November 2016 the Best Kentico Month Ever?
I've been working with Kentico for quite a long time now, and I'm hard pressed to remember a more important and/or exciting month than this November for Kentico. Trust me, this isn't just the leftover turkey / high level of tryptophan in my system talking. Normally around this time of year, there would be a new major release of Kentico, and the usual enhanced features of Kentico EMS to be excited about. That would be expected item to discuss here at my blog. However, I really feel that Kentico has out done themselves this time around.
The following items below are listed below in the order of which they happened in November 2016.
Kentico Advantage was Introduced
On November 1st, Kentico announced the Kentico Advantage program. Made by the experts on the Kentico consulting team, Kentico Advantage is a major overhaul to the old Deliver Now methodology that Kentico previously used as a best practice guide. The new Advantage guide can be used as a compass for how to best craft a Kentico website from a development perspective.
My favorite aspect of the Kentico Advantage program is that it points out the common and not so common points that developers need to be thinking about in terms of building a Kentico website. When you read through the guide you can tell that the focus is on ensuring that the use of Kentico is up to best practice standards. There are many tricks and tips in the content that should be very useful for not just new developers but seasoned Kentico veterans as well. I also like how the guide is not just about the build, it also contains help on how to test, deploy, and maintain the solution.
Pro Tip: If you are looking for other best practices when it comes to running a Kentico site, check out my post on 11 Spring Cleaning Tips for your Kentico website.
404 Conference Happened in Vegas, and (mostly) Stayed in Vegas
The Kentico 404 Conference started on November 2nd. This was Kentico's first revision of a new Digital Marketing conference that was not afraid to do things a little differently. I feel that the conference did indeed meet all of my expectations. The 3 day conference was attended by many in the global Kentico community. I think my good friends from Get Started probably won the award for furthest travel to the event (Melbourne, AU to Las Vegas is quite the haul).
Normally I would do a full recap of any major Kentico conference here on my blog, as I have in years past. However, there are already many good recap blog posts out there by Bit Wizards, High Monkey, MMT, and a few others, so I'm not going to do that this year. I will say that out of all of the attendees that I talked to, both existing Kentico partners and customers, plus Kentico newcomers, they all enjoyed the conference. The general feeling was that the content was good, the venue was great, and the connections that were made and refreshed were well worth the trip.
However, I would like to report that both my presentations went well at the event. You can find my slides for both talks linked below:
- Good, Better, Best Website Performance Optimization
- Content Last – A Strategy for Success or Failure?
I would say one of the biggest surprises of the event was during the closing keynote of the conference. Kentico announced the winners of the 404 Awards. Sure enough, Stephanie of Team BizStream and our new BizStream.com site redesign took home the winning award.
404 error page winners are in! @TeamBizStream is stoked to share that we were awarded Best Content & Best Overall! #404Awards #404Conference pic.twitter.com/IFihOhflSn— Team BizStream (@TeamBizStream) November 7, 2016
Kentico Cloud Officially Announced
The biggest announcement of November actually happened during the 404 conference. Petr Palas announced Kentico's new product offering Kentico Cloud.
The new cloud-first digital experience platform from Kentico offers a way to create and deliver content fully from the cloud. It is an interesting take on the concept of "Headless CMS". In this concept CMS is stripped down to its core and powered fully from the cloud. It opens up the idea of being able to connect to and utilize content from any technology or device you desire. Technically the main aspect of the product works by providing a RESTful API to consume the content from. While new today, I definitely feel that in a few years this concept is going to be mainstream.
Hands down, the best description from an end users standpoint of what Kentico Cloud offers is from Andy Thompson, fellow Kentico MVP at Get Started. I totally recommend reading it. You can also find a real world website built from the new cloud product at Soltisweb.com. I believe Bryan Soltis will have a new blog post series out on how it is built soon.
Kentico 10 Releases by the end of November
Lets also not forget the reason that we are all here. Kentico 10, the latest release of Kentico's flagship EMS product is due to land any day now. The newest release has been advertised for awhile now. I have hand my hands on it for a bit, been able to look at the beta program for 10, and am very excited with what I have been able to try. The main benefits that I see from Kentico 10 are the major improvements in performance and scalability, enhanced MVC support (which now includes e-commerce and online marketing APIs), Responsive Image support, improved Continuous Integration ability, and newly designed 360 degree Contact Management.
This is a key release for Kentico. It marks a major milestone of having the product hit a whole new level for enterprise scalability, appeal to a broader developer skillset (portal engine vs. MVC), and the new startup time thanks to the inclusion of the C# 6.0 Roslyn compiler is welcome for sure.
The Kentico EMS product continues to get more refined for digital marketers with each release. Kentico is focusing on making campaign tracking and email marketing experience in Kentico better and better. Even though most people will be wowed with the new Campaign and Conversion management capabilities, my favorite new feature is subtle changes to email marketing in Kentico 10. Now in Kentico 10 you can re-target contacts in a follow-up email easier than ever, based on their interactions with your email marketing. I love this feature from a digital marketer standpoint. It will clear up one pain point for sure.
Pro Tip: Remember when Kentico 10 is released. Kentico 7 will no longer be in gold support by Kentico. If you are running Kentico 7, now might be the time to plan an upgrade to a newer major version of Kentico. Need help?
So you wanna know your customer? Contact Management in #Kentico10 is as simple as it gets, with a new architecture and contact profiles! pic.twitter.com/wLtnzOxYnq— Kentico (@Kentico) November 22, 2016
As you can see, these four items are not just minor newsbytes for Kentico. Throwing global digital marketing conferences, announcing new product lines, and updating new major point releases of Kentico EMS on schedule are proably part of the reason that Gartner has recently has named Kentico a Challenger in their 2016 Magic Quadrant for WCM. It's been a great ride for Kentico not just in November, but for the entire last few years. I know I'm happy to see where the product and company have gone over the years. I look forward to the future as well.