Industry Insights

CMS-Connected Recaps Acquia Engage 2019

Last week, the CMS-Connected team took on The Big Easy, New Orleans LA, to take part in Acquia’s premiere conference, Acquia Engage. The industry’s brightest gathered together in the home of jazz music and creole cuisine for three days of learning and conversation. We hit the ground running as soon as we arrived to capture the great conversations and stories from the event. If you follow along with CMS-Connected on our social channels, you likely saw pictures of us and a few of our interviewees enjoying the fantastic time we were having.  

Acquia graciously invited senior analyst, Stephen Medve and I to attend this wonderful event and record interviews with some of Acquia’s top executives, partners, and customers. As always, we will be sharing our compelling interactions with all of our readers over the coming weeks.  

Engage kicked-off Acquia Engage 2019Monday evening with the opening reception, where everyone was able to mingle and compare notes on what sessions they were planning to attend. The event’s slogan, ‘experience digital freedom’, was visible all over the venue, guiding the conversation towards how business could effectively empower the concept of digital freedom. Tuesday morning, the event surged into action with the general session’s opening keynote by Acquia CEO, Mike Sullivan. Mike launched the discussion by describing Acquia’s roadmap and the future of digital experience (DX).  

During the opening session, Acquia revealed the findings from their global survey of the state of CX. According to their survey:

  • 90% of consumers said brands were missing the expectation for personalization, and
  • 94% of marketers felt the same.

Understandably, the audience was quite aghast at these stats. With those statistical bombs being dropped, personalization became the white-hot topic for conference participants; clearly, there is an urgent need for work to be done in this area. Other points that stood out from the report:

  • 90% of customers say convenience is the top experience they are looking for when engaging with a brand online
  • 85% of marketers say a human touch is needed alongside technology for the best customer experience.  

Acquia CTO and Drupal founder Dries Buytaert took the stage to further enlighten attendees with the Acquia roadmap and all things DX. Dries discussed Cohesion for Drupal 8. The low-code add-ons, Dries says, will take a site’s build time from “months to weeks.” Cohesion enables a build to be performed much quicker and employs user-friendly drag-and-drop components. Marketed as a site building tool for everyone, Cohesion empowers both marketers and developers to work seamlessly.  

Other notable moments from the Acquia team included Product Marketing SVP, Tom Wentworth, discussing content hub, and announcing the move to Acquia CaaS (Content as a Service) sometime in 2020. Tom offered early access to the new CaaS model to customers who would want to be tightly involved in the process of helping build the product. It will be interesting to see how this CaaS model progresses over the next year and beyond.  

Eric Fullerton, Product Marketing Manager at Acquia, also graced the stage during the opening general session to discuss Acquia’s marketing cloud and how to create personal connections. Eric described how, with Acquia Lift, marketers are empowered to personalize on every channel with no code required. “With Lift, personalization is easier than ever,” Eric told the crowd. Acquia’s acquisition of Mautic earlier this year was big news for the digital experience company, and he explained how the open-source marketing automation tool added value for Acquia customers. Eric declared that with Mautic, users could be “up and running in as little as two weeks and seeing value in ROI.” Feedback on Mautic, thus far, reveals that customers have been enjoying the power flexibility and ease of use. 

Once the opening keynotes were finished, our CMS-Connected team got to work with Acquia Engage 2019interviewing Acquia executives, partners, and customers. Stay tuned for our informative video conversations and expect to hear interesting stories that really exemplify what Acquia can truly do for their customers.  

CMS-Connected also took to the partner pavilion to ask many of the event sponsors about why they attended Acquia Engage, and about their partnership with the digital experience platform. It was great to hear from the vast array of partners and how Acquia’s best-in-breed approach is right for them.

All of this content and more from Acquia Engage 2019 will be coming your way within the next couple of weeks, so be sure to keep an eye our website and social media channels.  

Acquia Engage Awards and Girls Who Code 

I was proud to be on the panel of judges for this year’s Acquia Engage Awards. There were many incredible submissions, and I was honored to be able to see so many incredible sites that have been built on the Acquia platform. Congratulations to all the winners!

Find the list of Acquia Engage award winners here.  
Acquia Engage 2019
As a thank you for participating as a judge, Acquia made a donation in my name to Girls Who Code, the organization that is on a mission to close the gender gap in technology and change the pre-conception of what a programmer looks like and does. Throughout the event, Acquia partnered with Girls Who Code to raise money for their worthy cause, and because of the incredible generosity of Engage attendees, Acquia surpassed its goal of raising $10,000 for the program. Thank you to everyone who donated to this important industry cause!  

Ending Thoughts 

This was my first Acquia Engage, and it was a fabulous event. The Acquia team did a wonderful job of organizing and ensuring an insightful mix of professionals would be in attendance. There was never a dull moment between the keynotes and sessions, and the venue was marvelous.  

Acquia graciously hosted an impressive after-party at Fillmore, a soulful and colorful venue setting in the heart of NOLA. With attendees wanting to celebrate a successful day of learning and networking, there was no better way to enjoy everything it had to offer. While connecting with new and old colleagues and reflecting upon what was gained at the conference, Engage’s guests immersed themselves in New Orleans’ most talented musicians, costumed dancers, and savored some of the best southern food around.
CMS-Connected would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to participate in an interview with our team. We deeply appreciate capturing these thought-provoking conversations, and they’re at the heart of why we love to go to these kinds of events. Whether we Acquia Engage 2019were on camera or off, your valuable insights are what fuels our site.

Most of all, thank you to the entire Acquia team for including us in Engage 2019. We had an outstanding time and cannot wait for you to see the content we were able to collect. On top of hosting a wonderful event, Acquia staff were extremely well organized, friendly, and helpful to our team, which enabled us to host the best interviews possible. Thank you, Acquia, and we hope to see you next year!

Erika Jones

Erika Jones

Erika Jones is a Tech Reporter and Content Marketer with CMSC Media. Erika enjoys combining her creativity with her technical skills through graphic design. She has a background in communications and marketing and has a flair for social media and content creation. Erika is an avid traveller and enjoys seeing firsthand how technology connects us all in business and pleasure.

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