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18

Dec

Lessons from the Episerver Ascend 2019 conference: the importance of delivering value and customer-centric experiences

The Episerver Ascend 2019 conference at Miami Beach was one of the largest gathering of the Episerver community of industry leaders, partners, customers and developers. With a plethora of sessions across Product, Development, Marketing tracks and hands-on labs, it provided excellent insights into the future direction of the platform and what others are doing in their organisation from a process perspective.

Episerver Ascend 2019

Chad Wolf, EVP Chief Customer and Sales Officer, delivered the keynote. The main message here is that in order to accommodate growth you must have products that add value. Episerver has delivered this added-value and continues to invest in its ecosystem to drive success for customers and partners. David Bowen, Head of Product Management, followed it up with a key statistic: 41 weekly releases with over 160 features delivered to date in 2019.

Customer-centricity

The prevailing message throughout the event was customer-centricity and how Episerver empowers organisations to intuitively build customer-centric digital experiences. Everything, from the platform to strategy to implementation, should focus on delivering value to the customer. We envision a world where digital experiences mirror the convenience and empathy of face to face interactions. To understand the intent of the customer, we need to understand human interactions digitally.

Episerver Ascend 2019 Customer Centricity

A customer-centric digital experience platform includes content, commerce, personalisation, analytics, marketing automation and ability to integrate into other applications. This is basically Episerver's core business and their product roadmap reflected this.

Content has a soul

Deane Barker, Senior Director of Content Management and a veteran on content management, gave some interesting and passionate insights on content and its consumption.

Episerver Ascend 2019 content has a soul

Content represents who we are and connects human beings. He described content as having three distinct characteristics - It is created by humans through a subjective editorial process, ultimately intended for human consumption and intended to further an organisation goal. Content is designed to connect and influence.

He pointed out that web sites were ultimately containers of content and expressed concern that many web sites are being built with no thought for the content that’s going in them – “We are so concerned about building the swimming pool that we often forget the water”.

Episerver Insights Analytics

Episerver Insights, which is the user interface for Episerver’s customer data platform, is being given a much-needed revamp starting with a name change to Episerver Analytics. Among the soon to released features are a new embedded analytics dashboard and the ability to segment on user interactions. 

I got the opportunity to connect with Joakim Platbarzdis, Senior Product Manager, who acknowledged the current limitations of Episerver Insights and shared a valuable look into the product roadmap that would enable business users and marketeers to create engaging and personalised experiences by using data stored in Episerver’s customer data platform. 

REST APIs have already been released that allow developers to create rules-based filter definitions and segments from these filters, with this capability soon to be available through the management UI.  

Episerver Foundation

Episerver Foundation is a robust accelerator solution to help partners and customers to accelerate time to market thus reducing costs. This solution will include production quality templates and features and provide reference architecture for all Episerver products. Episerver Foundation currently includes CMS, Commerce, Personalisation, Find and Social, with more to follow.

It is modular, allowing developers to incorporate the product specific projects as needed in their solution.

CMS and Commerce Roadmap

The Editor UI has undergone a refresh to make it more modern, consistent and user friendly. Editing enhancements such as comments for content in edit mode, inline block edit and Smart Publish have already been released to make the editing process more efficient.

With the release of Commerce 13 earlier this year, Episerver continues to release significant product improvements. This includes improvements to the Promotion engine, Power BI embedded analytics dashboards and reports, as well as a standalone Customer Service Application (beta) as a replacement for the Commerce Manager and intended to meet the needs of a call center or live chat.

Cloud Services

Episerver’s mantra is an always-on, always available model and they continue to invest in their cloud services to make it easier for business users and developers alike.

The PaaS Portal has been enhanced with more self-service capabilities for self-deployment, troubleshooting and a Deployment API has been released in beta to facilitate seamless DevOps integration. Updates to the management UI for the SaaS based products will now be automatically pushed avoiding the need for developer intervention and deployment.

There are also plans for smoother deployments with zero downtime and to allow to maintain content in read-only.

Talk to us for your digital needs

I left the conference with renewed confidence in the Episerver platform and excited by its continued growth as a customer-centric digital experience platform.

As an Episerver Gold Partner, we at Empired have the experience and expertise in delivering Episerver solutions. Whether you are in the market for a digital experience platform, looking to leverage your existing Episerver implementation or want to know more about the platform, talk to us to learn how we can help you achieve your business and Customer Experience (CX) goals.

 

 

This blog is part of the #cxreimagine series. For more experts' insights, clients' experiences and to download the whitepaper, click the banner.

For more experts' insights, clients' experience and to download the whitepaper, click the banner #cxreimagine

Posted by: Ronil Rangaiya, Principal Consultant, Digital | 18 December 2019

Tags: customer experience, Digital, #CXreimagine, Episerver


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