Reaching new heights at the Episerver Ascend ’15 conference

Posted by Tim Parfitt
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To all of us who attended the EPiServer Ascend ’15 conference, the scale of the new EPiServer is plain to see.

This was the largest and most impressive event that EPiServer has ever staged in the UK. Held at Vinopolis in London, the huge venue was quickly filled by hundreds of attendees; from customers to implementation partners and technology vendors.

Ascend ’15 is the first large-scale EPiServer event in the UK since EPiServer and Ektron were acquired and merged, in early 2015, by technology-focused private equity firm Accel-KKR

New Branding

The EPiServer branding was quickly under the spotlight as the fresh, new, three letter ‘epi’ logo was presented to us. 

Were we to say goodbye to ‘EPiServer’ and hello to ‘Epi’?  Not at all, we were assured.  

However, Epi will be to EPiServer what Coke is to Coca-Cola.  And ‘EPiServer’ will be replaced with the simplified ‘Episerver’. This makes sense as the capital E and P are a remnant of the original company name of ElektroPost, before it was changed to reflect the company’s most successful product, EPiServer.

So, we can expect to see a gradual rebranding to Episerver in the months to come.

Ongoing growth

Mark Duffell, EPiServer’s CEO, and James Norwood, CMO, both presented on the ongoing growth of the company.  Over 8,000 customers and 250,000 editors are using EPiServer with almost 900 partners globally.  The global EPiServer Ascend roadshow will be attended by over 2,500 delegates. Impressive numbers.

They told us that EPiServer’s mission is ‘to build the leading digital experience platform’.  This means being positioned where three worlds converge; Digital Marketing, Digital Commerce and Web Content Management.  And these three worlds certainly are converging.

The example cited was Apple, the largest tech company in the world, who until earlier in 2015 had run its online store as a separate site to its brochure site.  Now, Apple has converged these two sites into a single entity to provide a superior, and more joined-up, user experience for its global customer base.  If this converged approach is the right step for Apple, then it’s safe to assume that others will follow in its footsteps.

Empowering organisations

The conference speakers emphasised that EPiServer, as a technology product, knows that its role is to empower organisations so that they can engage with customers. EPiServer facilitates delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. 

This means allowing organisations to efficiently deliver seamless customer experiences via omni-channel, contextualised-content.

It means the CMS must facilitate new business models and digital transformation.  It means personalised experiences and greater future use of machine-learning to efficiently tailor content to each user.  And all delivered in the cloud. 

But ultimately it is still all about the customer, content, and context. Nothing changes there.

Keynote of the day

A special mention must go to the most engaging and passionately delivered keynote of the day from Justin Cooke of Burberry, Topshop and now Tunepics.  

If you ever get a chance to see Justin present, then do take the opportunity. His talk about ‘Digital Emotion, The New Customer Engagement Model’ was insightful and refreshing.

And the award goes to...

The success of Ascend ’15 is a demonstration of EPiServer’s renewed vigour. EPiServer is shaping up to be a best-of-breed product, a true cloud-based, digital experience platform.

The conference activities drew to a close with the EPiServer Website Awards ceremony, for UK and Ireland. We were delighted to see Netcel and Kenwood walk away with the Best Ecommerce Website award for www.kenwoodworld.com/uk.

What a great way to end a great day.