brand Management
Maax Bath, American Bath Group
Yanick Bedard
VP Digital Strategy
Sid Lee

One e-commerce platform to rule them all! Learn how product design principles guided American Bath Group (ABG) toward an integrated e-commerce platform that powers its nine distinct B2B brands, including Maax Bath, and has contributed to a 50% increase in operational efficiencies.

WHY: Can your ecommerce launch succeed? This session should provide you an example to beef up your confidence and move towards success.

12:30 PM to 02:00 PM – Lunch

Can I have a side of coffee with that?

02:00 PM to 02:45 PM

Churn prediction with the Sitecore xDB and Azure Machine Learning

Klaus Petersen
Global CTO
Alpha Solutions

One business area in which machine learning has proven its value is churn prediction – detecting the loss of a high-value customer. Especially in the Telco sector, churn prediction has long been an important element. This session will show you how to predict churn using xDB data and Azure machine learning.

WHY: No one likes the sound of lost sales headed for the next website. Through this session I anticipate understanding ways to head off some of these goodbyes.

03:00 PM to 03:45 PM

Cooking up smart product recommendations: A first step in utilizing machine learning for your Sitecore Commerce shop

John Montes
Senior Sitecore Developer
XCentium
Kautilya Prasad
Sitecore Architect
XCentium

In 2012, Amazon’s fiscal quarter sales increased by $2.93 billion due to their use of smart product recommendations. It’s now 2018, and time for us to catch up. In this session, we’ll show you how to easily add smart features like product recommendations that are driven by machine learning to Sitecore Commerce shops. Using readily available tools, we will demonstrate an implementation path that is easy, cost effective, and pragmatic. Your clients will think you’re a genius!

WHY: This session should explain why I continue to add just one extra item every time I visit Amazon, and how the same can happen on yours.

OR

Driving an immersive customer experience with Sitecore Experience Commerce + IoT

Richard Seal
Principal Engineer
RBA
Jason Wilkerson
Technology Evangelist
RBA

How can you leverage Sitecore to drive a better customer experience? In this session, we’ll demonstrate how you can combine IoT, xConnect, xDB, Marketing Automation, EXM, and SXA, all tied together with Sitecore Experience Commerce, to deliver a more personalized, meaningful experience for customers at a fictional theme park called SitecoreLand! Using IoT devices to track entry and exit to and from the park as well as engagement with rides and concessions, we can provide incentives and special offers to park guests to optimize line wait times and concession traffic. With marketing automation and EXM we can upsell ‘Fast Passes’ to skip long lines or cross sell ride or park merchandise. All of this can be done with a relatively small amount of effort!

WHY: I expect this to be a fun and insightful fly-through of how the omnichannel dream can be centralized from within Sitecore providing data for decision making like never before.

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

Will Smith

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

Guest Speaker

09:30 AM to 10:15 AM

Conversational user interface with Sitecore Experience Commerce

Sumith Damodaran
Director of Engineering
TH_NK
Pramila Soni
Solution Architect
Sitecore

Commerce is changing. We will look at how voice assistants and conversational UI can be applied to Sitecore Experience Commerce 9 using its plugin-based architecture. We will demonstrate the use of Microsoft chatbots (CUI) for servicing and enhancing shopping experience as well as using Alexa voice assistant to facilitate product selec¬tion and delivery.

WHY: You’ll struggle to determine if you are still dreaming or if this is real. Watching how AI can make the commerce experience a little better will be wild.

10:30 AM to 11:15 AM

Creating a commerce feature: A technical walkthrough

Dan Solovay
Sitecore Practice Lead
Velir

Congratulations, you’re building a Sitecore Experience Commerce 9 solution. But the customer needs features that XC9 doesn’t provide. Fear not, XC9 is designed for extensibility. In this talk, Sitecore Technology MVP Dan Solovay will walk attendees through the process of building a new XC feature, including plugin creation, modifying commerce pipelines, extending the BizFx merchandiser interface, and exposing the new functionality to shoppers via new SXA components. Users attending this talk will have a clear understanding of the microservice architecture of Sitecore Commerce, and how it can be extended to drive business value and delight customers.

WHY: What better way to end the week than with a nice walk-through of how to implement all the great ideas you’ve heard all week on commerce.

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Closing Keynote

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#SitecoreSym 2018 for a Data Centric Mind

One of the unique propositions Sitecore makes is its capability to collect large amounts of data into a centralized area for reporting, and through this reporting allow you and your team to make the best decisions.

In this guide I’ve chosen sessions that are specific to either configuring Sitecore for better data collection or demonstrate new ways the collected data can be reported. The one trend I found is that the idea of ‘machine learning’ and ‘artificial intelligence’ are hot topics when it comes to making the most of your data.

I’ve picked sessions based on the limited information I can get access without spending tons of time reaching out to each speaker for more info. I looked at the title, session description and to some extend what I might know about the speaker (having heard them before, read their work, etc…).

If this guide doesn’t fit your needs check out the others.

Day 1 – Monday, October 8th

Stretch those legs with some mingling of what is sure to turn into some of your best new friends.

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

This time is reserved for you track keynotes. I can’t provide much insight on where to go for this. If you are a little more technical leaning the Development Keynote has yet to let me down.

11:45 AM to 12:30 PM

The Cortex engine: Process at scale

Alistair Deneys
Lead Developer
Sitecore

Sitecore 9.1 introduces a new scalable processing engine which powers the Cortex Machine Learning framework, and allows integration to best-of-breed ML tooling. In this session, we will run through the main architectural changes for data processing from previous versions, and how you could set up deployments to deal with scaled environments with xConnect and Sitecore Cortex.

WHY: I foresee this session being heavy on technical notes, so skip this if nuts and bolts and probably a little Visual Studio makes you nauseous. Otherwise this session could prove powerful in understanding how Sitecore is working behind the scenes to move and interpret your data.

OR

Data-driven Sitecore: Getting a unified view of the customer to drive targeted marketing experiences

Tim Ward
CEO
CluedIn

Data is everywhere – in your back-office tools, in your marketing platforms, and online. Unfortunately, many brands are not utilizing data properly, but crave to do so. Let us show you how you can elevate your content management experience by activating the power of your data, resulting in more meaningful and targeted brand experiences. In this session, we’ll show you practical examples of what you can achieve by having a proper data strategy. We will use a bank in Denmark as the use case for demonstrating what can be achieved when data from across the organization is unleashed onto Sitecore. Join us for this session and you’ll be amazed by the number of signals and knowledge that can be aggregated into the xProfile and how a sales or marketing team could visibly increase value with just a few small tricks.

WHY: Interested in data is one thing, getting all that data into working form across the organization can be a test of patience and cooperation. I am thinking this session should provide some examples and tips to making this a more possible reality for you.

12:45 PM to 01:30 PM

12 personalization tactics to supercharge your digital experiences

Lars Birkholm Petersen
Co-founder
Altola, Inc.

In this session, you will learn how to run personalization like a pro. We’ll start with easy quick wins like segmentation and then dive deep into taking full advantage of Sitecore xDB, xConnect, and Cortex to power individualization at scale. You’ll earn which tactic to use when and understand the foundation for measuring the impact of your personalization program using Sitecore Experience Analytics.

WHY: First, Lars is performing for you so it’s worth attending just for that. You’ll want to attend this session to help build your understanding of what personalization actions can result in which data sets for your analysis later on.

OR

Real-world machine learning – 30 scenarios where ML makes sense right now

Michael Greenberg
Head of Strategy
Hedgehog

ML might be the hottest topic in marketing, but few practitioners know where or how it might work for them. In this session we will explain ML in jargon-free terms and run through 30 situations where marketers can use ML.

WHY: You’ve a ton of data, but what can you do with it all as the team can only shift through so much so quickly. I look forward to this session in providing some interesting and actionable ways to take advantage of the machines in helping to provide insight into the data.

01:30 PM to 02:45 PM – Lunch

Will there be bacon?

