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I had the pleasure of sharing the stage at the 2018 Sitecore Symposium with Mark Stiles, Velir’s resident machine learning and artificial intelligence specialist. As a Platinum sponsor, it was an honor to be given space on the stage at the Partner Pavilion and a voice among so many inspiring and illuminating talks from Sitecore customers and partners alike. 

Mark and I dug into common issues faced by our clients and presented three tools we’ve developed in Sitecore, powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence, to optimize tedious content authoring tasks. Here are the key points from our talk. 

Scenario #1: So much tagging, so little time.

Many of our clients have a lot of web content, sometimes reaching far beyond hundreds of thousands of items. In order to keep content findable for end-users, large multi-faceted taxonomy systems with multiple axes and hundreds of tags are put in place. While this is helpful for site visitors, it can put a huge burden on content authors because they must not only know the full set of tagging options, but of those, they need to know which are the best, most relevant tags for the content at hand.

"Publishing content and ensuring it’s findable often requires immense effort and time."

To tackle some of the thorniest taxonomies and save content authors hours of tedious tagging, we built upon Sitecore’s rules engine using machine learning classification technology. By learning how tags relate to content, whether through rules or language parsing, we can determine how and when to apply relevant tags automatically. This saves time by allowing authors to offload the work of searching for applicable tags and enables them to spend more time writing, promoting, and measuring the effectiveness of high-quality content.  

This solution helps when you:  

  • Have a massive amount of content that needs to be tagged with a robust taxonomy. 
  • Want help understanding the most appropriate tags for your content. 

Scenario #2: Photo hunt and who's who.

For anyone who has used the Sitecore media library, you know how cumbersome it can be to find an image if metadata isn’t in place or if there are thousands of mixed images of all different types. This is the case for many of our clients, so we aimed to develop a solution to ease the challenges associated with finding the right image

Utilizing standard image processing technology backed by machine learning and artificial intelligence, we can identify relevant information about an image to help discern what’s contained within, for example, colors, objects, sizes, and people (and their estimated age and emotion). This empowers content authors to search and filter images based on many criteria. Further, with a relatively small number of pictures of someone, the system can learn what makes their face unique. This allows for quick and easy identification of that person in other images throughout the media library, which can save a lot of time and trouble. 

This solution helps when you:  

  • Want to run an A/B test on a content promotion, testing the effectiveness of different imagery. 
  • Want to set up personalization on a hero banner to deliver more relevant, personalized imagery and content to visitors who have specific interests or fall into a specific demographic. 
  • Need to find an image of a specific person in the media library (especially when you personally don’t know what they look like). 

Scenario #3: Rinse, repeat. Beat repetitive content authoring tasks.

Authoring content in Sitecore can require repetitive actions, multiple steps, and multiple screens.  Over the course of time, these authoring tasks add up to a hefty operational load, especially for our clients who publish a lot of content. Sometimes, authors forget to check all the right boxes or feel overwhelmed by the breadth of authoring options and are uncertain of where to look. 

To help alleviate these classic authoring woes, we’ve developed a chatbot that acts as a concierge for Sitecore authoring needs. Built on powerful new language processing tools and AI, the chatbot allows our clients to chat directly with Sitecore. Imagine how much easier content authoring would be if you could ask Sitecore to publish content for you. 

The interface saves authors the hassle of rummaging around to complete tasks that should be easy or less complicated. It works on a smartphone, in case something needs to be checked on the go. Most importantly, it’s a stripped-down, simple interface that helps authors get work done quickly. 

This solution helps when you:  

  • Have to frequently publish and unpublish content or set publish/unpublish dates. 
  • Forget to unlock content prior to editing it or when you’re done with it. 
  • Want to conduct authoring tasks or check in on Sitecore from your smartphone. 
  • Want to publish an item or a folder with version, targets, related content or subitem options. 

Authoring Efficiencies are Within Reach

We have developed these Sitecore authoring efficiencies, powered by machine learning and AI, to empower your marketing and content teams. Our aim is to enable you to spend less time on labor-intensive content authoring tasks, and more time creating customer experiences that help you achieve your business goals.  

We'd love to show you the work we’ve done so far in this space and how we can build custom authoring solutions that will benefit your teams. Reach out to us at [email protected] to learn more, or comment below to join the discussion. 


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