The annual Sitecore Symposium is fast approaching, and as a long-time Sitecore Platinum Partner, we’re gearing up to present and exhibit at this year’s event. We also have many team members from across our different departments planning to attend again this year, as it is a great opportunity to learn, share, and network with the Sitecore community from around the world. 

We’ve attended the Symposium every year since its inception over 10 years ago and have seen it evolve to get bigger and better each time. Below, we share our thoughts on how to get the most out of your Sitecore Symposium experience.

Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida, Sitecore Symposium 2018 and 2019

Enjoying our stay at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida for Sitecore Symposium 2018. Looking forward to returning there for the 2019 Sitecore Symposium.

Tip #1: Select which topics you’d like to hear about beforehand.

This year, the Sitecore Symposium has talks in 4 tracks: Digital First Strategies, Developing on Sitecore, Experience Commerce, and DevOps Scenarios. We know that with so many options to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Fortunately, with a little pre-planning, you’ll be able to identify the track(s) most closely aligned to what you’re looking to get out of the conference, and select talks within them.

We reached out to our Sitecore Symposium veterans, as well as our newest MVPs, to find out which sessions they’re most looking forward to attending. We hope this will serve as inspiration to start your own list of talks to attend.

Cortex, Federated Authentication, & Latest News from Sitecore

Tracks: Digital First Strategies & Developing on Sitecore

“A few talks that piqued my interest include ‘What’s new in Sitecore land?’, Stephen Pope’s ‘The Containerized Mind’, ‘Cortex: Making 1:1 personalization a reality’, and ‘10 cool things to do with Federated Authentication’ to learn how to leverage these features to meet customer needs and expectations. (Unfortunately, those last two talks are scheduled for the same slot, so I’ll have to rely on some note sharing.)”
Dan Solovay, Sitecore Technology MVP since 2013

Dan Solovay, Sitecore Practice Lead, Velir, presenting at Sitecore Symposium 2018.

Dan Solovay, Sitecore Practice Lead, Velir, presenting at Sitecore Symposium 2018.

Sitecore Authoring Experience

Track: Developing on Sitecore
“I’m most interested in hearing from Sitecore's product team members Alec Orlov and Alexey Vaschenko on how the Sitecore authoring experience will be streamlined with the introduction of the Project Horizon slate of enhancements. I'm looking forward to learning what this new UI paradigm will mean for content authors and Sitecore implementation partners."
Dan Murphy, Sitecore Strategy MVP since 2018

Mark Stiles, Technical Director, Velir, & Dan Murphy, Director, Business Systems Analysis

Mark Stiles, Technical Director, Velir, & Dan Murphy, Director, Business Systems Analysis

Azure & Cloud

Track: DevOps Scenarios
“I’d like to attend the Azure DevOps talks. I’m looking forward to gaining new insights on how to handle the challenges of moving implementations to the cloud.”
Chris Sulham, 3-time Sitecore Technology MVP, 2016-2018

JSS

Track: Developing on Sitecore
“This year’s Sitecore Symposium agenda features a lot of innovative talks about Sitecore JSS, ranging from operating a Sitecore JSS based site at scale, to using a framework of your choosing to implement a Sitecore JSS based site. These presentations really demonstrate the versatility of Sitecore JSS, and I’m really looking forward to learning more about different use cases for the technology.”
Adam Lamarre, Sitecore Technology MVP 2019

Helix

Track: Developing on Sitecore
“I've recently started working with Sitecore 9 sites that implement Helix, and I’m looking forward to learning best practices to utilize in my upcoming development work supporting Helix sites.”
Erica Stockwell-Alpert, Sitecore Technology MVP 2019

2019 Velir Sitecore MVPs

2019 Velir Sitecore MVPs (from L-R): Dan Murphy, Dan Solovay, Adam Lamarre, Steph Allen, Corey Caplette, Erica Stockwell-Alpert, Mark Stiles

And of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention talks by two of our Sitecore MVPs at this year’s Symposium.

Talks by Velir’s Sitecore MVPs

Connect With Your Audience In A Whole New Way: Using AI to Setup and Empower Your Personalization Experience.

Track: Digital First Strategies
Wednesday, November 6th, 01:30 pm — 02:15 pm

Mark Stiles, Technical Director at Velir, will be talking about how you can use AI to find out what your customers want. In this session, he’ll be sharing how you can talk to your audience directly and take immediate action on what they say, using cutting-edge AI language parsing tools. You’ll also learn how to improve search by allowing natural language questions. He’ll show you how you can use the solution to walk through forms in a conversational way. You’ll also learn how to select a persona, trigger goals, or kick off a campaign - all with your audience's own words. With low-cost, easy to use AI APIs, your website can be wherever conversation happens.