02:45 PM to 03:30 PM

Your commerce business on one dashboard: Using Sitecore Experience Commerce with Power BI and xConnect to create self-service business intelligence

Benjamin Adamski
Group Manager
Avanade
Boris Brodsky
Group Manager, Software Engineering
Avanade

In order to optimize your commerce business, marketers and executives need to have a holistic view of transactions, conversions, and interactions both online and off-line. With Sitecore Experience Analytics data available via xConnect coupled with the Sitecore Experience Commerce data the possibilities for visualization are endless. With Power BI you can quickly merge multiple data sources to provide this view in an easy to use dashboard which can be utilized by all enterprise functions. This all-encompassing view of the enterprise enables every stakeholder to drive the digital destiny forward with data-based decision making through visualization.

WHY: Now that you’ve got the machines processing the data, it’s time to get that data to the decision makers, and there are few ways better than to make that data self-service and all you can-eat.

04:15 PM to 05:00 PM

A digital transformation story inspired by customers and powered by Sitecore and Salesforce

Christopher Nash
Director DX Strategy
Implicit
Ólafur Ómarsson
Director of Global Web Development
Össur

As a leading global provider of non-invasive mobility solutions, Össur literally empowers its customers to live better lives. In 2018, Össur embarked on a digital transformation journey and deployed a technology stack using Sitecore Experience Platform 9, Sitecore Experience Commerce 9, and Salesforce. In this session, we’ll tell you how we built the solution and share context marketing best practices. We’ll also provide examples of how XP9 and SXP are used to generate leads and engagement among B2C and B2B segments.

WHY: Most organizations have Salesforce in some capacity. I look forward to seeing they have begun tying the tools and data into a single force for success.

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

Enabling self-service business intelligence with Sitecore Experience Cloud and Power BI

Boris Brodsky
Group Manager, Software Engineering
Avanade
Benjamin Adamski
Group Manager
Avanade

Sometimes the fastest way to get an answer from your data is to ask a question using natural language, such as “What were the total sales last year? What is the top-selling product?” Use Power BI Q&A to explore Sitecore Experience Analytics data using natural language capabilities and receive answers in the form of charts and graphs. Different from a search engine, Q&A provides results about the Sitecore data in Power BI. Unlock intelligence in real time for both content and commerce. Stakeholders need information about their business performance and they need it now, data is at your fingertips. Access it using your voice or the Power BI barcode scanner. Make data-based decisions in real time about content, campaigns, promotions, and pricing.

WHY: Data’s been collected, what next? Well, the data needs to become accessible, simple as that…I like how this session will show the data accessible via PowerBI, easily making consumable for an entire team to be well informed decisions makers.

OR

The science of Cortex

Niels Kuhnel
Platform Architect
Sitecore

We believe that the real value for machine learning (ML) lies in the data in the Sitecore Experience Database, and exposing and reporting on information that can be used for analyzing valuable business trends and the discovery of new and previously not-thought-of segments. We know that within each vertical market you work in, the data will be unique to how your customers behave, but there are generic algorithms that can help you get started with ML. In this session, we will give practical examples of how Cortex works and how you can bring your own data-science practices and algorithms into Sitecore.

WHY: If you are interested in understanding some of the underpinning technologies behind Cortex, this session is for you. It is in the dev-track so be prepared to see behind the curtain, but I expect you to walk away with understanding how your data and site will (or may will not) fit into the new Cortex paradigm.

09:00 AM to 09:45 AM

Guest Keynote….who will it be?

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM

Finding value in your data: Using Sitecore’s Analytics tools to generate business impact

Mike Shaw
Digital Strategist
Hedgehog

Sitecore xDB captures a wealth of data; however, sifting through the data and making heads or tails of it can be overwhelming. Join this presentation to learn how to use all the tools of Sitecore XP to identify, hunt down, and formulate a plan of attack for opportunities within your customers. Mike will show you how he uses a combination of Experience Analytics, Path/Page Analyzer, xProfile as well as some lesser known nuggets to truly gain a 360° view of your site and your customers.

WHY: After a site has been running for a few months the amount of data collected can be overwhelming. If you are new to the world of Sitecore Analytics this session should be on your short list, just to help understand the tools available to you and what scenarios they make the most sense to use.

OR

Digital business transformation: Fueling disruption while creating opportunities for growth

Teresa Barriera
Chief Marketing Officer
Publics.Sapient

To undergo a digital business transformation is to imagine a future and then bring that future to fruition by developing new business models, reinventing processes, adjusting how people work, and ultimately implementing the right technologies. In this session, we will explore what it takes to embark on this journey as well as the implications for marketing and why organization should initiate this transformation ASAP.

WHY: I think those just entering their Sitecore journey will gain the most from this session, so that you can be well informed to make the right decisions early one. For those of us who are well intrenched within Sitecore, this session should give us some ideas to make our systems a little better.

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

Catching up with Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon: Leveraging the right data sets to drive personalized experiences

Derek Barka
Chief Technology Officer
SilverTech
Avi Patel
Chief Marketing Officer
Fulton Financial Corporation

In this session, learn how SilverTech and Fulton Financial Corporation utilized customer data and Sitecore to drive targeted product offerings to qualified customer segments and next-best product cross-sell opportunities to their existing customer base. Also learn how Lotame, a third-party data management platform (DMP), was integrated into Sitecore to drive personalized product offerings to anonymous visitors through audience segmenting. SilverTech’s Chief Technology Officer, Derek Barka, will speak to how to leverage your existing data, third-party data, and the power of Sitecore Experience Database to deliver a personalized experience to the majority of your site visitors

WHY: What I find most intriguing about this session is an opportunity to better target anonymous visitors through the usage of third-party data. This is a group of visitors that are always tricky to get a good handle on to convert, so any tips are always welcomed.

12:30 PM to 02:00 PM – Lunch

Can I have a side of coffee with that?

02:00 PM to 02:45 PM

The rise of content, commerce, ad conversational marketing

Martin Coady
Executive Director Technology
VML

With the rise of artificial intelligence, we’re seeing more and more chatbot technology incorporated into the commerce experience. However, today’s AI-powered commerce experience is still mainly dependent on humans. After all, who creates all that content? In this session, we’ll explore the back and forth between technology and marketing and how to bridge the gaps between content, commerce, and conversation.

WHY: Even though this session isn’t directly targeting analytics, I feel it deserves to be on the list as it should provide insight into how to manage the changing landscape of user experience.

OR

Taxonomy & rules-based profile mapping: Go from zero user profile tracking to 100% coverage with a single pipeline extension and no content tagging

Nick Allen
Technical Architect, Digital Consultant & Founder
Think Fresh Studio

Assigning visitors to profiles is a core tenant of a content personalization strategy, however many organizations struggle with the initial setup and maintenance of content tagging, especially as the site grows. The task becomes even more challenging when you are working with sites that have large product catalogues or make use of “virtual” URL techniques such as wildcards or dynamic item resolving. In many cases, the profiles we want to associate with our users are based on meta data and taxonomies that already exist in our websites. In this session you will see how you can extract this meta data and taxonomy information to automatically profile users across the entire website without content authors having to tag a single content item.

WHY: I’ll warn you that this session is on the developer track, so be prepared to see a config file or two and probably a little Visual Studio. Even with this, this should be an insightful session on ways to move into personalization without some much leg work.

03:00 PM to 03:45 PM

Understanding digital strategy from a marketer’s POV

Jason Fields
Rightpoint
Brandon Rozelle
Rightpoint

The concept “being digital” can mean many things. That’s also true of “digital strategy.” Even in today’s post-digital world, far too many companies struggle to develop and implement effective digital strategies. In fact, research shows that upwards of 75% of the companies surveyed have no digital strategy in place. In this session, we’ll explore the what, why, and how of digital strategy from the marketer’s point of view.

WHY: Having data is good, but deciding what questions to ask of the data is tricky. I look to this session to provide pointers as you formulate the questions to ask for the data.

