My favorite take-aways from Sitecore Symposium 2017

  • Posted on November 14, 2017
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Sitecore Symposium

A few weeks ago, I was so fortunate enough to be in Las Vegas at the biggest Sitecore event of the year, Sitecore Symposium 2017, with more than 2,500 participants from all around the world.

Participating in events like this is the best opportunity to deep dive into a specific subject matter, and it was very exciting see how much momentum Sitecore has gained relating to product innovation.

This year, I was also a speaker in a panel session entitled, “Building Sitecore solutions that scale,” with two other Sitecore experts. And since this was right before the keynote by Mark Hamill, I can forever claim that I have been ‘warming up for Luke Skywalker’ - how cool is that!

There were several exciting new capabilities in Sitecore Experience Platform 9 (released during event) with 9.1 revealed:

  • Analytics: Sitecore Cortex will apply machine-learning to Sitecore’s Experience analytic database (xDB) to deliver real-time insights. This can significantly increase the value of all the data stored in xDB and that will add AI to the art of presenting the right content in the right context.
  • Cloud: Sitecore is going all in on Microsoft Cloud (Azure) with additional support for Platform as a Service (PaaS) and several improvements making DevOps easier like a brand-new installation procedure via PowerShell and easy infrastructure provisioning directly from Azure marketplace.
  • Integration: Sitecore xConnect APIs open up Experience Database (xDB) so we can now easily import data from any source and use it for better personalization and analytics. This will significantly improve Sitecore’s ability to act on both online and offline data when creating optimized omnichannel experiences across the lifetime of a customer.

As a Sitecore Commerce MVP (most valuable professional), what I found most interesting though was all the things Sitecore has been working on relating to Commerce, and I am happy to say, that there are exciting things coming very soon when Sitecore releases Commerce 9.

Most important, Sitecore has completely rewritten the last of the legacy from the old Microsoft Commerce Server, which used to be at the core of the solution, so Sitecore commerce is now based on a brand new modern micro-services .NET architecture. This will make deployment, operation, scaling, extensions and many other things so much easier than in the past, and the whole thing can run in Azure.

The initial release of Sitecore Commerce will focus on B2C with additional B2B features coming shortly. The commerce engine itself contains all the things you would expect from a modern commerce product like multiple catalogs, inventory, cart, campaigns, payment providers, etc.

What really differentiates Sitecore Commerce though is that everything is accessible through the Sitecore frontend allowing us to use all the goodies of Sitecore Experience Platform like personalization and analytics when presenting products. In addition, this integrated approach delivers a great content/product editor experience since shops and products can be edited in place while viewing the final site.

Sitecore will also release a new Storefront accelerator, which can be used as a solid basis for creating your own shops based on the Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA). It follows the recommended Sitecore architecture principles (HELIX), which means it is not just demo-code, but something close to what you would build yourself, and can save real effort in a project.

I am really looking forward to test driving this new commerce solution at scale in the near future, and I definitely think Sitecore is on the right track, based on what they have shown so far.

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