I have some excellent news, so please make sure you read to the end. But to start with, let me share a story of mine with you.
It was 2016 when I made my first trip to SUGCON which was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was the first time I met the global Sitecore community and here is why I was so much impressed.
Working with the platform involved lots of collaboration with other folks as Sitecore is exceptionally flexible to customization and back in those days documentation was not as good as it became in the past years. So to stay effective with day-to-day tasks, platform enthusiasts collaborated on sharing their knowledge and findings, use cases and best practices, etc. Sitecore itself gave this movement huge support by introducing and cultivating Sitecore MVP Program, awarding the most valuable of those professionals.
SUGCON Europe is traditionally the first big event of a calendar year used to celebrate and award these individuals and hand them trophies. On that day I did not receive an award, maybe because the jury considered I did not have enough contributions, so was only watching other guys from my country (United Kingdom) being awarded.
But that did not make my day sad: I was amazed by the other opportunity – I met all those legendary people who created materials I learned from. I could approach each of them by asking any questions in person, and they would be so eager to help me with it. The whole event kept an atmosphere of a technology drive, full of discoveries, and lined up a series of really high-quality presentations carefully chosen by the organizers. What a blast of knowledge!
On that day I got a new dream – becoming a speaker at this event. However, it appeared to be not that easy at all. It was easier becoming a Sitecore MVP rather than getting a speech at this event. Even statistically – there are ~170 MVPs in my category (Technology) but only about 25-30 speech opportunities are given, many of them taken out by Sitecore employees from the product teams.
The Mastery of Sitecore Upgrades
Since then I attended each oncoming SUCGON event and was also applying as a speaker to all of them, never been chosen. Until the last year, when my topic “The Mastery of Sitecore Upgrades” was chosen and eventually led me to the stage.
XM Cloud Roadmap Guide
XM Cloud is the future of enterprise content management offerings. The new sites, pages, and components tools offer an efficient content author experience that is not available with other CMS systems.
This topic is crucial to the community – Sitecore is a mature ecosystem and the majority of clients are running out of their licensing or support lifecycles. Even besides of that – keeping platform up to date with modern standards brings more benefits, such as new shiny features introduced with recent versions. With performing platform upgrades with time, I identified the gap in the community knowledge and the documentation related to this cumbersome and complex procedure. The goal was to create unify all the experience I faced when dealing with al types of isses and consolidate it into a single guide following which professionals working on platform upgrades could save 2-3 times of total effort and that was exactly it!
Knowing your topic and presenting it to the audience, however, are two different things. I am very thankful to the organizers for letting me pre-playing my topic just prior to the event in an empty room so that I could experience the actual stage with no stress and learn from some immediate mistakes. That gave me so needed confidence and it all went good.
SUGCON Europe 2022 was a very special event – it was the first in-person event after 2 years of the pandemic, and most of the attendees missed that opportunity so much! In my opinion, that was the best Sitecore event I ever attended.
This year I submitted my speech papers again, and guess what? I got chosen again with:
My topic: Accelerate Headless SXA Builds with XM Cloud
So, why XM Cloud? First and most, it is the flagship SaaS composable product of Sitecore for this year. The second reason is in my opinion XM Cloud is vastly underestimated, even with all that buzz surrounding it over the past 12 months. It has still a development in progress, but already features lots of benefits for improving your routine:
- being a SaaS product it fully provides you all the required infrastructure
- that results build and deployment process more standardized and that is also part of the offering
- build and deploy pipelines make safety checks to prevent from deploying breaking changes
- headless development makes time to market faster and eliminates niche skills shortage
- it comes with Headless SXA which already includes many crucial Next.js features OOB
I am not the only one who thinks so – taking a look at the agenda you can notice that event organizers set up a dedicated XM Cloud track.
Here at Perficient we are currently building our expertise around composable products, especially Content Hub and XM Cloud, and collecting best practices about operations and integrations. After having hands-on XM Cloud, I am now really confident that XM Cloud indeed accelerates time to market, and that becomes the exact agenda of my presentation at the oncoming SUGCON. Time is the most important factor for business and I am also going to highlight the effort-saving aspects of working with a new SaaS platform.
Finally, the great news:
SUGCON is Coming to North America
After the success of SUGCON Europe in 2022, I felt sorry for us in North America not having anything like that. Of course, Symposium brings another great experience, but it is more sales and marketers oriented, while SUGCON is more-less centered around sharing technical expertise. I raised a call in social media and shortly got a team of like-minded Sitecore MVPs who established the Organization Committee.
Today is still too early to give any official announcement as the organizing committee is yet to work on it, but we provisionally got an agreement in principle from Sitecore so things are likely to happen in fall 2023 on the US East Coast. Considering Symposium does not take place in 2023 this event becomes even more valuable and will feature a marketing and strategy track as well for those who miss it.