What an absolutely incredible day at Sitecore DX 2023 Minneapolis! The fourth stop in our event series this year was filled with news and amazing content for the 500+ people in attendance.

It’s been quite the week for Sitecore, with events starting with the MVP Summit, Partner Connect, DX Minneapolis, and wrapping up with SUGCON North America on Thursday and Friday.

Product news from our CEO

As he has at all four DX events this year, our CEO Steve Tzikakis provided the opening keynote to really get things going. But this time, he had some very exciting product news to share.

XM Cloud, our cloud-native enterprise CMS, has been adopted by our customers faster than any other product in Sitecore’s history – more than 100 in the first year.

And to keep the momentum going, Tzikakis introduced everyone to XM Cloud Plus. The new offering combines many of our cloud-native composable products, including Personalize, CDP, and AI-powered Search to give brands a powerful tool to connect with their customers.

He also announced the launch of Sitecore Accelerate, a new program designed to help Sitecore customers speed their migration from Sitecore XM and XP to XM Cloud.

“We understand that making the move is not easy,” Tzikakis said. “But we have set up a program that puts Sitecore on your side of the table -- offering you knowledge, resources, and tools. Sitecore Accelerate is not only focusing on our customers, but also the capabilities of our partners. We believe that only together, can we all make the move to XM Cloud in a smooth and seamless way.”

It was all part of his overall keynote theme and Sitecore’s overarching strategy – Disrupt, Accelerate, Innovate. And to share an example of this, Steve welcomed the CMO and Chief Supply Chain Officer of Pet Supplies Plus, Mile Tedder to the stage.

The two talked about the reasons why Pet Supplies Plus chose Sitecore for their DXP, how Sitecore is helping them personalize content to provide the best possible digital experiences to replicate their brick-and-mortar in-store experience for their customers.

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Sitecore Experience Awards for Americas revealed

It’s that time of year again – as we announced the Sitecore Experiences Awards winners from the Americas region. Overall, we’re proud to honor those who have truly shown excellence in their use of Sitecore technology to deliver experiences that are making a difference.

Sitecore customers United Airlines, Atkore, Bachman’s, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and Cytiva took home the prizes in their respective categories, along with their solution partners. Jeff Nunn, VP of Application Development at Meritage Homes, was awarded on an individual level for Best Leadership in an Experience Transformation, which was a new category this year.

And Kimberly-Clark and VIU by HUB were awarded Judges’ Choice awards. To see the full list of the honorees, read the press release here.

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Site and dates for Sitecore Symposium 2024

That’s right, it’s back! In a surprise announcement, Acting CMO Hannah Grap shared an unexpected video that Sitecore will be hosting our big conference in Nashville from October 14-17 next year.

After taking the year off to host the regional DX events, Sitecore Symposium will be heading to Music City. Nashville is one of the most popular destination cities these days and is an emerging tech hub. It was named the #1 hottest job market in the U.S. by the Wall Street Journal last year. It’s also been tapped as one of the best places to start a career and one of the top spots in the country for entrepreneurs.

The vibrant downtown scene, with its outstanding reputation for music, food, and southern hospitality, is going to make this a Symposium to remember. You will not want to miss it!

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Fascinating guest keynote by AI expert Noelle Russell

In an extremely entertaining guest keynote, Noelle Russell, the Chief AI Officer at the AI Leadership Institute, shared her personal career experiences, as she’s moved from IBM to working at Amazon and one of the first people on the Alexa team to her role at Microsoft as an MVP.

She focused on making sure that everyone in attendance knew that AI can and should be used as a force for good, and to take precautions and ask questions to ensure people are unintentionally harmed by advances in the technology.

So while ChatGPT and other advances in generative AI hold so much potential, it’s important to remember that people are the ones feeding the “machine”.

“Be intentional. Be mindful,” Russell said. “The biggest danger to an AI project is having a room full of people who all nod in agreement with each other. Ask questions, push back. Gather diverse voices.”

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Sitecore’s product roadmap

Roger Connolly, VP of Product Management at Sitecore, provided the keynote that many customers in attendance are always keen to hear – what we’re doing with our products and where we’re going.

Connolly outlined all the latest innovations and advances Sitecore has added to XM Cloud and its version-less nature, meaning no more time-consuming or resource-heavy upgrades. New features and functionalities are now rolled out automatically, as Tzikakis said in his session “just like your Apple iPhone or Watch.”

Acting CMO Hannah Grap then walked everyone through Sitecore’s own journey toward composable. We are working our way through all the steps needed to launch Sitecore.com on XM Cloud, using the best-of-breed capabilities that include not only Sitecore technology but also that come from some of our best partners, to get us the business results we’re looking for to drive growth.

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Partners, brands drive informative sessions

We could never put on a show like we did without the support of our sponsors, and they delivered great content as always.

Attendees got to hear and learn from a wide variety of well-known brands including United Airlines, along with Americaneagle.com, and how they are leveraging Sitecore technology to give passengers a better customer experience through their digital signage at airports.

Also presenting were Microsoft, Valtech, Rightpoint, Horizontal Digital and American Family Insurance, Meritage Homes, Perficient, and XCentium, Gowling WLG and Altudo, as well as a showcase from Accenture/Avanade, who shared their roadmap of launching Avanade.com on Sitecore.

Sitecore’s designated charity for the day was AdoptAClassroom.org, and Ryan Jordan, SVP of operations, programs, and technology, joined Sitecore’s Mike Fenn onstage to explain the mission of the non-profit, which is to help supply teachers all over the nation with school supplies for their classrooms.

Attendees were asked to take an “Are you smarter than a 5th grader” test. Thanks to all the work put in by people onsite, Sitecore will be making a $5,000 donation to AdoptAClassroom.org.

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Customer and Partner panel to wrap the day

To wrap the day, our Chief Customer Success Officer Lee Miles moderated an expert panel that included Venkat Pethari from Atkore, Sara Ranson from Pet Supplies Plus, and Rahul Khosla from Altudo.

Pethari and Ranson went through where they are on their composable journey with Sitecore, while Khosla shared their feedback and themes he’s seeing from clients as they explore how to get on a SaaS, cloud-native solution.

“We’re really seeing a focus on business value as an ask from clients,” Khosla said. They’re asking for things to be rolled out faster than ever.”

Jason Masini is Senior Director of Content Marketing at Sitecore. Follow him on LinkedIn.