OR

Driving an immersive customer experience with Sitecore Experience Commerce + IoT

Richard Seal
Principal Engineer
RBA
Jason Wilkerson
Technology Evangelist
RBA

How can you leverage Sitecore to drive a better customer experience? In this session, we’ll demonstrate how you can combine IoT, xConnect, xDB, Marketing Automation, EXM, and SXA, all tied together with Sitecore Experience Commerce, to deliver a more personalized, meaningful experience for customers at a fictional theme park called SitecoreLand! Using IoT devices to track entry and exit to and from the park as well as engagement with rides and concessions, we can provide incentives and special offers to park guests to optimize line wait times and concession traffic. With marketing automation and EXM we can upsell ‘Fast Passes’ to skip long lines or cross sell ride or park merchandise. All of this can be done with a relatively small amount of effort!

WHY: I expect this to be a fun and insightful fly-through of how the omnichannel dream can be centralized from within Sitecore providing data for decision making like never before.

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

Will Smith

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

Guest Speaker

09:30 AM to 10:15 AM

Universal tracker and mobile analytics

Alexey Vaschenko
Product Manager
Sitecore

Understanding a customer’s behavior is key for delivering the best user experience. In this session, we will dive deep into Sitecore Universal Tracker – the brand-new approach for tracking interactions in mobile and processing data and storing it in Sitecore xDB.

WHY: I am not clear what the universal tracker is, but it sounds fancy and a solver of many headaches. Hopefully bi-location devices will be provided so we can learn about ethically leveraging universal tracking.

OR

Citadel’s personalization journey

Courtney Rowan
Director of ECommerce
Citadel FCU
Mary McCleaft
Digital Solutions Analyst
Citadel FCU

One of the major tasks for the digital channel in early 2018 has been the development and launch of full-scale website personalization. Personalization is a major strategic capability of Sitecore, the content management system selected for hosting CitadelBanking.com, and also aligns with Citadel’s Strategic Goal 2 – Create the Best Digital Experience. In April and May, a major rollout of numerous tactics was successfully completed. So far in 2018, more than 120 unique personalization treatments have been developed and deployed across CitadelBanking.com.

WHY: If you are struggling a bit after the party, this should be informative but easy way to kickstart the day. Hearing the story of how someone has made the changes to truly roll-out personalization should leave you feeling on cloud-nine.

10:30 AM to 11:15 AM

Crafting rich experiences with customized experience profiles

Ryan Bailey
Lead Developer
AKQA
Wayne Ramshaw
Digital Channel Manager
Trustpower

A supplier of both energy and telecommunications services to New Zealand, Trustpower is a long-time user of Sitecore XP. Through the Trustpower use case, discover the benefits of utilizing the core features of Sitecore XP to increase conversion and retarget advertising via external parties to create a truly customer-centric website.

WHY: Converted customer is good, a multiple-time converted is even better. I look forward to hearing how this has been done successfully.

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Closing Keynote

 

What to attend for as marketer at Sitecore Symposium 2018

Below you will find my recommendations for an attendee who has more of an interest in the marketing capabilities of Sitecore, those looking to elevate their customers experience.  The sessions in this guide lean towards how to apply Sitecore to elevate your marketing experience.

As with all the guides, sessions have been chosen based on a limited set of information such as the title, session description and to some extend what I might know about the speaker (having heard them before, read their work, etc…). Most of the schedule has been firmed up, but there is a chance for changes that I do not capture between now and October.

If this guide doesn’t feel like a good fit, you can find a list of additional guides here.

Day 1 – Monday, October 8th

Stretch those legs with some mingling of what is sure to turn into some of your best new friends.

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

This time is reserved for you track keynotes. I can’t provide much insight on where to go for this. If you are a little more technical leaning the Development Keynote has yet to let me down.

11:45 AM to 12:30 PM

The challenge of the experience economy

Mirco Pasqualini
Head of Design
Ogilvy

Everyone agrees “experience” is the new product. Customers become more loyal to the experience and less to the brand. Automation solutions, data insights, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are all technologies necessary for providing better experiences, but executive teams often fail to address strategic planning from a system design perspective. In this session, we’ll offer insight on how design, as a way of thinking, can help overcome the evolving challenges of the experience economy.

WHY: Sometimes the hardest part of that infamous ‘Phase 2’ is just getting the thinking of the team and those around on the right track. This session should provide some new tools to getting the team on board and thinking how best to build that next greatest experience.

OR

Sitecore, machine learning, and one-to-one personalization

Ramani Krishnan
Director of Sitecore Architecture
edynamics
Sathish Balakrishnan
VP Delivery
edynamics

Personas and rules engine in Sitecore are great, but they are not enough. Consumers today expect one-to-one personalization. They expect retailers to know them and know what they are looking for in real time. Sitecore knows the pages being visited and knows a lot about the customer based on browsing and buying history. The tricky thing is to turn all that knowledge into the experience that delivers the most mutual value. There are hundreds of thousands of possibilities and permutations. A Digital Marketer cannot be expected to set up the rules and predictions manually. A platform with h4 machine learning algorithms can make the calculations in microseconds and serve up the right content—and then improve its own performance over time.

WHY: Letting the machine begin some of the leg work you are used to doing is a change but can become a very positive one. I am looking to this session to help understand how the machine can take some of the tedious out the personalization work.

12:45 PM to 01:30 PM

Sitecore and GDPR: All your personal data belong to you

Martina Welander
Programmer Writer
Sitecore

A practical look at how evolving privacy legislation affects your Sitecore implementation, including a demonstration of what a privacy-focused implementation might look like. Includes an overview of where and why personal data is stored and the features and APIs available to handle personal data responsibly across the platform. And memes!

WHY: Requiring permission to fully personalize is great for the user, not so much for those whose job requires knowing and understanding the ‘who’. This session should provide some insight in how Sitecore allows this precious balance in building trust with the customer.

OR

The road to personalization: from one segment to segment of one

Jean-Luc Ambrosi
Executive General Manager Marketing
TelstraSuper

Superannuation (401k in the USA) is a traditionally low-engagement industry, yet boosting engagement levels is essential in helping members achieve their retirement goals. With this disconnect in mind, becoming relevant in the hearts and minds of members throughout the customer journey is key to building engagement with the 100,000 members in TelstraSuper, the largest corporate Superannuation fund in Australia. The organization has embarked on a mission to leverage its new digital platform to build maximum relevance with members. To offer its members a truly tailored experience, it is evolving from a one-size-fits-all to a segment-of-one approach.

WHY: It is always nice to hear how others have accomplished what you are working towards. In this session you should come away with some insight on how one organization has been successfully moving toward better personalization while keeping in mind what makes each customer a little unique.

01:30 PM to 02:45 PM – Lunch

Will there be bacon?

02:45 PM to 03:30 PM

The full story of how Fujitsu, a global company with 160,000 employees, revamped its communication platform using Sitecore

Katsumi Morikawa
Manager
Fujitsu Limited

Fujitsu migrated 36 sites scattered across the company, onto Sitecore’s single platform which now sits on their own Fujitsu Cloud infrastructure. The new platform is currently available to Fujitsu’s domestic 30,000 sellers and sales engineers, as well as its partners’ domestic 20,000 sellers and sales engineers. Fujitsu will introduce project details of how they collected and defined users’ needs and how they integrated those requirements onto Sitecore, and how they use Sitecore’s digital marketing capabilities, including personalizing content and analyzing engagements.

WHY: Another interesting case study of how a large international firm has learned how to take advantage of Sitecore in a big way.

OR

Supercharge your author experience with machine learning

Mark Stiles
Principal Web Developer
Velir
Daniel Murphy
Director of Business Systems Analysis
Velir

Content authors face an ever-growing list of new tools and responsibilities that come with a modern digital experience platform. There is mounting pressure for these unsung digital heroes to spend less time fumbling with menu options, assigning taxonomies, or struggling to find the right creative assets and more time identifying segments, setting goals, and personalizing content in an effort to engage consumers. In this session, Sitecore MVPs Mark Stiles and Dan Murphy will introduce practical ways to use machine learning to overcome tedious tasks, use your time more effectively, and focus on high-value work.

WHY: I place this session on the list for those who might be a little more technically inclined. Either way it should prove to be an interesting session on how to make content creation and management a little easier.