Integrating a Client Framework with Sitecore JSS

Track: Developing on Sitecore
Wednesday, November 6th, 11:35 am — 12:20 pm    

Adam Lamarre, Principal Developer at Velir, will be talking about integrating a client framework with Sitecore JSS. He’ll guide you on how to go beyond the sample applications and integrate a framework of your choosing with Sitecore JSS. He’ll dive into the inner workings of the layout service, routing, and server-side rendering. You’ll get a look at a sample integration with the up-and-coming SvelteJS library and learn how to extend your knowledge of JSS to fit into any client-side stack you might encounter.

Drive Conversions with Conversation: AI and Sitecore Can Get You There

Partner Pavilion Theater session

Mark Stiles, Technical Director and AI Practice Lead, and Dan Murphy, Director, Business Systems Analysis, will be talking about how to enable human connections in a digital world. They'll be sharing how human evolution and success have always been driven by the use of language to connect and work together. They'll discuss how cutting-edge AI language parsing tools have made it possible for you to talk to Sitecore and use Sitecore to talk to your customers in a whole new way. You'll learn how you can bypass complex workflows and launch campaigns, personalization efforts, conversational forms, and search, all through the power of AI! With low-cost, easy-to-use APIs, you can be wherever conversation happens.

Tip #2: Explore the conference through the lens of this year’s theme – Human Connections in a Digital World.

As digital technology evolves and people’s expectations for how digital experiences will meet their needs increase, learning how to use Sitecore’s platform to enable and substantiate human connections is timely and empowering. 

Our clients range from some of the world’s largest nonprofits, foundations, and associations, to higher-education institutions and healthcare systems. The thread that connects all these diverse industries is a need to meet people where they are at digitally (by device and channel) and provide experiences that are engaging and effective.

Creating these seamless customer journeys requires collaboration across all phases of a project ranging from the ideation and design of a digital solution, all the way to its implementation and optimization over the long-term. Sitecore’s evolving platform empowers teams across these phases by offering solutions that can meet an organization’s technical requirements, business goals, and audience needs. 

A big part of the work we do is focused on helping organizations identify how they can meet their audiences' needs through digital channels. This was the inspiration for our #MoreHuman campaign last year. If you attended the 2018 Sitecore Symposium, you might remember this Velirian hanging around our booth and the conference, at large:

#MoreHuman campaign Sitecore Symposium 2018

Swag from Velir’s #MoreHuman campaign, Sitecore Symposium 2018

This year, our theme has continued to evolve and build upon making digital more human. Our campaign and message for this year’s symposium explore how digital experiences can be humanized through storytelling, one of the oldest forms of connection between human beings. Storytelling is a powerful way for a brand to engage its audiences online, inspiring and motivating them to take action. We’ll be sharing how we enable our clients to tap into this powerful communication approach to connect with their audiences. 

The Symposium does an excellent job in ensuring that these themes are represented throughout the event, and this goes far beyond the sessions themselves. From the Partner Pavilion to the evening events, you will get a chance to connect on these topics and have fun while doing it! You might remember some of the fun shenanigans at our booths last year:

caricatures at Velir booth Sitecore Symposium 2018

Top: Velir’s 2018 Sitecore Symposium caricaturist booth! L: Chris Brady, Partner Alliance Manager holding his caricature. R: Divya Mathew, Director of Marketing & Communication holding her caricature.

As you can see, our caricaturists did a great job at bringing all our characters to life last year. This year, we will be taking things to the next level and will have a whole new set of creatures to continue the story. Make sure to swing by our booth (#307) at the Partner Pavilion to learn all about it - you won't want to miss it!

Tip #3: Visit the Partner Pavilion and learn about real-world implementations from Sitecore solution providers.

No Sitecore Symposium would be complete without a visit to the Partner Pavilion. Aside from being a high-energy hive of Sitecore enthusiasts and solution implementors, it’s also the center of human connection. 

It is the perfect place to ask questions and engage in conversation – we’ve found that people are always happy to share their experiences. This is the place where you can find out more about real-world case studies and use cases directly from developers, strategists, designers, and marketers. So, try and make the time to visit booths and speak with people who have first-hand experience utilizing Sitecore to create solutions for organizations in a variety of industries. 

Velir's booth at the Partner Pavilion at the 2018 Sitecore Symposium

Velir's booth at the Partner Pavilion at the 2018 Sitecore Symposium

You'll also find Sitecore's technology partners at the Partner Pavilion, including Coveo, Microsoft, Salesforce, and more. Connect with them to hear how Sitecore works in conjunction with other technologies to construct a fully-functional marketing technology stack.

Don’t forget to leave some room in your bag for some cool swag. Each year, we’ve seen the goodies get more creative and fun. So, make sure to carve out some time to hang out at the Partner Pavilion to connect, chat, pick up some swag, and bring back stories to share with your teams.

We look forward to meeting you!