Sitecore Symposium 2019 takeaways

Sitecore Symposium is the event of the year in the Sitecore world. This was my first year attending and it was also my first time as a speaker at this magnificent event! My presentation took place in one of the breakout rooms at the Swan Hotel and the whole experience was amazing. As a speaker, you are not able to enjoy all the sessions and fun stuff going around Symposium, because you have to practice! There’s a room for speakers only where you can practice in an almost real stage. I spent a few hours in this room practicing my presentation with my partner in crime Deepthi Katta until we felt we were ready! Speaking at Symposium was an amazing experience and attending the event is definitely something that I recommend to everyone that is part of this Sitecore world, from marketers, to clients, to developers, etc. But let’s get to the important stuff, this year’s theme was “Human connections in a digital world” and my main takeaways are around these 3 key areas: Sitecore 9.3, Sitecore SaaS and Sitecore AI.

Sitecore SaaS:

It is planned to go live in the summer in 2020, Sitecore SaaS will allow to have easier and faster upgrades, integrations and deployments – enabling users to accelerate time to market. The initial SaaS offering will have limited capabilities and that’s why it’s targeted to lower mid-market customers whose business complexity does not require the full capabilities of Sitecore as we know it now. Not many details were given, but I’m very excited to see how all this unfolds.

Sitecore 9.3:

Horizon! Horizon will be part of the new Sitecore 9.3 (it won’t be part of the initial release though), it is the new editing environment which offers an easy (drag and drop) interface. Experience editor is still available, but it will eventually disappear when Horizon gets more mature and when all the features experience editor offers are migrated to Horizon. The new editor interface allows content authors to see their changes live, also an emulator of mobile devices is present so that CAs can see the design of the page in multiple breakpoints. A cool feature is the addition of undo and redo buttons (yeah, we all mess up sometimes 😊). Other cool things coming with Sitecore 9.3: Support for Lucene and Nvelocity has been removed, ExM users will benefit from a refreshed template range and manager experience. Also, Sitecore Forms will have new elements like file upload and confirm email, also form fields will be able to be easily passed in the querystring in a redirect url.

Sitecore AI:

Sitecore AI will provide auto personalization which enables automated personalization for Sitecore XP by using ML to provide user segments insights from the analyzed data. Something important to keep in mind is that the recommendation for this to work is to have a site with at least 12million visits per year so that the recommendations are accurate enough. Some people might ask, is this the end of Cortex? Well, personally I don’t think this is the end for Sitecore Cortex as it provides different features. Cortex allows developers to plug in third-party Machine Learning services (or proprietary ML models) while Sitecore AI doesn’t.

Next year’s Sitecore Symposium will take place in Chicago! I hope to see you all again in the Windy City!