I've been lucky enough to go to the last two Sitecore User Group Conferences that have taken place in Europe. Starting in 2014, with the inaugural conference to last year SUGCON has always been a real blast; people come from all over the world to present and learn about the latest and greatest in the Sitecore world. 2016 was especially fun because the Sitecore Digital Marketing Summit took place at the same time and in the same venue! With the two events there were over 1,200 people there, >50 MVPs, and some of the best speakers from around the globe - it really was the best European Sitecore event of the year.
It was fantastic to be able to reaffirm Hedgehog’s engagement with the community through our sponsorship of both events, 7 Hedgehog attendees, and 3 different speaking slots. There were so many things that happened over the two days that it’s impossible to mention them all, but below are some highlights of my time at SUGCON EU 2016.
After a short stop in Berlin, the Hedgehog EU team was able to meet Sean Holmesby to get ready for two days of Sitecore fun. The Bella Center was an enormous facility and this really gave a feel for how much the developer and marketing Sitecore communities have grown.
The day started with awesome SUGCON keynotes from both Michael Seifert and Lars Nielsen to a full house! It was good to see the Sitecore roadmap and get information about the changes coming in 8.2 and 8.3. Following great kickoffs, there were so many great speakers it was hard to keep up with them all.
Sean Holmesby did a talk on properly using NuGet for Sitecore development, which nicely showed the power of using a professional NuGet process during Sitecore development. Afterwards, it was great to hear from the community about how they utilize NuGet. We had a lot of great conversations and can’t wait to take some of the comments by colleagues and add them to our process.
The coolest thing on day 1 had to be the MVP awards. It was great to see how many MVPs travelled from all over the world for this event. I was proud to see Nikola and Dmytro represent Hedgehog as our two MVPs in the Emerging Markets region and Sean Holmbesy represent our North American MVPs.
We ended Day 1 with a super fun Kahoot quiz on all things Sitecore and a nicely organized networking event. It’s always great to meet new people from the community and be able to catch up with friends from other regions too, like Nick Wesselman from Active Commerce.
While Day 1 was all about technology, Day 2 had a mix of both marketing and technology.
Anders Laub and Ruud Van Falier gave great talks with an introduction to and practical applications of Habitat. During his talk on practical applications, Anders walked us through embracing a modular architecture emphasizing that methods may vary based on the needs of the project.
On the other front, over 800 people were at the Digital Marketing Summit, and it was great to see how involved the marketing community is now. Sitecore’s message throughout the event was clear; we need to demand more transformation. It is only the companies that are able to merge all stakeholders and push the ceilings of what we thought common that will win in this market.
Early Day 2 was one of my personal favorite presenters: Kern’s talk on Sitecore MVC. As we all saw, Kern masters the Sitecore wheel of death and riding his unicycle on stage capped off an incredibly informative presentation.
Hedgehog gave two talks on Day 2. First was a short TDS presentation, whereSean and Nikola were able to answer some of the most pressing questions that we get every day. Through this presentation we were able to inform everyone of the new features in TDS 5.5 and how it can help alleviate their major pain points. Nikola gave our second talk on Continuous Integration with Sitecore. Nikola loves this topic and it was awesome to see him share some of his knowledge with everyone. There is so much value to be gained in an optimized CI environment and it’s great that we can share some of our experience with the community. Feedback is always appreciated of course!
Day 2 of SUGCON closed with Pieter Brinkman reviewing all the great accomplishments the community has achieved. This is always my favorite part of any conference event - it reinforces why the community exists. We might not be able to accomplish much individually but together we can make huge impact.
Until next year, happy Sitecore’ing!!