Erika Jones Recaps the ProgressNEXT 2019 Event
Last week, the CMSC Media team had the opportunity to travel to Orlando, FL to attend the ProgressNEXT 2019 Global User Conference. The event was filled with insightful sessions and networking with some of the top minds in the CMS industry. The theme of the week stood out as ‘accelerating digital innovation’, and some of the ideas and ways that partners and customers are implementing Progress Sitefinity Software’s app builds show that things are undoubtedly accelerating.
CMSC Media’s Stephen Medve, Gabriella Pirrone, and I were thrilled to attend as media reporters. This was my first event with CMSC Media. I was very impressed by Progress Software’s (Progress) attention to their detailed event planning, and I found the energy from all the attendees contagious and inspiring. While I was there to host interviews, I learned a great deal from not only the keynote speakers, but also from conversations with customers, partners, and other attendees about their relationship with Progress and the Sitefinity platform.
We kicked things off at the Monday night welcome reception where we met many attendees and speakers, then woke up bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to begin our inaugural day at the First General Session on Tuesday morning. The event opened with Loren Jarrett, Chief Marketing Officer with Progress, taking the stage for opening remarks and introductions. “Not only do we need to digitally innovate to create all those amazing applications and experiences... we need to do so faster than we ever thought possible,” said Loren during her remarks to introduce the reoccurring theme of the week. “To survive and thrive today, we need to continually re-invent how we work and bring an approach of high productivity to everything that we do.”
Yogesh Gupta, Chief Executive Officer with Progress, was welcomed to the stage for his keynote to discuss accelerating digital innovation and how Progress software is helping companies to excel in their market. A focus of Yogesh’s keynote was disruption; he says that every organization must use software to disrupt others before someone else disrupts them. Yogesh explained examples of this and brought some of his team on stage to provide demonstrations. The examples of disruption included CBRE being disrupted by WeWork, Life Fitness by Peloton, and Sysco by Amazon. Yogesh made the point that in order to progress in a market, we must continually find ways to make things work in a more streamlined manner. We must disrupt the current market.
The first demonstration to highlight how Progress is making strides to ‘disrupt’ included a theoretical insurance company that utilized augmented reality (AR) to get an insurance estimate by use of a chatbot, and even provided a percent accuracy. They explained how these types of features could be utilized through Kinvey Studio. It was clear from the presentation that many future apps will be employing artificial intelligence (AI) and AR. The capabilities and advancements that will result as these technologies evolve sounded extremely exciting, and you could feel a buzz in the room as Yogesh’s keynote continued.
Yogesh announced the new Sitefinity 12 during his keynote which will enable Sitefinity to now be available in the cloud. “Sitefinity Cloud empowers organizational scale, eliminates the need for infrastructure management and deeply integrates Microsoft Azure services allowing organizations to focus on their core business.” Progress pledges that this Sitefinity release will retain focus on the digital experience it offers to its customers, and continue to provide the tools that marketers need. Yogesh said that through Progress’s advancements, they are striving toward “making complex things easy.” Sitefinity 12 was made available on May 7, 2019.
Following the keynote launch, the event branched into its many informative breakout sessions led by partners and customers alike, describing how they are using Progress’s platforms and how they engage them to disrupt the market. The sessions throughout the conference demonstrated how remarkably ‘futuristic’ some new capabilities are becoming, and how we might be able to facilitate these capabilities to help solve pressing issues facing humanity today.
An example among the innovative prospects was provided by Jehiel Oliver, the founder, and CEO of Hello Tractor. Jehiel explained that he was working towards solving a problem. Hello Tractor, an Internet of Things (IoT) solution, facilitates the means for farmers, who do not own large agricultural machinery, to book and schedule tractors from the appropriate equipment owners to protect them from loss of yield. The app makes it possible for the tractors to be monitored in real time, while also being better maintained and more profitable. As a response to the lack of large equipment for farmers in Africa, this innovation is not only an incredible business feat; it aids in solving a farming problem in Africa by assisting farmers to plant and harvest their crops on time. It was these types of incredible ingenuities and keynotes that set the tone for ProgressNEXT.
Based on my experience attending this phenomenal event, it’s evident that Progress intensely cares about their customers and their partners. Progress is continually working on their mission to help enterprises thrive by providing the best platform and tools for building and running strategic business applications. To be sure, everyone who attended ProgressNEXT 2019 came away inspired with new ideas, new insights, new connections and feeling informed.
It would be careless of me not to mention the beautiful surroundings that attendees were able to enjoy on top of it all during the conference at the Omni Orlando Resort, which included a golf course, pools, a lazy river, and a wave pool. There was much to do when you weren’t busy taking in all that the event had to offer. The site of the event was truly stunning and added a touch of magic (which may be due to the proximity to Disney) to the week.
Stephen Medve, Gabriella Pirrone and I would like to extend a massive thank you to the Progress executives, partners, and customers that sat down with CMSC Media for exclusive, on-location video interviews. All of you brought original perceptions to us that we are eager to share with the CMSC Media audience. Make sure to watch for that insightful content coming soon.
Finally, I would like to thank the entire Progress team for not only planning the wonderful gathering, but for being so organized, friendly, and helpful throughout the whole event. I would highly recommend to anyone thinking of attending a ProgressNEXT conference to do so in the future—perhaps ProgressNEXT 2020 in Boston! You will surely leave feeling enriched with valuable knowledge and awareness from this informative and fascinating event.