Sitecore EMEA Partners Summit 2015 – conference notes

Today was the Sitecore EMEA Partner Summit 2015 at the Riverbank Park Plaza hotel in London. We, Endava, are a Platinum Sitecore partner and I’ve often considered Sitecore’s partner programme one of the best developed technology partnership programmes out there – and certainly one that other companies could learn a lot from.

These notes were taken at the conference using OneNote and a stylus (or perhaps it should be called a Microsoft Pen ha ha!!) – which I then quickly converted to text. I’ve had a quick read through, but if anything looks out of context, it probably is – please comment at the bottom of the post and I’ll correct it.

Simon Etherington (UK MD)

It’s been a good year for Sitecore in terms of sales.

  • Since Feb this year Sitecore has won every head to head Enterprise deal against Adobe.
  • Sitecore are winning 13 deals a month
  • Starting to move into public sector clients
  • Sitecore now in the top right of the top right Gartner Magic Quadrant as of July 2015
  • Sitecore are pushing ROI as a reason to choose the product, and have an ROI calculator for the professional services teams to partners
  • Last year only 1% of clients left Sitecore, and those were clients which had a takeover or massive reorganisation

Maged Fahmy, EMEA Director of Partners

Sitecore did some research with partners and the unanimous answer was simplification

The 3 Cs:

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Commitment

Darren Guarnaccia, Chief Strategy Officer, Sitecore

  • Darren talked about the Experience Economy
  • Our combined customers are under threat, and they are simply throwing more technology at the problem.
  • He showed the content Lunarscape, plus new technologies are appearing daily, making it worse.
  • Everyone is trying to create experiences: Apple, Amazon, Uber
  • These companies have rethought the experience from the ground up. They removed friction from the process. They made the experience easy, some even a joy to use.
  • He described how “Customers want outcomes not products.” I didn’t agree with this. It’s like saying cavemen didn’t want to hunt animals, they enjoyed eating.
  • Take Sitecore customers through this journey of rethinking customer experiences and outcomes, not just a CMS integration. And take them right through the experience lifecycle.
  • He used Danone Nutria, the medical nutrition part of the food giant, as a recent company to do this. They take a mum (or is that a mom) through a pregnancy and new parenthood, based on the date of birth of the child.
  • Important to link the experience to:
    • Business KPIs
    • Digital goals
  • Take an outside-in view aka Pragmatic Marketing

“By 2016, nearly 90% of companies believe that customer experience will be their primary basis for competition.” Gartner, 2014

  • He talked about the customer experience and personalisation; driving analytics. All done at scale, and automating marketing decisions.
  • Some new feature being launched that I’m forbidden from broadcasting at this stage.
  • A large percentage of customers are on an old version of Sitecore, so he pushed the reasons for customers to upgrade.
  • There’s still a focus on small customers when want a simple, straightforward small licence. I thought that was jolly nice.

Malt Pilgrim, Sitecore Partner Programme

  • The partner organisation has been reorganised into types, tiers & competencies.
  • There’s a new Global Platinum Partner tier.
  • Competencies are linked to key Sitecore features. Gain competencies with certified individuals and provide a customer reference.
  • There was more encouragement to use SPN (Sitecore Partner Network) online. Sitecore are investing a lot into a newer version of SPN and I guess it enables them to achieve an efficient bigger scale.
  • Marketing Support, from targeted campaigns to thought leadership & awards are available – the higher the status, the more support.

Telligent – Jon Allen

Disclaimer: We use Telligent products at Endava and I’ve always been a big fan of Community Server. I also couldn’t get my head around a. Why they weren’t acquired by Microsoft (I have my theories), b. Why they weren’t acquired by Sitecore (I have my theories here too), c. Why they bought Zimbra.

  • Telligent are now part of Verint – having been sold by Zimbra 4 weeks ago. “Getting the brand back together.” Was the corny, but funny pun used on stage.
  • Telligent provide on domain, branded communities. All data is owned by the brand rather than Twitter, Google or Facebook.
  • There are new pricing & licensing models – much more competitive than the previous, and very expensive, versions. I checked this at the break and I agree Telligent is much more affordable now.
  • There is an Open-source, comprehensive Sitecore API with Telligent available on Github.
  • They gave two good demos of Telligent integration on a single domain at Carnival Cruises, and the second with the Sitecore Community where Telligent is on a subdomain, providing faster, more comprehensive and out of the box functionality.

Final presentations

I couldn’t read my writing of the names, and the slides won’t be available for a while.

  • About a third of the room have been Sitecore partners for years or more.
  • Sitecore’s independent research shows clients still want to pay for installation based, rather than usage-based pricing.
    • It’s likely that pricing will become installation based and consumption based in the future
  • There were some other interesting commercial releases that I’m not allowed (under NDA) to divulge in public yet

Simon Etherington

Simon returned to stage and said something quite poignant:

“The thing I like the most about working at Sitecore is that we can go into any business, in any sector, in any industry, any sized company, and we have a solution for them.”


Adam did a demo of their Digital Asset Management platform with Sitecore integration.


Rackspace gave their hosting presentation.

  • People who understand cloud hosting and applications such as Sitecore are hard to find, because there aren’t many of them. I agree with this.
  • Cloud trends are moving into 2 camps: Managed and Unmanaged (i.e. Do It Yourself)

Digital Transformation: Sitecore Optimisation Services

This was a great presentation, but I tried sitting back and taking it all in rather than quickly writing it down. Here are the key points:

  • It’s experiences that drive growth. 30 years ago it was all about the product, then became the brand and now it’s the service.
  • Four requirements for an optimisation engagement:
  1. Acknowledgement (from senior management)
  2. Acceleration (“That’s good. Now go even faster”)
  3. Agility (“Oh. And we’ll need you to change direction. Every day.”)
  4. Automation (“Consolidate all digital platforms to one, and in Sitecore’s case, this business case often covers the cost of the core platform).
  • He then talked about:
  1. Insight
  2. Integration (Cue picture of a flight deck)
  3. Immediacy (Agile marketing, iterative, incremental, measureable, taken in small steps)
  4. Inspiration (Give clients the confidence to change)
  • When presenting the Digital Transformation business case, his advice was:
    • Have the ROI (Return On Investment) ready; be aligned with IT, Marketing and Finance (with a good financial business case ready)
    • Sitecore have a few components/ templates to include in the business case
    • Sitecore also provide an ROI calculator
  • In the example Business Cases, he showed:
    • Self-service will save us money (ÂŁx)
    • Self-service will attract an extra revenue (ÂŁy)
    • The increased web visits at the current conversion rate are worth (ÂŁz)
  • He recommended an eBook: The Business Case for the Connected Customer.

The conference started off really well, seemed to get a bit dry towards the middle and afternoon sessions, but then I really liked the final business case presentation.

Other technology vendors could learn from Sitecore how to develop, nuture and inspire a successful partnership programme.

Update: I made an error in the original post questioning why Zimbra acquired Telligent. In fact Telligent acquired Zimbra (although I still question the reason). My apology for this error.

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