04:15 PM to 05:00 PM

Atlantis The Palm – from personalization project to context marketing program

Chris Pascoe
Director, Digital Marketing and CRM
Atlantis The Palm
Hershna Langworth
Director, Digital Marketing Projects and Innovation
Atlantis The Palm

As a leading entertainment resort destination, Atlantis The Palm is a magnificent haven for leisure-seeking families and couples for whom holidays are a precious escape from the everyday world. This session demonstrates how optimization efforts within Sitecore allowed Atlantis to achieve organizational objectives by moving from a successful personalization project (presented at last year’s Symposium) to an ongoing context marketing program. Key 2018 objectives were achieved by strategic planning through the lens of SBOS framework and methodology. Examples of use cases showcase approach and measurement of successful personalization scenarios and content tests.

WHY: Time to get inspired by an organization that has raw numbers backing up their achievements with Sitecore Experience Platform.

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

Sitecore EXM for the Contact Center

Stephen Harman
Manager of Contact Center Solutions
HBCS

At HBCS, we leverage technology to unify patient communications across multiple platforms for our client’s patients. We’re stepping into a digital strategy plan using Sitecore’s EXM module to co-exist with our web content. Now our payment receipts, payment reminders, statements, and itemized bills are sent through EXM. See how we are using Sitecore’s Automated Message API’s to send the dynamic data to the message template which contains variable placeholders for the data to be placed and is built using client-specific content (i.e., color scheme and logo).

WHY: One system, one source, one success…As much as people despise email it is still a critical form of communication and the more personalized and specific it the better the chances of success.

OR

Sitecore and Salesforce – better together

Kristine Stebbins
Managing Director
Hero Digital

Personalization is the holy grail for many companies, but it can be elusive to achieve. This session will focus on how to accelerate the power of personalization by integrating Sitecore and Salesforce. In this session, we will provide step-by-step guidance on how to plan and execute an integration between Sitecore and Salesforce that does not only focus on the technical integration but more importantly walks you through the decisions regarding what customer data is captured and shared between the two platforms. Real-world examples will highlight how to share data between the systems and leverage the power of the Salesforce CRM and SFMC to deepen engagement and conversions.

WHY: Salesforce is a key platform to most sales workflows, all the rich data isn’t always put go use through the website as it can be difficult to get at or to understand how to use. I think you will walk away from this session seeing that it is possible to integrate the systems and begin achieving new levels of personalization on both fronts.

09:00 AM to 09:45 AM

Guest Keynote….who will it be?

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM

Multiple pulse points of innovation

Matt Webb
Global CTO
Mirum

As marketers, we need to know what consumers are thinking and doing and how this will shape the experiences that companies ultimately need to create. Simply storing, monitoring, and adjusting content based on existing data is no longer enough. Join us for this session as we look beyond “what we have” and ahead to “what we can do.” We’ll discuss using Sitecore components to create highly relevant clusters based on real-world data (i.e., world events, stock market, local news, and even the weather) to deliver innovative experiences that people want, and businesses need. They just don’t know it yet.

WHY: I am looking forward to this session to see how leveraging multiple external happenings to build a personalized message for visitors.

OR

Automated personalization that “just works”

Marcos Guimaraes
Vice President, Chief Data Scientist
Sitecore

Sitecore’s Chief Data Scientist Marcos Guimaraes will outline our plans to leverage xDB analytics to individually optimize visitor journeys in order to maximize customer success. Through the use of machine learning, our goal is to minimize any burden of setting up segmentation and personalization rules, transitioning to a system where the intelligence “just works” out of the box. Come learn about the latest innovations, our partnership with Microsoft, and our future plans for automatic and scalable personalization.

WHY: This session has the potential to be just as powerful as the other one selected for this time slot, but on a focus using the data we already have captured to automate the personalization. Be warned this is listed under the technical track, so if config files get you feeling a little woozy better to send your developer to this one.

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

Sustainable Sitecore personalization: Don’t build your castle on a sinkhole

John Berndt
CEO
The Berndt Group, Ltd.

For personalization and targeting, Sitecore is by far the most integrated and well-designed platform on the planet, yet many organization 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 reality. 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: If you aren’t thinking ahead enough personalization can easily crumble or become unmanageable very quickly. Sitting in this session will hopefully provide some basic ground rules to allowing you next personalization planning session set solid foundation for a future of successful conversions.

OR

Catching up with Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon: Leveraging the right data sets to drive personalized experiences

Derek Barka
Chief Technology Officer
SilverTech
Avi Patel
Chief Marketing Officer
Fulton Financial Corporation

In this session, learn how SilverTech and Fulton Financial Corporation utilized customer data and Sitecore to drive targeted product offerings to qualified customer segments and next-best product cross-sell opportunities to their existing customer base. Also learn how Lotame, a third-party data management platform (DMP), was integrated into Sitecore to drive personalized product offerings to anonymous visitors through audience segmenting. SilverTech’s Chief Technology Officer, Derek Barka, will speak to how to leverage your existing data, third-party data, and the power of Sitecore Experience Database to deliver a personalized experience to the majority of your site visitors

WHY: What I find most intriguing about this session is an opportunity to better target anonymous visitors through the usage of third-party data. This is a group of visitors that are always tricky to get a good handle on to convert, so any tips are always welcomed.

12:30 PM to 02:00 PM – Lunch

Can I have a side of coffee with that?

02:00 PM to 02:45 PM

Taxonomy & rules-based profile mapping: Go from zero user profile tracking to 100% coverage with a single pipeline extension and no content tagging

Nick Allen
Technical Architect, Digital Consultant & Founder
Think Fresh Studio

Assigning visitors to profiles is a core tenant of a content personalization strategy, however many organizations struggle with the initial setup and maintenance of content tagging, especially as the site grows. The task becomes even more challenging when you are working with sites that have large product catalogues or make use of “virtual” URL techniques such as wildcards or dynamic item resolving. In many cases, the profiles we want to associate with our users are based on meta data and taxonomies that already exist in our websites. In this session you will see how you can extract this meta data and taxonomy information to automatically profile users across the entire website without content authors having to tag a single content item.

WHY: I’ll warn you that this session is on the developer track, so be prepared to see a config file or two and probably a little Visual Studio. Even with this, this should be an insightful session on ways to move into personalization without some much leg work.

OR

Retooling the B2B customer experience

Erin Blake
Business Analyst/Strategist
Arke
Curran Ethridge
Vice President of Customer Experience
Stanley Engineered Fastening

With so many complex products and long purchase cycles, what will it take to change the customer experience in the B2B space? We’ll discuss what happened when Stanley Engineered Fastening teamed up with Arke to redesign the digital program that drives awareness and sales to the largest B2B division under the Stanley Black & Decker umbrella. This global enterprise continues to grow by mergers and acquisitions, so the strategy not only had to work to keep the customer needs at the forefront of the solution design, it also had to scale and support for future company growth. The resulting digital strategy is the ultimate foundation for enabling marketing optimization capabilities across the SBD enterprise.

WHY: Historically I feel the B2B experience was built with a certain level of utilitarianism, but in that view more well thought out and ‘personalized’ the experience can be the growth opportunity can be huge. Hearing about a large enterprise making this change should inspire you to take the same risk and succeed.

03:00 PM to 03:45 PM

Rebuilding from the ground up with xDB and artificial intelligence

Yanick Bedard
VP Digital Strategy, Partner
Sid Lee
Brenda Plowman
CMO
Fasken

As a leading law firm with over 700 lawyers, numerous practices and a global footprint, customer centricity is a top priority for Fasken.com. In order to become more client-centric, they needed to localize their global knowledge to offer a contextual and personalized experience. Doing so required a fundamental shift in web strategy, bringing control of their digital properties back in-house, and rebuilding their website from the ground up. During this session, attendees will learn about Fasken’s rebranding journey, the best practices that were applied and how adhering to them has turned their website into a high-quality lead generating platform and equipped their team to nurture h4er customer relationships.

WHY: If your team is prepping for a big rebrand or maybe even a little side project to refresh thing, this session may just provide the tips and tricks you need to bring WOW to your site.

OR

Delivery of a personalized, worldwide customer experience at ASOS

Javier Barbosa
Senior Project Manager
ASOS
Scott Frampton
Principal Engineer
ASOS

‘Personalization’ … easier to say than deliver. Discover how ASOS, the #1 online fashion destination for 20-somethings, approached its journey towards personalization. In this session we will look at how we used innovative and advanced engineering and operationally aware principles, processes, and practices to enable us to spin up multiple parallel workstreams to deliver high-scale Sitecore projects in Azure.

