For the past 5 years I have been able to attend the Kentico Connection conferences in the US, Europe, and now Australia. Every year the event is packed with great information and offers partners a great way to connect with the Kentico team, as well as each other. Sydney 2014 was true to form and everyone had a great time connecting and collaborating. Here’s my top 5 things about this year’s conference I found most interesting.
1. Kentico is focused on providing more information
With the release of Kentico 8 and largest codebase in the company’s history, the need for information has never been greater for the Kentico development community. Kentico has recognized tis need and made significant efforts to publish more blogs and best practices for anyone wanting to develop using the new platform. Taking a task-driven approach, several of the sessions at the Sydney Connection demonstrated how to accomplish a specific action / functionality which greatly helped developers see how they can extend v8 to suit the needs of their projects.
Peter Vozak (Kentico Ecommerce Product Manager) gave multiple sessions on Ecommerce implementation, detailing best practices when implementing your customization. Dominik Pinter
(Kentico Platform Product Manager) presented on cloud and mobile-centric topics that walked users through deploying Kentico to various environments and how to plan for your mobile strategy. These sessions were aimed at providing as much information to attendees and making sure the right information is available for them in their projects.
2. The APAC market is growing fast
As more companies learn about Kentico CMS, the more they love it and want to use it for their sites. The Sydney Connection definitely showed me that the APAC market is one of the fastest growing regions for Kentico and they are devoting more and more resources to those clients. With partners from all over Australia, Asia and India, the Sydney-based conference was a great way to bring information to those in the APAC region and set them up for success with focused sessions on new features and capabilities. Attendance at the this year’s conference topped last year’s and definitely showed the APAC market is a fast growing region for both Kentico and the CMS industry alike.
3. EMS is where it’s at!
By now every company should be thinking about how they market their business and brand in every way, including socially and digitally. One of the best ways to implement a solid digital strategy with your Kentico site is to leverage EMS within your application. Using built-in functionality, the EMS capabilities within Kentico allow you to easily track your site activity, score users based on their actions, and then automate your marketing efforts based on those results. Few off the shelf solutions will provide you as much insight into our site users and none of them can match the marketing automation to focus your message to the right consumer.
At the Sydney conference, several sessions were dedicated to these capacities and gave partners a unique look at how you can succeed in your projects using EMS. Several partners presented great case studies, providing a glimpse into how their projects succeeded with EMS. Kentico Solution Architect Boris Pocatko and Product Leader Vita Janecek’s product planning session gave partners a chance to further shape the platform and request what EMS features matter most to them. If you haven’t checked out implementing EMS in your site, I recommend you check out as much information as you can. It’s definitely a way to get the most value for your investment and leverage all of the great features of the platform.
4. Developers can now do more with Kentico more than ever
Every new version of Kentico CMS has all sorts of great new APIs and tools for developers. At the Sydney Connection, several sessions were focused on leveraging v8’s new capabilities and building rock-solid applications using Kentico CMS. From step-by-step best practices to deep dives into the code, nearly every Developer Track session showed partners just what they can do with the code. In addition, real-world examples demonstrated actual implementation and usage.
’s (Kentico CTO) sessions were awesome, as always. The Module Deep Dive session really exposed the new concept of how modules can be leveraged in the new version. The Fun with Macros sessions was definitely a hit as he showed several best practices with macros in your code. Both sessions definitely showed the audience a glimpse of what is possible with the new APIs and how to leverage them to get your customizations done quickly and easily.
5. CMS (by itself) is dead
From beginning to end, the conference had a constant theme: Digital Marketing is king. Petr Palas
’s (Kentico CEO) opening keynote focused on this topic and every session carried it through to the end. With several session focused on how to use EMS and integrate the data into your digital marketing strategy, Kentico focused this year’s conference on making sure partners understood the future of the platform.
The closing keynote session was very interesting as Oldrich Januska (Kentico VP of Product Developer) and Martin discussed the future of Kentico and the CMS industry as a whole. The overriding theme was very clear: CMS by itself is dead. More and more companies are transitioning to a holistic approach to their digital presence and combining their CMS with a backend marketing solution is paramount moving forward. Both Oldrich and Martin covered these highlights in their closing session and provided a path for partners moving forward.
At the 2014 Sydney Connection, Kentico assured their community that they were committed to providing the very best product with the tools they need to succeed, including updated Ecommerce functionality, easier customizations, and continued improvements to the online marketing capabilities of the platform. I recommend you keep an eye on the Connection site for the presentations and definitely think about booking your spot at the Boston and / or Prague Connections later this year!