Sitecore Partners on Connected Commerce, Voice & Challenges
Last month, as many of you may recall, Laura and I headed to Orlando, FL to attend Sitecore’s four-day conference, Sitecore Symposium 2018. This was a chance for attendees to share their knowledge of best practices, wisdom, business use cases, strategies, and trends in the digital world. Not only were we very excited to bring back many insightful stories from some of the most innovative and talented members of the Sitecore community directly from the event floor, we also felt very fortunate to be able to sit down and speak to the many members of the Sitecore community.
As we already began sharing some of that wisdom with all of you through the exclusive video interview of Sitecore’s two seasoned executives, Ryan Donovan and Faraaz Khan, it is time to continue to share the wisdom from the other side of the table! When we were at the event, we also interviewed many technology partners and Sitecore solution integration partners. We think it’s so important to share with our audience the extensive knowledge base of how these partners are utilizing the Sitecore platform and what exactly those partnerships entail. Follow along below as I share a couple of the technology partner stories that we gathered.
Exclusive Interview with CMO of Coveo
To kick things off, we sat down with the CMO of Coveo, Mark Floisand to hear his thoughts on the immediate need that organization are trying to fill in relation to the vast amount of new technologies that are out there. There are so many vendors who are trying to gain the attention of the marketer and as Mark mentions: “the challenge I think for a marketer is to also understand the implications of what one subscribes to down the track.
I think every good marketer should consider when they’re considering new technology, yes there’s a point problem to solve but what’s the context of that and how do you potentially ensure that you’re continuing to get access to things like customer interaction data in this new service or medium or whatever it is that can be put to work elsewhere in your business.”
Along the same lines, we asked Mark what he thinks marketers are still resistant to embrace: “there is no shortage of awareness of the fact that customer expectations have gone up; many organizations are struggling with that kind of catch-up gap, consumer expectations are high and most firms are not yet there.” Mark adds that this challenge stems from customers who are dependent on gathering interaction data but “the struggle is that it is siloed, it exists in pockets.”
With the holidays approaching, the retail and digital spending landscape is dramatically changing – and pretty fast, which brought up a conversation we had with Mark prior to our sit-down interview about connected commerce and how people are consuming the content that is being fed to them:“There’s a whole lot of content that people may want to consume across the enterprise that’s available in pockets maybe they’re Google drive’s or SharePoint Folders or CMS registries or whatever they are, unify all that and make it into one content resource that can be used to inject the most relevant content each individual journey and all of those interactions with that content, capture those feed this into machine learning and have it predict what people are most likely to meet next.” said Mark.
We have that capability already available today so if we just used the data that’s available to us, it can really benefit the way that we look at connected commerce.
Exclusive Interview with CEO of Voicify
Our next interview was with Jeff McMahon CEO at Voicify. Voicify is a voice experience platform providing brands and organizations with the ability to create engaging voice apps in one location and automatically deploy to brands such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana and any other chatbot channel. Very cool! We were excited to hear more about the company:
“We saw voice coming along we saw an opportunity to help brands connect with their customers through voice, though Amazon Alexa, Google Home etc. by making the hurdle to get into that space a lot lower so the two things we are really doing is allowing non-technical folks, marketers, to create voice experiences on our platform and then the second thing we are doing is then pushing that experience out to several different platforms so Google, Amazon, Microsoft Cortana, chatbots etc. So instead of having to have separate development teams working on all of those you can manage it all very easily on our platform” added Jeff.
We know that a lot of brands know of voice and that it should be incorporated into their digital strategy but it’s a little confusing to find that path to that strategy so we asked Jeff how brands can see the light at the end of that tunnel: “with the Voicify platform what you really want to do is figure out how your customers, specifically your demographic of customers is using voice” said Jeff “and then you’re tailoring an experience to that” he added.
The other side of the coin are those brands who want to utilize voice but some of them can’t quite articulate it so we then asked Jeff what some really good value propositions would be for why brands need voice: “If you’re not thinking about voice now, it’s coming very quickly and I would argue it’s already here. 50% of all searches by 2020 will be voice searches so you need to be thinking about it because if you don’t have a strategy around that and someone is searching for your product and you don’t have a voice app on Google and Alexa and all these different platforms either you’ll get one of two answers, the worst scenario is your competitor actually has an app and is answering that question or it’ll come back as saying ‘I don’t know, I don’t know what that product is sorry’, neither one of those are very good.”
Exclusive Interview with Director of Product Marketing of Aprimo
To wrap things up, I had the chance to speak with David Schweer, Director of Product Marketing at Aprimo. Aprimo is technology solution for global marketing operations and digital asset management technology for content, operations, and performance. Aprimo enables enterprises to optimize their brand experience and the resources they use to deliver them.
Aprimo handles what is called an upstream process and handles content throughout it’s entire life cycle stage but where the biggest value David mentions is“managing what we call the work in process stage so how do you bring in your writers, your designers, you subject matter experts to look at content, to contribute to that content and then most importantly review it, approve it, if you need to make changes how do you capture annotations and feedback and then once you’re done with that push it into a digital asset management solution to manage it and then orchestrate that omni-channel experience” says David. David added that using Sitecore to pull in the content makes it extremely easy for your Sitecore team members to deliver that experience very smoothly.
Not only do we like to hear customer successes but we were intrigued to find out the common challenges that David’s experienced his clients facing and he mentioned that it’s mainly the overwhelming amount of content. Swapping out content, and making changes at the last second is very common for large organizations and individual contributors. “When we hear you know directors or people looking at more strategic approaches to solutions, we’re hearing a lot of phrases like content governance, content auditing, how do I know what’s in marketing?, if I have to pull something out of market, how do I know where it’s at? And if I have to make changes to something, how do I scope that work?” said David.
These are all really great questions and things you need to be thinking of when a customer is looking for a change to their site and in order for you to provide them with an accurate estimate.
It’s always refreshing to hear partners discuss the ways in which they collaborate with the technology vendor that they're using. It’s especially refreshing to hear not only the positive side to their success stories, but the challenges in the market, it makes it that much more relatable as we all know this industry is always changing.
Stay tuned as we churn out more captivating videos from the event and get the chance to speak with many of Sitecore's integration partners!