WHY: A big site targeting a stingy market segment (those 20-somethings), this session should prove to be an interesting case study on how to plan and implement big ideas and best practices of personalization.

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

Will Smith

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

Guest Speaker

09:30 AM to 10:15 AM

Who watches the watchers?

Jason St-Cyr
Technical Evangelist
Sitecore

We are all guardians of the digital spaces our audiences live in. We control what data is collected, how it is used, how it is stored, and potentially how it can be abused. With advancements in machine learning, personalization, and individualization, we are looking at a new world of improved customer experiences. How do we ensure this is done in an ethical way? How do we protect individual privacy? How do we avoid bias in our algorithms? We will explore these questions and others and empower the audience to take ownership of these issues.

WHY: This maybe a tricky one to follow after a night of partying, but I see it as critical to have the conversation of how to ethically leverage all the data collected.

OR

Citadel’s personalization journey

Courtney Rowan
Director of ECommerce
Citadel FCU
Mary McCleaft
Digital Solutions Analyst
Citadel FCU

One of the major tasks for the digital channel in early 2018 has been the development and launch of full-scale website personalization. Personalization is a major strategic capability of Sitecore, the content management system selected for hosting CitadelBanking.com, and also aligns with Citadel’s Strategic Goal 2 – Create the Best Digital Experience. In April and May, a major rollout of numerous tactics was successfully completed. So far in 2018, more than 120 unique personalization treatments have been developed and deployed across CitadelBanking.com.

WHY: If you are struggling a bit after the party, this should be informative but easy way to kickstart the day. Hearing the story of how someone has made the changes to truly roll-out personalization should leave you feeling on cloud-nine.

10:30 AM to 11:15 AM

Personalizing the customer experience for anonymous visitors

Gavin Little
Senior Sales Engineer
Sitecore

Marketers can use the power of customer-journey mapping and customer-experience management to better understand how to personalize the experience for a known visitor. But these same strategic initiatives can also help organizations personalize the experience for an anonymous visitor. This session will help marketers better understand the power of personalizing the anonymous visitor’s experience.

WHY: The customer we don’t know anything about has great potential for becoming a future best customer, the insight here should help set a path to doing just that.

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Closing Keynote

 

Architecting the Perfect #SitecoreSym Session Selection

Handpicked session guide is targeting those that split their time in the development world while still needing to work really close with the business. The audience here are what I refer to as ‘Sitecore Architect or Leads’, someone that has the development experience to understand and recommend the proper steps for a successful Sitecore implementation. This group of individuals needs a nice mix of technical and business leaning sessions to choose from.

If you are feeling this is a little much for you check out the other session guides.

Sessions are selected based on the limited information I can get access without spending tons of time reaching out to each speaker for more info, though that could make for an interesting series for the future, ‘a behind the scene look at creating a symposium session’…I looked at the title, session description and to some extend what I might know about the speaker (having heard them before, read their work, etc…), from that you’ve got this and the other guides.

There is still time to register for Sitecore Symposium 2018, and if you want to save some money on top of whatever general deals are running I’ve got a special $100 savings link just for you (and your friends).

Day 1 – Monday, October 8th

I’ll support you leading your team’s standup from the beach followed by a deep discussion on why Sitecore 9.1 will be a game changer.

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

The Cortex engine: Process at scale

Alistair Deneys
Lead Developer
Sitecore

Sitecore 9.1 introduces a new scalable processing engine which powers the Cortex Machine Learning framework and allows integration to best-of-breed ML tooling. In this session, we will run through the main architectural changes for data processing from previous versions, and how you could set up deployments to deal with scaled environments with xConnect and Sitecore Cortex.

WHY: As an architect I feel at times it would be easier to untangle a ball of yarn then connect the disparity data sets and tool a client needs on a site. This session gives me hope that new pipelines and endpoints are becoming available to help simplify this planning stage.

OR

Seven common commerce customizations

Rob Earlam
Technical Evangelist
Sitecore

Sitecore Experience Commerce, including the Experience Accelerator Storefront, provides a whole heap of functionality out of the box, but you will still need to implement your own customizations as part of your implementation. In this session, Rob will go over seven common customizations you’ll see on most of your commerce projects, and how to implement them easily using Sitecore Experience Commerce.

WHY: Maybe your less worried about the robots, and more interested in getting products out the door to your site’s visitors. I look forward to this session in providing some excellent insight on how to manage the needs of our next eComm project.

12:45 PM to 01:30 PM

Sitecore and GDPR: All your personal data belong to you

Martina Welander
Programmer Writer
Sitecore

A practical look at how evolving privacy legislation affects your Sitecore implementation, including a demonstration of what a privacy-focused implementation might look like. Includes an overview of where and why personal data is stored and the features and APIs available to handle personal data responsibly across the platform. And memes!

WHY: We’ve read everything she has ever written, now a chance to see her in-person….once you get over the excitement, this session should provide some excellent details on how to deal with ever changing personalization regulations and ways that Sitecore can help to manage meeting.

OR

Real-world machine learning – 30 scenarios where ML makes sense right now

Michael Greenberg
Head of Strategy
Hedgehog

ML might be the hottest topic in marketing, but few practitioners know where or how it might work for them. In this session we will explain ML in jargon-free terms and run through 30 situations where marketers can use ML.

WHY: Maybe your still hesitant about letting the robots into the solution. I am thinking this session should provide some excellent examples of how to allow the robots on the team while keeping them properly constrained to jobs that provide actual benefits.

01:30 PM to 02:45 PM – Lunch

Will there be bacon?

02:45 PM to 03:30 PM

Horizon: Uncovering core UX and architectural concepts

Alec Orlov
Product Manager
Sitecore

Tech-savvy content authors and marketers increasingly expect the digital solutions at work to be as easy to use as the consumer applications they use in everyday life. This session will uncover core UX and architectural concepts inside project Horizon – the new Sitecore user interface that aims to help users create amazing experiences powered by insights.

WHY: Seeing something new and fancy is a nice way to push off the post-lunch nap. Looking forward to understanding the new benefits a team gains from these new screens.

OR

Need help deciding which sessions to attend at the Symposium? Ask our session recommendation engine

Varun Nehra
Sr. Sitecore Solutions Architect
EPAM
Dmytro Shevchenko
Sitecore Solutions Architect
EPAM

If you are unsure about which Symposium sessions are right for you, let machine learning (ML) solve your dilemma. Check out our implementation of a Session Recommendation Engine built on Sitecore XP 9 using Sitecore xConnect services and Azure’s cognitive services. This ML implementation creates contextual insights from social media interactions, performs segmentation and presents personalized recommendations for the user, showcasing a prelude to what is possible with Sitecore’s ML engine Cortex.

WHY: To many carbs at lunch? This session should prove to be a ‘magical’ session looking at how all that data which is piling up can be used. By the end of the session you might even have an idea how a human made list like this compares to the robot generated, a case study without the work.

04:15 PM to 05:00 PM

Inside Cortex

Colin te Kempel
Senior Product Manager
Sitecore

In today’s world, everything is data driven, more so when you start to think about driving value with machine learning (ML). We have spent a long time finding the right architecture for machine learning in Sitecore, so that our customers and partners can take advantage of the wealth of experience data that they collect. In this session, we will walk you through the features that our new Cortex Machine Learning framework provides in 9.1, and how you can take advantage of the new and powerful tooling.

WHY: You potentially started the morning looking at how to scale Cortex, this session should take us up a level looking at some of the practical uses that we can build upon Cortex.

OR

Take your Sitecore project to the next level With Nodejs

Anastasiya Flynn
Sitecore Architect
Arke Systems

Many Sitecore developers still see JavaScript as just a client-side language that’s used to enhance the UI. This session will prove that JS belongs server-side as well, showing how to use Node.js to automate server-side processes. We will cover how to break up client-side JavaScript into component-level Helix-friendly modules that are testable and reusable, and then use gulp to compile them into a single CDN-ready aggregate file. This approach makes code easier to maintain, makes environments more stable, and reinforces Helix principles of simplicity, flexibility, and extensibility.

