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Sitecore: AI, SaaS and value realization

What you need to know from Sitecore Symposium 2019

Dec. 9, 2019 | A Q&A with Burk Buechler and Jeff Hirner

Connection structure. Connecting dots and line as an abstract representation of "Human Connections in a Digital World"

This year’s Sitecore Symposium wrapped in sunny Orlando where experts, partners and customers came together to grow from the past and map toward the future. Whether you were able to join the insightful few days of sessions and keynotes or not, here are a few of our major takeaways we gathered around this year’s theme, “Human Connections in a Digital World.”


Buechler: Most keynotes and sessions touched on how organizations are placing more energy into amplifying their customer experience, and how to do so at scale without losing that human touch. Symposium really pushed personalization, one of the top ways to gain a competitive advantage yet a top challenge for many firms to correctly implement and scale. Sitecore announced Sitecore AI, a new automated system releasing in December 2019 that integrates with Sitecore content hub to automate personalized digital experiences and site content.

Hirner: The idea of personalizing your content, whether it’s on your website or in a campaign, is definitely on most marketers’ agendas. The combination of the new Sitecore AI with their content hub tells a really nice story around human connection—using digital, AI and personalized content to make those online personalized engagements feel human. But right now personalization adoption overall is still relatively low, and the reasons are that clients don’t have the right people to do it, they need an upgrade in technology or they need a better technology partner.


Buechler: Sitecore had big news on Day One, the biggest being that they announced they’re replatforming to a software as a service strategy. Basically, they’re moving away from customers being able to install their own experience platform and content hubs, to an SaaS where Sitecore turns their software on for you and upgrades are automatic.

Hirner: What this means is that clients who are on the current platform and want to go to the new platform will likely need to make a significant investment. But Sitecore pointed out that this is all a year away and they’re going to invest in the current platform in the next five years. Meaning: don’t worry; be excited and you’ll have the time necessary to move to the new platform when it meets your business objectives. That said, I expect the announcement will bring up lots of questions, like Do I need to worry about this and upgrade my platform? What should I invest in now on the current platform and what investments should I hold off on? Are there things I can do now to make it easier to upgrade to the new platform later?


Buechler: The majority of our conversations at Sitecore Symposium revolved around needing help with management optimization. This is a challenge we continue to confirm in the market regarding content management platforms and one that we’re adept in solving. Customers need a very tangible look at their existing strategy and approach to confirm the direction they need to go in and bring the right talent and expertise to the table to make it happen. They need both capabilities together.

Hirner: No two companies have an identical CMS instance, regardless of the platform. The tools are powerful, but there’s a need for differentiation and customization around them, their management and their advanced features. I imagine after this year’s Symposium, our customers will look to us as a guide to walk them through the product updates and roadmap and what it means for them, to keep them updated on what’s real and what’s imminent. Whether you’re in marketing or a technologist, having a knowledgeable Sitecore solutions partner is key in realizing that platform value.

Burk Buechler – Managing Director, TEKsystems Digital
A dynamic leader with over 25 years of experience across industries and sectors, Burk brings a distinctive blend of innovation, leadership and problem-solving expertise.

Jeff Hirner – Chief Operating Officer, One North
An experienced digital leader, Jeff is responsible for running the operations of One North as they work to help their clients leverage digital to grow revenue, deepen customer relationships, and attract and retain the talent. One North is part of TEKsystems Global Services.