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Acquia Engage 2017: Day 1, Part 1

Acquia is back at the InterContinental Hotel, and Engage 2017 is in full swing. This year has been especially important as Acquia celebrates our 10th anniversary as a company. The theme of this year’s conference is transformation; more specifically, transforming the customer journey. Our open source and cloud foundation has taken us and our customers far, but the landscape is changing.

This change isn’t internal. The change is driven by external forces, the culmination of 10 years of pioneering open source website management from the cloud. The forces of change are happening on many levels. From proprietary to open. From hosted to cloud. From static to dynamic. From websites to experiences. From experiences to journeys.

Lynne Capozzi, Acquia’s CMO, kicked it off, setting the tone for this year’s conference. For Lynne, this was personal as a fellow marketer; the decisions she makes and the challenges she faces daily as the head of Acquia’s marketing team are the same decisions and challenges our customers wrestle with.

Acquia Engage 2017

From Content Management to Customer Journeys

Next on stage was Acquia’s founder, CTO and Drupal project lead Dries Buytaert. Dries doubled down on the need to transform the customer journey. Acquia was started in 2008 to be the “Red Hat of Drupal.” Initially the business model was focused on providing commercial level support to Drupal, a level of 24/7 professional services that would make Drupal a viable choice for organizations who needed support and services they could depend on.

Dries Buytaert

Fast-forward to today, where what is categorized as “digital experiences” has grown far beyond a traditional website. Customer journeys include mobile, social, even digital signage. As we look to the future, new technologies (that we’ve actually been investing in for a few years now) like augmented reality, chatbots, sensors and commerce experience will expand the customer experience even further. These aren’t just concepts; Acquia Labs has already been using Drupal 8 to build these types of experiences. This presents a huge opportunity Acquia and our partners and customer to reach the holy grail of marketing: B2One.

B2One, by definition, is adopting a highly flexible and dynamic approach to digital experience assembly that is driven by customer data including location, device, demographics, and their history with you. B2One brings organizations that much closer to the coveted 1:1 customer relationship they’ve been striving for since the early days of personalization.

Dries was also joined on stage by Holly St. Clair, CDO at Mass.gov. For Mass.gov, digital is more important than ever. 76 percent of constituents engage with Mass.gov through the government’s website. With the majority of the commonwealth interacting with the government digitally, they need a secure, solid platform. We’re happy to announce that Mass.gov has recently moved to the Acquia Platform, and we’re excited to, as Dries put it, welcome them to the family.

Holly St Clair Mass.gov

Less Dogma, More Transformation

Later in the morning, Brandon Geary, POSSIBLE's global chief strategy officer and John Cunningham, POSSIBLE's global chief technology officer took the stage to talk about transformation happening within the agency space. GroupM forecasts that 2017 may be the first year digital advertising drops as a share of total ad spend. How can agencies combat things like dissemination and commoditization in their industry? Radical collaboration, affecting the effect and specialization.

Brandon Geary, global chief strategy officer, POSSIBLE John Cunningham, global chief technology officer, POSSIBLE

Agencies need to connect data to creative output to help customers better leverage investments they've made. They need to prepare the creative work for platforms and create simple frameworks for strategic initiatives.

The biggest affect to effect is Amazon. This is not going away; on the contrary, Amazon continues to grow. The way agencies can make this work for them is by expanding their consulting practice around Amazon and ensuring clients are using every leaver they have available to them.

Lastly, when it comes to specialization, digital agencies need to return to digital roots. It’s not enough to have “soft skills”; hard skills are needed to be competitive and agile. Things like certification aren’t just for developers anmore. Agencies need to be able to pivoting when needed, thinking not just about creativity- on- demand but skills on demand, considering the marketing landscape and what customers need.

With so many great presentations and insights this year, for the sake of your eyeballs, the second half of the day will be covered in a follow up post.

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