WHY: It is always nice to have a handful of options when discussing dev-ops. This session should prove to provide just another arrow in the quiver that leverages technology you maybe a little less familiar with.

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

.Net Core and 9.1 architecture

Kern Herskind Nightingale
Senior Product Manager
Sitecore
Stephen Pope
Senior Technical Product Manager
Sitecore

Underpinning the 9.1 release are several platform enhancements that, while not immediately obvious, are driving the future of the Sitecore platform. Embrace the revolution to the .NET world that .NET Core represents and discover Sitecore’s journey from monolith to services and the benefits and challenges encountered along the way.

WHY: We can safely assume 9.1 is coming at the time of this list creation and it seem to have some new and exciting pieces to it. If you missed the general overview on day 1, this should be a must attend to really understand the pieces and parts you’ll be working with and planning for.

OR

The science of Cortex

Niels Kuhnel
Platform Architect
Sitecore

We believe that the real value for machine learning (ML) lies in the data in the Sitecore Experience Database and exposing and reporting on information that can be used for analyzing valuable business trends and the discovery of new and previously not-thought-of segments. We know that within each vertical market you work in, the data will be unique to how your customers behave, but there are generic algorithms that can help you get started with ML. In this session, we will give practical examples of how Cortex works and how you can bring your own data-science practices and algorithms into Sitecore.

WHY: Cortex is coming and the need to understand how to feed it the right the data is going to be important for future Sitecore implementations. I foresee coming out of this session with a bit of a headache as you try to take in the data-science behind Cortex, but once that evens out, you should be better off for the future of analytics.

09:00 AM to 09:45 AM

Guest Keynote….who will it be?

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM

Multiple pulse points of innovation

Matt Webb
Global CTO
Mirum

As marketers, we need to know what consumers are thinking and doing and how this will shape the experiences that companies ultimately need to create. Simply storing, monitoring, and adjusting content based on existing data is no longer enough. Join us for this session as we look beyond “what we have” and ahead to “what we can do.” We’ll discuss using Sitecore components to create highly relevant clusters based on real-world data (i.e., world events, stock market, local news, and even the weather) to deliver innovative experiences that people want, and businesses need. They just don’t know it yet.

WHY: Future looking sessions give you plenty to ponder as you design and plan your next release. I foresee this session to provide interesting components that take into more than just context of who a person is in the content that is shown.

OR

Automated personalization that “just works”

Marcos Guimaraes
Vice President, Chief Data Scientist
Sitecore

Sitecore’s Chief Data Scientist Marcos Guimaraes will outline our plans to leverage xDB analytics to individually optimize visitor journeys in order to maximize customer success. Through the use of machine learning, our goal is to minimize any burden of setting up segmentation and personalization rules, transitioning to a system where the intelligence “just works” out of the box. Come learn about the latest innovations, our partnership with Microsoft, and our future plans for automatic and scalable personalization.

WHY: Another step in letting the robots do the tedious work around personalization. At the rate of machine learning I expect Symposium 2019 to have a fully automated Cortex session.

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

Omnichannel retail: personal and contextual experiences!

Ishraq Al Fataftah
CTO
Applez Tech

Technology trends have significantly disrupted the way commerce works. Customers expect a seamless and consistent experience across all channels of the retail process. Omnichannel retailing is providing a more powerful experience that is combining online services such as product pricing comparisons/reviews and in-store kiosks and NFC technology. In this session, we’ll explore Sitecore Experience Commerce as an enterprise solution that delivers an integrated, omnichannel personalized experience throughout the customer lifecycle. By leveraging online and offline channels across a single commerce platform, Sitecore is providing the right tools to achieve a personalized customer experience that is relevant to the individual customer and consistent across all points of interaction.

WHY: Commerce is an important part of the Sitecore ecosystem’s future. I enjoy seeing how others have worked towards the omnichannel usage of Sitecore, and this should prove to have some insights on how to make it work.

OR

Personalizing the customer lifecycle with Marketing Automation and EXM

Ben Burns
Product Manager
Sitecore
Jacob Nielsen
Software Architect
Sitecore

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: Marketing Automation and EXM might not be the fanciest areas for developers to be, but for the business side it is a critical piece to having implemented Sitecore. Attending this session should give you the knowledge you need to assist the business as well as make proper development decisions to support them.

12:30 PM to 02:00 PM – Lunch

Can I have a side of coffee with that?

02:00 PM to 02:45 PM

Taxonomy & rules-based profile mapping: Go from zero user profile tracking to 100% coverage with a single pipeline extension and no content tagging

Nick Allen
Technical Architect, Digital Consultant & Founder
Think Fresh Studio

Assigning visitors to profiles is a core tenant of a content personalization strategy, however many organizations struggle with the initial setup and maintenance of content tagging, especially as the site grows. The task becomes even more challenging when you are working with sites that have large product catalogues or make use of “virtual” URL techniques such as wildcards or dynamic item resolving. In many cases, the profiles we want to associate with our users are based on meta data and taxonomies that already exist in our websites. In this session you will see how you can extract this meta data and taxonomy information to automatically profile users across the entire website without content authors having to tag a single content item.

WHY: Being able to provide the business side of the house a quick way to get moving on personalization is an excellent way to win some street cred with them. I foresee this session concluding with you gaining insight how to simplify and push the site towards personalization faster than the business can plan.

OR

Beyond the SXA toolbox

Adam Najmanowicz
Senior Product Manager
Sitecore
Mark van Aalst
Senior Technical Evangelist
Sitecore

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

Understanding digital strategy from a marketer’s POV

Jason Fields
Rightpoint
Brandon Rozelle
Rightpoint

The concept “being digital” can mean many things. That’s also true of “digital strategy.” Even in today’s post-digital world, far too many companies struggle to develop and implement effective digital strategies. In fact, research shows that upwards of 75% of the companies surveyed have no digital strategy in place. In this session, we’ll explore the what, why, and how of digital strategy from the marketer’s point of view.

WHY: I find myself sitting in meetings listening to requests for a new feature, thinking that seems like a stupid idea. I look forward to this session helping to enlighten me a little more about why the bushiness thinks something should be a great idea.

OR

Marketer’s Guide to a Sitecore Upgrade

Katrina Arey
Digital Marketing Manager
Aramark

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 get ugly fast, between coordinating infrastructure upgrades, code needs, and any active or soon to be active marketing efforts on the live site. With so many possible spinning plates, it will be interesting to hear how someone else has successfully managed the near impossible.

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

Will Smith

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

Guest Speaker

09:30 AM to 10:15 AM

Universal tracker and mobile analytics

Alexey Vaschenko
Product Manager
Sitecore

Understanding a customer’s behavior is key for delivering the best user experience. In this session, we will dive deep into Sitecore Universal Tracker – the brand-new approach for tracking interactions in mobile and processing data and storing it in Sitecore xDB.

WHY: I am not clear what the universal tracker is, but it sounds fancy and a solver of many headaches. Hopefully bi-location devices will be provided so we can learn about ethically leveraging universal tracking.

OR

Who watches the watchers?

Jason St-Cyr
Technical Evangelist
Sitecore

We are all guardians of the digital spaces our audiences live in. We control what data is collected, how it is used, how it is stored, and potentially how it can be abused. With advancements in machine learning, personalization, and individualization, we are looking at a new world of improved customer experiences. How do we ensure this is done in an ethical way? How do we protect individual privacy? How do we avoid bias in our algorithms? We will explore these questions and others and empower the audience to take ownership of these issues.

WHY: This maybe a tricky one to follow a night of partying, but I see it as critical to have the conversation of how to ethically leverage all the data collected.

10:30 AM to 11:15 AM

Learning to SPEAK. Impress your customers and colleagues by taking Sitecore customization to the next level

Olga Kogan
Senior Developer
XCentium
Julia Gavrilova
Lead Architect
XCentium

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.

