DrupalCon Vienna didn’t officially started until Tuesday, but that didn’t mean Monday was devoid of festivities. In anticipation of a week full of featured sprints, training and sessions, Acquia kicked off DrupalCon with a partner summit.
It was fairly quiet around the Messe Wien Exhibition & Congress Centre until we made our way up the stairs. There, Acquia partners from all over the world talked over coffee and tea. After casual introductions and conversation, the attendees made their way into the main room, where Joe Wykes, Acquia’s senior vice president of global channels and commerce, began the afternoon programming. Wykes highlighted our continued investment in the EMEA region, and reviewed Acquia’s rankings in the Gartner Magic Quadrant and Forrester Wave. But the key message – the top priority – was how can Acquia help our partners navigate the tumultuous waters of digital?
To answer this question, Wykes had us look back on Acquia’s first decade. Ten years ago, web content management was the bread and butter of our business. Since then, digital experiences, including ones outside of the traditional website, have become the forefront of marketing. This has created a huge opportunity for Acquia and our partners. It’s time to explore new adoption models for customers.
From personalization to digital asset management to multisite solutions, Acquia not only enables partners to extend their business with Acquia and Drupal, but create significant value for their clients amidst a changing landscape.
The partner summit serves as a reminder that partnerships are relationships, and there are friction points. This is an opportunity not just to talk about wins and the great things on the horizon, but also issues and concerns that need to be resolved. This summit is designed to be ongoing dialogue.
What would a partner summit be without treating our partners to the Acquia product roadmap? Shannon Holmes, senior manager and solution architect for EMEA, discussed “The Journey to Awe-Inspiring Digital Experiences.”
“It’s a lofty title that sets the bar pretty high, but this is how high the bar has already been set by customers,” Holmes said.
Details of the presentation will be revealed in the near future. Being an Acquia partner grants you a first look of what products are coming soon.
In the Q&A portion, it came as no surprise that privacy was the subject of the very first question. Holmes walked the room through Acquia’s GDPR compliance and how we are handling it.
Commerce was also a top priority for the partners in attendance. Our commerce strategy has evolved to support commerce in a headless / decoupled fashion; that’s what our customers want. Decoupled also came up when asked about our Node.js support. Decoupled has become a standard in conversations with customers and we’re going to continue to invest in it.
After a short intermission, partners were given their choice of breakout sessions along business and tech tracks. Business tracks covered deep dives in products on our roadmap, Acquia’s marketing message and how to navigate the competitive landscape. On the technical side of the house, partners could learn about enablement tools and best practices, multisite management and decoupled Drupal.
In reviewing the feedback later that night, several partners chose a mix of business and tech tracks; technical knowledge is not just limited to developers and engineers anymore as business and marketing folks also bring a level of technical expertise to the table. In fact, one of the main comments that kept coming up was they understand the Acquia vision, they understand the what and the why, but now they want to know the how. How to they take this vision and make it a reality for their customers?
Breakout sessions offered a two-way conversation between Acquia and our partners. It wasn’t so much about what we wanted to get across to the partners in each group but what we can do to enable them and their customers for success. Questions and comments were thoughtful and gave us insight into how to improve our partner relationships. Like relationships in general, communication is key. One thing was clear; our partners were on board for the journey.
But perhaps the highlight of the event came at the very end, when departing Acquia CEO Tom Erickson took the stage. Many excellent questions were solicited from the audience, but most focused on Tom’s insight over his last 10 years at Acquia. However, in the interest of time, we’ll cover Tom’s DrupalCon send-off in a following post. Stay tuned.