Adage’s Experience at Episerver Ascend 2019
Ascend is Episerver’s Annual Conference that brings together Episerver representatives, customers, and partners to share ideas, learn new concepts, and prepare for continued innovation. Episerver Ascend 2019 proved to be packed with resources and opportunities. After exhibiting, presenting solutions, and attending breakouts, workshops, and networking events, these are our top 5 takeaways of 2019.
For web developer-centric take on Episerver Ascend 2019, Adage’s Episerver EMVP Glen Lalas has written up his takeaways.
1. Adage Wins Episerver Customer Success Partner of the Year
The Customer Success Partner of the Year is recognized for having a keen focus on customer success by consistently delivering on-time, on-budget, and above-par experiences. We couldn’t be more honored as
“We are extremely proud of our long-term customer relationships fostered with a hyper-focus on customer success throughout the Episerver community,” says Roy Chomko, President and CEO at Adage.
Adage, an Episerver Partner since 2009 has now earned three Partner of the Year awards (more than any other partner). Learn more about the Episerver Customer Success Partner of the Year Award, sentiments from Roy, and the future of our partnership with Episerver.
2. Inspirational Key Notes
We were captivated, inspired, and motivated by the keynote speakers at Ascend 2019. Lani Phillips, VP of Channel Sales at Microsoft told of her journey in the tech industry. She expanded on the importance of lifting others as you climb and being brave, not perfect.
Amy Purdy, an actress, model, para-snowboarder, clothing designer, and NY Times best-selling author spoke about adapting to change and writing your own story.
“Think of your life as a book,” Amy encouraged, “What do you want it to be?” “What are you writing for your life?” Amy explained that it’s not what happens in your life, but how you react to it that is important. Everyone faces challenges. Amy inspires us to adapt and “use obstacles to push off of and overcome.”
3. Lessons Learned from Episerver Customer Presentations
The high-quality content and speakers at Ascend remain an important resource and learning opportunity. In particular, Episerver customers shared implementation and integration project stories including how-tos, results, and most importantly, lessons learned. Here is a compilation of lessons learned from client-driven presentations at Ascend 2019.
Take Time to Draft Detailed Business Rules
A project focused on the redesign, rebranding, and mobile experience was quickly halted by commerce business rules that were too simple and out-of-date. Business rules take in to account things like quantity discounts and shipping costs and other policies that are unique to each organization. Episerver can handle any number of complex business rules to ensure the commerce experience is seamless to the customer’s audience, but if they are not detailed and current, developers cannot move forward. Don’t let business rules be the bottleneck in your next project, take time to draft detailed business rules that reflect your organization’s policies.
Complete a Full Technical Discovery
When starting any new project, don’t make assumptions about how your technology stack is working. Complete a full technical discovery that considers legacy applications and tests all processes to ensure everything works the way it is intended. What you discover can be fixed before a new technology is introduced.
Taxonomy is the Basis of Great User Experience
Taxonomy and categorization of your organization’s products and services and their attributes lay the foundation for providing great user experience. It ties together all aspects of web development and provides a guide for structuring the site.
Taxonomy dictates how end users interact with your site. Search, filters, personalization, and product recommendations are all driven by taxonomy. It also influences the technical design of templates and blocks and how users can interact with them. What attributes are important to your audience? Is it color, size, texture, location, price? Plan site taxonomy early for fewer project hiccups and better user experience.
Prepare for Change
Projects of any size from site redesign to digital transformation will require some level of organizational change. People, in general, are hesitant to change because they fear the unknown. Prepare your organization for change before a project begins. Often, projects are halted, innovation is stifled and aspirations are suppressed as organizations work through decisions and gain buy-in from stakeholders. Although change management is a major component of any project, aligning stakeholders and identifying advocates before your project begins can help you move things forward and avoid roadblocks.
4. Content is Making a Comeback
Episerver’s focus on content may have never gone away, but Commerce has clearly been a major focus, as well, over the past few years. Deane Barker, Episerver’s new Director of Content Management Strategy, really drove that point home. His message was that no matter what, content is universal, enduring, and represents who we are.
Adage receives similar feedback from various clients and from our own marketing performance indicators. There is a universal re-focus on content before commerce because content influences us. It’s intended for human consumption and can lead to deeper engagement with an organization, and ultimately, greater sales and audience loyalty.
5. Competitive Landscape
For a web strategy, web development, user experience design, and analytics company like Adage, choosing CMS and commerce platforms is an important decision. At Ascend we continued to see that Episerver’s focus on customers and their investment in innovation gives them a competitive edge in the marketplace.
If commerce and having a cloud-hosted solution are important to your organization, then look no further than Episerver. Many other platforms out there (even those in the leader quadrants of Gartner and Forrester!) have yet to create a world where Content + Commerce can so seamlessly work together. Epi has been ahead of the commerce curve for years now, and have not had to play catch up like others who have tried to close the gap of a commerce solution through acquisition.
The best ability is availability, and Epi’s cloud gives its customers just that. With a flexible pricing model, Epi customers only pay for what is needed. Epi’s cloud offering also allows for the ability to automatically scale up for spikes during your busiest times. Through its strong partnership with Microsoft, Epi is the gold standard in the WCM/Ecommerce world when it comes to a cloud solution.