OR

Faster, faster, faster! A Helix approach to DevOps in the light of the Sitecore micro-service architecture

Thomas Eldblom
CTO
Pentia

Sitecore is no longer a monolithic Architecture but has recently introduced a number of micro-services which has made deployments more complex. In the spirit of Helix, we want to keep it simple and flexible to reduce cost of maintenance and reduce time to market. The session will introduce a scalable, decoupled, layered and technology independent approach to DevOps which can immediately be implemented in your business. Sitecore micro-service architecture. Configuring prerequisites and infrastructure using PowerShell, Docker containers, and/or ARM templates. Packaging techniques in a micro service architecture. Item serialization and database changes. Deployment strategies, Blue/Green. Reconfigure SIF or ARM templates.

WHY: By this point in the week, we’ve all heard about the new micro-services in Sitecore. I look forward to seeing how these new micro-services are not a problem but a benefit to the future of Sitecore development.

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Closing Keynote

 

UPDATED 9/17/2018 – Removed expired discount links.

 

#SitecoreSym 2018 Guide to a Perfect Developer Experience

Continuing my session guides for #SitecoreSym attendees, this one is for all those developers or developer at heart. The following sessions are what I would be recommending to my development team as must attend sessions to get the best and most useful information from a week packed with awesomeness.

There is still time to register for Sitecore Symposium 2018, and if you want to save some money on top of whatever general deals are running I’ve got a special $100 savings link just for you (and your friends).

How did I determine the sessions for the guide? I picked based on the title, session description and to some extend what I might know about the speaker (having heard them before, read their work, etc…)

Day 1 – Monday, October 8th

If your travel is like mine, you’ll arrive and enjoy some poolside coding before its time for the welcome reception. But unlike the rest of your team you’re in the sun by the pool and they’re in a cramped sunny and airy meeting room.

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

Now containing 50% more Azure

Ciaran McAuliiffe
Director, Product Management
Sitecore
Tamas Varga
Senior Technical Evangelist
Sitecore

Azure has many services that can help you deliver content faster to your customers, secure your web apps, and reduce performance requirements. Join us to discover the latest out-of-the-box Sitecore integrations with Azure and learn how to use these services as part of your next project.

WHY: A session led by Tamas, is reason enough to attend! Your other reason to attend, is that deploys to Azure is a growing area of interest but isn’t always the easiest to do. One of those power is knowledge.

OR

Empowering your users: Maximizing the content management experience

Jeffrey Rondeau
CMS Engineering Team Lead
DEG Digital

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: As a developer the nuts and bolts of a site can be the sole focus. This session has the potential to provide straightforward Solutions to bring focus back to the content team.

12:45 PM to 01:30 PM

Continuous delivery by design in Azure PaaS – Promoting code & content flexibly and safe with feature toggles and deployment slots

Bart Plasmeijer
Software Architect, MVP
Valtech

The market is changing rapidly, and companies need to act fast and adapt to changes. A product owner and the marketing department wants to apply changes on a regular basis, time to market is very important. Monolith systems are going away, and microservice architecture set up with Sitecore Experience Commerce and JSS is now a best practice.

WHY: Deployments strategy during a site build is critical for hitting the dates set by the PM. But just an important if not more is a good strategy for go-live and the future.

OR

The Sitecore headless revolution

Mark van Aalst
Senior Technical Evangelist
Sitecore

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

Jeremy Davis
Software Architect
Kagool

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.

OR

Need help deciding which sessions to attend at the Symposium? Ask our session recommendation engine

Varun Nehra
Sr. Sitecore Solutions Architect
EPAM
Dmytro Shevchenko
Sitecore Solutions Architect
EPAM

If you are unsure about which Symposium sessions are right for you, let machine learning (ML) solve your dilemma. Check out our implementation of a Session Recommendation Engine built on Sitecore XP 9 using Sitecore xConnect services and Azure’s cognitive services. This ML implementation creates contextual insights from social media interactions, performs segmentation and presents personalized recommendations for the user, showcasing a prelude to what is possible with Sitecore’s ML engine Cortex.

WHY: This should be a fun Session to see new ways to leverage Sitecore an all that great personification data. And probably make you scramble a bit redoing your schedule for the rest of the week.

04:15 PM to 05:00 PM

EXM Live! The magic of email automation

Pete Navarra
Director, Technical Strategy
Connective DX

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 traps. I expect this to be an excellent on the fly learning of how to make the most of EXM.

OR

Take your Sitecore project to the next level With Nodejs

Anastasiya Flynn
Sitecore Architect
Arke Systems

Many Sitecore developers still see JavaScript as just a client-side language that’s used to enhance the UI. This session will prove that JS belongs server-side as well, showing how to use Node.js to automate server-side processes. We will cover how to break up client-side JavaScript into component-level Helix-friendly modules that are testable and reusable, and then use gulp to compile them into a single CDN-ready aggregate file. This approach makes code easier to maintain, makes environments more stable, and reinforces Helix principles of simplicity, flexibility, and extensibility.

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

.Net Core and 9.1 architecture

Kern Herskind Nightingale
Senior Product Manager
Sitecore
Stephen Pope
Senior Technical Product Manager
Sitecore

Underpinning the 9.1 release are several platform enhancements that, while not immediately obvious, are driving the future of the Sitecore platform. Embrace the revolution to the .NET world that .NET Core represents and discover Sitecore’s journey from monolith to services and the benefits and challenges encountered along the way.

WHY: We can safely assume 9.1 is coming at the time of this list creation and it seem to have some new and exciting pieces to it. If you missed the general overview on day 1, this should be a must attend to really understand the pieces and parts you’ll be working with and planning for.

OR

Enabling self-service business intelligence with Sitecore Experience Cloud and Power BI

Boris Brodsky
Group Manager, Software Engineering
Avanade
Benjamin Adamski
Group Manager
Avanade

Sometimes the fastest way to get an answer from your data is to ask a question using natural language, such as “What were the total sales last year? What is the top-selling product?” Use Power BI Q&A to explore Sitecore Experience Analytics data using natural language capabilities and receive answers in the form of charts and graphs. Different from a search engine, Q&A provides results about the Sitecore data in Power BI. Unlock intelligence in real time for both content and commerce. Stakeholders need information about their business performance and they need it now, data is at your fingertips. Access it using your voice or the Power BI barcode scanner. Make data-based decisions in real time about content, campaigns, promotions, and pricing.

WHY: If you are feeling a little less technical this morning, I foresee this session to be an excellent example of how to begin taking steps making the rich data easily available and actionable to the organization.

09:00 AM to 09:45 AM

Guest Keynote….who will it be?

10:00 AM to 10:45 AM

Experience the development workflow of your dreams with modern JavaScript and Sitecore JSS

Alex Shyba
Co-Founder
Altola

In this session, you will learn how to go from a “hello world” app to a full-featured, blazing fast progressive web application in under 40 minutes; how to leverage the best tooling of the open source JavaScript ecosystem for your next Sitecore project; and finally, how to leverage content delivery networks to deliver an outstanding user experience for customers worldwide.

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.

OR

Extending Sitecore Experience Commerce with plugins

Kelly Brennan
Solution Architect
EPAM

In this session, we’ll walk through creating plugins to extend Sitecore Experience Commerce. Whether it’s adding wish list functionality or integrating with an ERP you’ll walk away knowing how, where, and why.

WHY: As Sitecore continues to push commerce, it is highly likely your next project may include a touch of commerce. Before that happens it’s always nice to have a little insider information of areas that you might have to extend and how to extend that.

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

Ben Burns
Product Manager
Sitecore
Jacob Nielsen
Software Architect
Sitecore

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: Marketing Automation and EXM might not be the fanciest areas for developers to be, but for the business side it is a critical piece to having implemented Sitecore. Attending this session should give you the knowledge you need to assist the business as well as make proper development decisions to support them.

OR

Okay Google, make me super-efficient at using Sitecore – What Sitecore users really need from IoT, a practical demonstration

Dominic Hurst
Senior Consultant
Valtech
Neil Shack
Sitecore consultant
Coretec Digital

As the world moves toward the IoT and a connected voice-controlled smart home, we asked ourselves “is there an opportunity for driving Sitecore efficiency in this innovative market?” To answer this question, we conducted user research with the Sitecore community. In this session, we share our findings and demonstrate examples of using voice commands to interact with your Sitecore environment.

