Sitecore DX Dubai had it all! Sun, sea, and important Sitecore updates and insights from partners and customers alike.

Hundreds of attendees flew in from across the EMEA region to join the growing Sitecore community in the UAE. Let’s dive into what made for a hugely successful and eventful day on the edge of Dubai’s Bluewaters Island.

The Sitecore trilogy

Following a welcome and introduction from Sitecore’s EMEA President, Jose Valles, Sitecore CEO Steve Tzikakis kicked off the proceedings with an update on the company’s vision and direction.

Tzikakis touched on the ever-changing DXP landscape and how Sitecore is adapting with it. “This is a rapidly evolving category,” he began.

“No single company can do everything. It’s important to integrate with different systems. We [at Sitecore] want you to have a choice. We want you to be able to disrupt your own technology stack and combine anything you want,” Tzikakis continued.

To help Sitecore customers do precisely that, Tzikakis laid out the three pillars that Sitecore has chosen to build upon, aptly referring to them as Sitecore’s trilogy.

  • Composable: With the continued success of Sitecore XM Cloud, we intend to keep empowering customers to innovate with composable technology stacks.
  • Versionless: Tzikakis explained the importance of building a future where customers never have to worry about the time required or costs involved in updating your Sitecore instance.
  • AI-infused: While AI and Sitecore are no strangers to each other, Tzikakis said there would be more AI at play in future product updates, particularly concerning content generation.

While XM Cloud's adoption rate continues to impress — with more than 100 customers migrating to the platform in its first year — Tzikakis mentioned that not all customers were ready to fully part ways with Sitecore XP just yet.

“We all know electric cars are the future, but not everybody is ready to make the jump today,” Tzikakis told the crowd, before reiterating that Sitecore will continue to support both Sitecore XP and XM.

He then shared a range of examples of how current Sitecore customers are approaching their future, from L'Oréal to Arabian Oud. Some have continued to use Sitecore XP, even headlessly in some cases, to achieve their goals. Others have combined XP and XM Cloud, particularly where XP customers wanted to level up their personalization strategy. Meanwhile, a third category of Sitecore customers had fully embraced going SaaS with Sitecore XM Cloud and were reaping the benefits as a result.

As we would come to know later in the day, the statistical improvements and advantages brought about by migration to Sitecore XM Cloud were clear. According to Horizontal Digital’s research, one of the event’s Diamond sponsors, Sitecore XM Cloud migration was resulting in a:

  • 27% reduction in technology costs
  • 83% reduction in deployment costs
  • 35% increased speed to market
  • 62% shift in time spent on managing now going to time spent on innovating

The Rule of 7, and Sitecore 10.4 news

Sitecore’s new CMO Kathie Johnson stepped into the limelight to deliver a guide to thriving in the digital age.

Her actionable and data-driven presentation piqued the crowd’s interest, as she shared the following statistics and rules:

  • 67%: The level of the buyer journey that’s complete before they speak to Sales.
  • Rule of 95/5: Just 5% of your customers are in the market at any one time.
  • Rule of 7: How often a person needs to see the same message before they take action.

Kathie on scene

Johnson’s solution to such a passive atmosphere?

A consistent content strategy that delivers the right message, at the right time, to the right audience.

Before the morning sessions wrapped up, Sitecore Chief Product Officer Dave O'Flanagan walked the crowd through Sitecore XP 10.4, which will be released in April.

The product update will bring simplified personalization management, composable integrations and analytics, improved security, and over 200 customer-requested updates.

Dave in scene

O'Flanagan also touched on the trend of Sitecore customers experiencing the benefits of XM Cloud, while acknowledging that many others were also finding success in a step-by-step approach to their migration from XP.

Some companies are choosing to “eat the elephant one step at a time, rather than experience one big bang,” O'Flanagan explained.

To close the morning session, Sitecore Chief Customer Success Officer Lee Miles led an expert panel that included Richard Rust, Group VP of Communications for DP World, Naji Abdulla Alawi Almessabi, Director of Value Realization for TAMM, and Tariq Alhindi, Executive Director, Digital Solutions & Services for Saudi Electric Company.

people on scene

The four discussed how Sitecore technology is helping them maximize their ROI and the roads they are taking to get the most out of their digital experience platform, and how they are approaching composable and the move to the cloud.

Microsoft: Sitecore’s strategic partner for cloud innovation

The featured guest speaker on the main stage for the day was Microsoft’s Regional Executive Director and Chief Partnership Officer Tamer Elhamy.

MSFT

Elhamy reiterated Sitecore and Microsoft’s strategic partnership, particularly regarding cloud innovation. He described the partnership as “Two Leaders, One Ambition,” asserting that “when the world’s leading web platform and most trusted cloud platform come together, they empower exceptional experiences that delight at every stage.”

Sitecore partners and customers inspire during breakouts

After a wonderful lunch overlooking the Arabian Gulf, attendees settled in for practical lessons and riveting stories from Sitecore customers and partners.

First up was Sitecore Platinum Partner Horizontal Digital and Sitecore customer Miral Group. Karan Chimnani, eCommerce and Digital Marketing Director of Miral Group, and George Smith, Regional Marketing Director at Horizontal Digital, presented their successful Yas Island continuous improvement framework.

They talked attendees through three separate examples of how Yas Island was constantly tapping into data and feedback from customers and customer interactions to improve their products and services. This is in contrast, the two argued, to the traditional strategy of winding down digital transformation after a new product is launched.

Sitecore Platinum Partner Omnia talked the crowd through their high-pressure, high-stakes project to bring COP28’s digital presence into being before the mammoth four-week climate change event. Adam Booth, Omnia’s Group Managing Director, and Jamie Graham, Omnia’s Director of Digital Transformation & Consulting, were on stage to tell the story.

The project itself was constantly evolving, with new features, considerations, and tasks being added to the mix in the run-up to the largest climate change event on earth.

The end result was a security-hardened, 170+ page website hosted locally on Microsoft Azure’s UAE North Cloud. The website even boasted a low-carbon toggle, which drastically reduced the loading of images without impacting the user experience.

Publicis Sapient, another Sitecore Platinum Partner, presented their record-breaking Diriyah Gate project. As part of Saudi Arabia’s plan to revolutionize the country’s tourism industry, the time-sensitive project involved launching 4 websites in just 16 weeks.

Discussing the enthralling project live on stage was Sharon Fernandes, Publicis Sapient’s Senior Client Partner, MENA, Ryan Loots, Publicis Sapient’s Engineering Lead, MENA, and Deep Walia, Diriyah Gate’s Interactive Strategy Director.

The two teams worked seamlessly together to race against the clock. Relying on constant communication and empowered decision-making, they built 50+ templates, crafted 200+ components, and wrote 240,000 lines of code to hit the 16-week deadline.

In addition, there were breakout sessions from Assurex, Brimit, Sagittarius, Valtech, and Accenture.

As the sun dipped below Dubai’s skyscrapers, Sitecore DX Dubai slowly wound down. What’s Sitecore’s next major event? Well if you had not heard, the window for Call for Speakers and the Sitecore Experience Awards is now open for Sitecore Symposium 2024 in Nashville! Don’t miss your opportunity to take the stage and share your story.

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