Kentico Conference offers insight into 2019

Last September, I travelled to Sydney with a few of my Kiandra colleagues to attend Kentico Connection 2018 – they sure know how to throw a good party!  It kicked off with great food, gin from Victorian distillery, Four Pillars, music and a chance to catch up with those in the industry.

The key note speakers and topics were rather impressive. Divided into two streams, Business and Technical – there wasn't a time slot where you didn't want to be in at least one of the sessions at the time if not both.

A few months on and I’ve found most of the topics are still front of mind, so thought it was worth sharing the ones that will certainly play a bigger role in 2019.

This was especially true with topics covering Kentico 12, which includes a new, intuitive MVC widget-based visual page builder and Kentico Cloud, with many demonstrations being built on top of the cloud framework.

Here are a few highlights I thought worth sharing:
Plan your content along the customer journey

When building a website in Kentico, it’s important to identify the customers of the website, and define their journey.  Design content and the experience to suit those goals – always revisit the journey when planning content in order to align with customer needs.

How to give your marketers all they need in MVC

One of the concerns about MVC was losing the ability to use the design functionality of the Portal Engine Templates. However, Kentico have created a Page Builder in the MVC framework option to facilitate Marketers being able to make use of dropping widgets into predefined page zones.

It's all about empowering users to become truly agile marketers delivering a better customer experience faster.

Content recommendations in Kentico Cloud

Kentico demonstrated a new feature with Autonomous Personalisation.  There is a Recommendations Engine API that will deliver personalisation with the ability to boost and filter.  This ensures relevant content will get delivered to users of the website and make for a better customer journey.

Building landing pages in Headless CMS

Content should be structured and omni-channel by design.  The site should allow design to be customised but controlled.  This means the site can offer themes and the ability to change the appearance of the site based on content without the need to have full flexibility to build pages from scratch. 

Marketers should consider how content will achieve their desired result.  Kentico Cloud allows for parallel development, design and content - such that structured content can start being added before site design and development begins.  Then the site can be tested with real content avoiding much rework that can occur when content is planned towards the end of a project.

Smart Data Mining with Online Forms

Kentico 12 offers an online form builder in the MVC offering (similar to the Portal Engine offering of past versions).  The new feature is smart data gathering with smart forms.  How it works is that it asks a user a subset of questions in chunks until they have answered all the questions that make up the form.  By breaking up a potentially large form, the user will be more likely to complete the questions being asked.

Rebuilding ME Bank

ME Bank attributed their site success and transition to Kentico by focusing on goals and customer journey.  They appreciated how Kentico facilitated their site going atomic, by which their pages are component based, so the child content items drive the appearance of a page.

Luminary in the Cloud

Luminary touched on the key topic of content friction and how design shouldn't be tied to content.  They achieved a tight timeline by having the team working in parallel as content could be added in the cloud whilst the site was being designed and developed. 

The cloud was a suitable option for them as they didn't need all the features of Kentico EMS.  They also got to pick and choose what microservices worked well with Kentico Cloud and achieved their purposes.  They made use of a Content Recommendation Engine provided by Recombee.  They felt the cloud was not just for microsites anymore.

Final key take-aways

Kentico version 12 is good news for developers finally offering a solid MVC option.  They also provide webinars and support documentation to facilitate companies moving from the ASP.NET Web forms/Portal engine world to MVC. 

The use of Kentico Cloud was highly evident in a lot of Kentico presentations and where customers don't need the full features of the Kentico EMS, offers them a solution with a lower up front cost and the flexibility for front end development to be in whatever technology is preferred.