Getting Down in the Technical Trenches at SUGCON
POSTED : November 25, 2015

Did you miss the Sitecore Users Group Conference (SUGCON NA) in New Orleans? With more than 350 attendees, including 56 Sitecore MVPs, the sold-out conference featured 40+ business and technical talks. At the Portland November Meetup, a panel of folks who attended shared highlights of what they saw and heard.

By the community, for the community

Everyone on the panel agreed that the best part of SUGCON was hearing from Sitecore MVPs and other experts about how they’re solving real day-to-day problems. As Sitecore CTO John West put it, “People were there for technical content.” Here are a few of the common themes and takeaways.

Serialization with Unicorn and Rainbow

It was standing room only for Kam Figy, PK Sr. Technical Architect and Sitecore MVP. Kam’s talk, Next Generation Serialization with Unicorn 3, covered the open source tools he developed to ease the pain of item serialization and merge conflicts.

Check out Kam’s slides or dig deeper by following his blog.

For his part, Kam says he was blown away by Mark Stiles’ talk on using machine learning to drive personalization. Mark writes that a genetic algorithm that mimics natural selection is at the core of the technology he’s using: “Instead of several steps including analyzing your analytics, a task list better managed by an algorithm, marketers and content editors would be free to focus on what they do best: creating killer content,” Mark says. “In turn the technical tasks would fall to those who prefer to do them: developers.”

Engage your customers, or your competitors will

In spite of the much-appreciated focus on technical content, all of the panelists mentioned Darren Guarnaccia’s keynote, The Next Disruption.

When threatened with disruption, Darren said, “The first thing we try to do is throw technology at the problem, instead of the harder task which is to rethink our business and what customers really wanted from us in the first place.”

Content x intelligence = context

What if we shifted our emphasis from technology to outcomes and context? The Sitecore Experience Database (xDB) collects customer interactions and connects them to create a comprehensive, unified view of the customer. It makes more data available to marketers in real-time, for automated interactions across all channels.

“Being smart about you and using the things we know to deliver things back to you in a smart way, that’s context,” Darren said. “Everyone’s chasing this dream of experience. And at Sitecore we’ve been talking about experience for years. People do not want products; they want an outcome.”

Did you attend SUGCON? Please share your key takeaways with us.

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