WHY: What tinkering technologist doesn’t enjoy a little IoT fun? I foresee this session providing an interesting way to leverage voice control in making Sitecore more natural, (maybe like yelling at the intern, but with success.)

12:30 PM to 02:00 PM – Lunch

Can I have a side of coffee with that?

02:00 PM to 02:45 PM

Taxonomy & rules-based profile mapping: Go from zero user profile tracking to 100% coverage with a single pipeline extension and no content tagging

Nick Allen
Technical Architect, Digital Consultant & Founder
Think Fresh Studio

Assigning visitors to profiles is a core tenant of a content personalization strategy, however many organizations struggle with the initial setup and maintenance of content tagging, especially as the site grows. The task becomes even more challenging when you are working with sites that have large product catalogues or make use of “virtual” URL techniques such as wildcards or dynamic item resolving. In many cases, the profiles we want to associate with our users are based on meta data and taxonomies that already exist in our websites. In this session you will see how you can extract this meta data and taxonomy information to automatically profile users across the entire website without content authors having to tag a single content item.

WHY: Being able to provide the business side of the house a quick way to get moving on personalization is an excellent way to win some street cred with them. I foresee this session concluding with you gaining insight how to simplify and push the site towards personalization faster than the business can plan.

OR

Beyond the SXA toolbox

Adam Najmanowicz
Senior Product Manager
Sitecore
Mark van Aalst
Senior Technical Evangelist
Sitecore

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

Kam Figy
Platform Architect
Sitecore
Adam Weber
Platform Architect
Sitecore

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.

OR

Deploy Sitecore with zero downtime

Bill Cacy
Sitecore Architect
Arke Systems
Patrick Perrone
Sitecore Practice Director
Arke Systems

From synchronizing content to redirecting incoming Internet traffic, we will perform a live demo of a blue-green deployment. As part of the demo, we will discuss the high-level strategy behind the deployment and dissect the steps performed in Octopus. We will discuss some of the assumptions and limitations of blue-green deployments and the business value for clients.

WHY: Live demoes are the best! On top of that seeing how devops can run is always help in the planning process for your own shop. (And Bill is a good guy, so you should support him.)

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

Will Smith

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

Guest Speaker

09:30 AM to 10:15 AM

Sitecore Install Framework (SIF) demystified

David Morrison
Senior Technical Product Manager
Sitecore

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 form a guy who wrote SharePoint deployments via PowerShell.) I look to this session to point us in the right learning direction and understand wher 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

Olga Kogan
Senior Developer
XCentium
Julia Gavrilova
Lead Architect
XCentium

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.

OR

Faster, faster, faster! A Helix approach to DevOps in the light of the Sitecore micro-service architecture

Thomas Eldblom
CTO
Pentia

Sitecore is no longer a monolithic Architecture but has recently introduced a number of micro-services which has made deployments more complex. In the spirit of Helix, we want to keep it simple and flexible to reduce cost of maintenance and reduce time to market. The session will introduce a scalable, decoupled, layered and technology independent approach to DevOps which can immediately be implemented in your business. Sitecore micro-service architecture. Configuring prerequisites and infrastructure using PowerShell, Docker containers, and/or ARM templates. Packaging techniques in a micro service architecture. Item serialization and database changes. Deployment strategies, Blue/Green. Reconfigure SIF or ARM templates.

WHY: By this point in the week, we’ve all heard about the new micro-services in Sitecore. I look forward to seeing how these new micro-services are not a problem but a benefit to the future of Sitecore development.

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM

Closing Keynote

 

UPDATED 9/17/2018 – Removed expired discount links.

 

Sitecore Symposium Session Guide for a New Enthusiast

#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…)

New Enthusiast

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

Gabe Aguilo
Senior Director, Product Management
Sitecore
Mark Groves
Senior Director, Product Management
Sitecore

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.

OR

Empowering your users: Maximizing the content management experience

Jeffrey Rondeau
CMS Engineering Team Lead
DEG Digital

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

Mark van Aalst
Senior Technical Evangelist
Sitecore

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

Jeremy Davis
Software Architect
Kagool

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

Pete Navarra
Director, Technical Strategy
Connective DX

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.

OR

Take your Sitecore project to the next level With Nodejs

Anastasiya Flynn
Sitecore Architect
Arke Systems

Many Sitecore developers still see JavaScript as just a client-side language that’s used to enhance the UI. This session will prove that JS belongs server-side as well, showing how to use Node.js to automate server-side processes. We will cover how to break up client-side JavaScript into component-level Helix-friendly modules that are testable and reusable, and then use gulp to compile them into a single CDN-ready aggregate file. This approach makes code easier to maintain, makes environments more stable, and reinforces Helix principles of simplicity, flexibility, and extensibility.

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

Pieter Brinkman
Senior Director, Technical Marketing
Sitecore
Nick Wesselman
Senior Technical Evangelist
Sitecore

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.

OR

Why Aren’t You Using Sitecore Analytics?

Kristine Stebbins
Managing Director
Hero Digital

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

Experience the development workflow of your dreams with modern JavaScript and Sitecore JSS

Alex Shyba
Co-Founder
Altola

In this session, you will learn how to go from a “hello world” app to a full-featured, blazing fast progressive web application in under 40 minutes; how to leverage the best tooling of the open source JavaScript ecosystem for your next Sitecore project; and finally, how to leverage content delivery networks to deliver an outstanding user experience for customers worldwide.

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.

OR

Integrated DevOps with Azure, Git, PowerShell & Slack

Rob Habraken
CTO
Colours

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

Ben Burns
Product Manager
Sitecore
Jacob Nielsen
Software Architect
Sitecore

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.

OR

Sustainable Sitecore personalization: Don’t build your castle on a sinkhole

John Berndt
CEO
The Berndt Group, Ltd.

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

Jay Thakkar
Director
XCentium

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.

OR

Beyond the SXA toolbox

Adam Najmanowicz
Senior Product Manager
Sitecore
Mark van Aalst
Senior Technical Evangelist
Sitecore

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

Kam Figy
Platform Architect
Sitecore
Adam Weber
Platform Architect
Sitecore

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.

OR

Marketer’s Guide to a Sitecore Upgrade

Katrina Arey
Digital Marketing Manager
Aramark

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

Will Smith

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

Guest Speaker

09:30 AM to 10:15 AM

Sitecore Install Framework (SIF) demystified

David Morrison
Senior Technical Product Manager
Sitecore

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

Olga Kogan
Senior Developer
XCentium
Julia Gavrilova
Lead Architect
XCentium

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

Closing Keynote

UPDATED 9/17/2018 – Removed expired discount links.

 

Create Redirect Rule with PowerShell

This is a follow-up to my recent post showing how quick the creation of a self-signed certificate can be. Now that you have an SSL certificate it is helpful to ensure that all calls to your site go through on SSL. The easiest way to do this ( and save yourself typing time) is to create a Url rewrite rule via IIS’s Url Rewrite Module, https://www.iis.net/downloads/microsoft/url-rewrite.

Ensure Url Rewrite Module is Installed

For redirect rules to be written you need to confirm the module is installed. The best way to do this is to open up IIS, select a web application, and check for the module’s icon.

Url Redirect Rule - Url Rewrite Module Icon

If you do not see the icon, then you will need to install the module before moving on. You can install the module through the Web Platform Installer or the link at https://www.iis.net/downloads/microsoft/url-rewrite.

Run the Create Redirect Rule Script

  1. Download and save as CreateRedirectRule.ps1 from Gist, https://gist.github.com/gillissm/0344c9551e7a8180354544ff5f60e821.
  2. Open a PowerShell command prompt, ensure you are running it as Admin
  3. Change directory to the location you saved to in step 1
  4. At the prompt enter, and complete the requested parameters
    .\CreateRedirectRule.ps1

    Url Redirect Rule -Script with Prompts

    OR you can submit the parameters at run

    .\CreateRedirectRule.ps1 -SiteBinding "coffeehouse.thecodeattic.com" -RuleName "Redirect to SSL"

    Url Redirect Rule -Script in singleline

Script for Reference