I started the week by hitting the ground at MCO Monday morning and heading straight for the Partner Advisory Council invite only meeting. Sitecore shared highlights we could expect to hear more about in the coming week. We met the new VP of Partner Success, Debra Pfundstein. Additionally, the partners were invited to break outs to provide feedback to Sitecore to help drive product innovation and partner development. I finished the week up with the Sitecore MVP Summit, but that was full of ‘No Sharing Allowed’ slides, so no blogging on that, but trust me – more cool innovations and enhancements on the way.

I can share we are forming a Strategy MVP Advisory Council, to which I am personally looking forward to contributing. And it’s called SMAC, so we can have fun with that name.

Monday night commenced the public conference with a reception in the Partner Pavilion, complete with the opportunity to learn CPR and play with puppies. What else speaks more to ‘Creating Connections in a Digital World’ than hearts and puppies?? Umm, cats? 😊

Onto the exciting Sitecore announcement highlights that rolled out all week.
Disclaimer: These are not all of the announcements and any summarizing is mine, not approved by Sitecore or Arke legal teams.

Sitecore AI

Sitecore AI was announced jointly by Sitecore CEO, Mark Frost, and Microsoft’s EVP of Cloud and AI, Scott Guthrie. Scott took a half step over from the Microsoft Inspire conference, that was happening just down the road. (lots of tech geeks in the MCO airport last week!)  They announced the partnership which leverages ML and Azure to deliver Sitecore AI for Auto-Personalization and is currently being used by Microsoft Partner Network. This was exciting news for everyone, but especially the marketers in attendance.

Vision for SaaS

Mark Frost also shared that Sitecore has announced its vision for SaaS. And that’s about all we know about that. We’ll see something Summer 2020. (A personal note… summer in Australia is December.) We’re looking forward to learning more about this in the coming months.

Helix 2.0

Sitecore is focused on increasing adoption of Helix by providing more documentation, guidance and improvements. Look for Habitat to go away, as the naming was causing a lot of confusion and it was getting re-purposed in ways that it was never intended. A Helix Certification exam is now available.  And we can expect to see Helix for SXA in the future.

Improvements to SXA (Sitecore Experience Accelerator)

SXA has gotten 3 major improvements that are all geared toward creating a better experience for front end developers.

  1. Look for stronger documentation on SXA OOTB components.
  2. JSS like CLI will create improved workflows.
  3. They announced the adoption of .NET text templating language Scriban.

What’s new in Sitecore 9.3

  • No more Lucene. I think we can all agree RIP, Lucene. Let’s go, Azure Search.
  • SXA versioning will align to Sitecore versioning, which will alleviate a lot of confusion. Thank you, Sitecore.
  • SIA- Sitecore Installation Assistance. A simple GUI wizard will walk you through and accelerate your set up.
  • Dev choices and flexibility- You can mix and match your development approaches. You can have a pubic facing site built on .NET MVC, a JSS app and a separate multi-tenant site built on SXA.
  • Horizon is coming next year in 9.3.x (tba)- This will eventually phase out Experience Editor. It will include the additional of ‘undo’ and ‘redo’ buttons. You’ll be able to simulate devices on a particular date in the future so you’ll be able to view changes on different devices and dates.

Celebrity Sightings: 

There were notable keynotes throughout the conference, segmented by tracks. Tracks were available for Marketers, Commerce and Dev. Shout out to one of my favorite analysts, Brendan Witcher, who was the Commerce Keynote. Elissa Fink was the Marketing Keynote and Emily Freeman spoke on DevOps.

Mainstage keynotes for all attendees featured Magic Johnson and Platon.

Magic Johnson created 1:1 experiences by selecting individuals from the audience and sharing a story directly with them, followed by a chest bump. I’m pretty sure if he had picked me his chest bump would have hit somewhere in the air above my head- he’s really tall, but also incredibly humble and authentic!

Platon wowed us all with vivid imagery that evoked deep emotion. He reminded us of the role each individual contributes in our respective societies. While digital has carved out a permanent place in our personal and professional lives, it’s still up to us create human connections.

Stay tuned as we learn more about each of the announcements and continue sharing through Arke Thinking.