Watching the opening addresses of this year’s virtual event, I thought there were three game-changing developments that point to the future of Sitecore. I also covered them in this video recorded on the day.
1. COVID has increased the importance of digital content
In her presentation, “Moments that make experiences”, the theme of the whole Sitecore Symposium (26-28 October), Paige O’Neill, Sitecore CMO, spoke about how the pandemic has changed human behaviour en masse, accelerating the push towards digital and virtual interaction.
These changes have necessitated brands becoming more empathetic towards the customers’ emotions along the purchase journey. The successful brands of the future, she says, will be those who create enduring memories to capture their customers’ time, attention and loyalty. Which is, of course, exactly what Sitecore can help brands achieve!
Paige mentioned one such brand in Johns Hopkins Medicine, a leading online source for Coronavirus-related information, who pivoted its content strategy to meet patients’ new expectations when Covid-19 struck. Showing personalised digital content can be the valuable (life saving) service itself, it’s not just about content marketing.
Aaron Watkins, Sr. Director of Internet Strategy & Digital Content Marketing at John Hopkins joined O’Neill in the opening session and explained how they decided to meet people where they were searching for health information by creating high-quality, SEO content that answered questions and put minds at ease.
2. Sitecore move further towards a decoupled Cloud architecture
When the new CEO, Steve Tzikakis took to the stage in the second keynote, he affirmed the company’s commitment to be the best CX platform in the world from content-to-commerce. He spoke about the latest advances in Sitecore’s mission.
Most noticeably was the plan to deliver content-as-a-service. Building on Sitecore’s advances in Headless and SaaS in recent years, this decoupling of content and option to move to a JAMstack sees the re-imagination of what Sitecore is and how it can be used.
A move away from a single tech stack to one that’s decoupled and in the Cloud, allows Sitecore-curated content to be made available outside of Sitecore sites. This enables you to “create once, and publish everywhere” on all the various channels and devices customers have access to. Yet, it also begins to strip risk, cost, and bottlenecks out of operating Sitecore. See this 3min video for more on why Sitecore is about to get “Cheaper, Better, Faster, Safer, and always up”
3. AI driven auto-personalisation is now trickling down to the masses
If you had to focus on the one thing Sitecore does better than any other system in the world, it is probably the real-time personalisation of content shown to the user. Traditionally this has been driven by a set of rules manually pre-configured into Sitecore, however in recent years it has been evolved to do this with ML/AI (Machine Leaning / Artificial Intelligence).
Previously, this auto-personalisation has been offered only to those with large enough data-sets to drive the ML, however this won’t be the case any more with Tzikakis announcing that by early next year, there will be a new version of Sitecore AI (Auto Personalisation) available, and it will come standard with Sitecore Experience Platform 10, and without a minimum data requirement.
In the past, you’d tell Sitecore who your audience personas are and what content to show to them when they visit. In the future Sitecore will be able to tell you: “I’ve found segmentation in your real users and figured out the most persuasive content to show each of them.”
Watch these presentations Symposium presentation on demand here.