I recently returned from attending the Sitecore Symposium 2014 in Las Vegas. In the past there has been one in North America every year, but for some reason last year was skipped. Well, so there was even more reason to believe that this year it would be bigger than ever, and that belief was confirmed. It was a massive and spectacular event full of all sorts of updates about Sitecore, and full of informative sessions from partners and Sitecore insiders. All in all, I would say it was a tremendous success.
This year, if there is one word to describe the focus of the Symposium, it would be “Experience“.
Experiences are mostly based on emotions, and in time, emotions and feelings are retained in memory like nothing else. I think this can be illustrated by Apple products very well – I’ve used almost every type of phone out there but somehow my experience has been the best with iPhones. Why? I’m not entirely sure I know why, or would be able to explain it. Whatever they did, it made my experience to use my phone pleasurable, and therefore I keep gravitating towards it. The other day I saw an ad on TV, about the bond between a grandma and grandson. It showed a montage of heart-tugging scenes of grandma and grandson having fun together, playing and hanging out for an entire day, and then ending the day dozing off in the backseat of a car, holding hands. It was only at the end of the ad it was clear that the ad was about the car. They were trying to make the viewer connect with the bond of the grandma/grandson, and then associating the car with that emotional connection. Good strategy. It worked. Anybody that sees that ad has a warm fuzzy feeling about that car manufacturer – and the next time they go car shopping, they will definitely pay attention to that car manufacturer.
Sitecore is working very heavily on making this the main focus as well. They are working very heavily on arming companies with the tools to make this connection. Sitecore was already ahead of the market in providing customer insights via their DMS product – well, now they have kicked it up one more gear and totally revamped it, adding all sorts of analysis and dashboards to accompany it. What this will this do? It will allow a company to know their customer very well. And what will that do? It will give the ability to a company to give their customers a great ‘experience’, and at the end of the day, that is what will keep this customer coming back.
There a myriad of other advancements as well, but this is the main differentiator between Sitecore and its competitors, and its a lethal one. Personally, I can’t wait for Sitecore 8.