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Looking Toward the Future at Episerver Ascend ’15

Bill Casey CEO & Partner
#CMS, #Episerver-Ektron Merger, #Episerver, #Ektron, #Events
Published on November 13, 2015

We share the insights we gained and the valuable interactions we had at Episerver's Ascend '15 conference.

This week, several members of Diagram’s team attended the Episerver Ascend conference in Las Vegas. It was an exciting, informative show, providing us with a chance to learn about the future of the platform and meet with both Episerver personnel and users of the CMS. Here are the insights that our team gained from the conference:

Bill Casey:

With seven years of Ektron Synergy behind us, this year was our inaugural participation in Episerver Ascend, the first annual user and partner conference for the merged Episerver and Ektron. While the scale, location, and overall structure of the conference were similar to Ektron conferences of years past, Ascend had a noticeably different feeling. Rather than being a congratulatory pat on the back for the platform’s success and a meeting of the minds around the current state of CMS, Ascend, as the name implies, was about looking forward to what the platform will become. There was a tangible sense of optimism and growth as the company begins to accelerate its mission of building the best digital experience platform in the industry.

The no-nonsense professional attitude of Episerver’s staff and the noticeable focus on users and partners was a clear indication that Episerver means business and hopes to win the hearts and minds of the large base of Ektron clients who are still unsure about the future. The keynote addresses by R. “Ray” Wang and Erik Wahl contributed to the forward thinking theme with their messages of digital disruption, creativity, and innovation.

Episerver also launched their new corporate branding, including a new logo and the retirement of the mixed case spelling of the original name, going from EPiServer to Episerver. My autocorrect is very thankful for that decision! With a new look, a new vision, and a confident outlook on the future, it’s an exciting time to be working with Episerver, and we look forward another great year of partnership.

Allison Casey:

As a longtime sponsor of the Ektron user conference, I was looking forward to Ascend ‘15 as the first big “show” put on by the newly merged company. The conference started with a bang, with a launch of a new brand and website.

Episerver's new website

With the majority of attendees being current Ektron users, the biggest question that seemed to be on everyone’s mind was “Should I migrate from Ektron to Episerver?” People were also looking to better understand some of the features of Episerver, in particular FIND and the Digital Experience Cloud. While we’ve written extensively about migration, talking with many attendees confirmed that it is still at the top of their minds, letting us know that we need to continue to provide more education and guidance as a premium Episerver partner.

From a content perspective, I was pleased to see a lot of opportunity for marketers to learn about how the software can be used but to apply important digital marketing strategies, such as A/B Testing and content personalization. As marketing teams continue to have a bigger role in making software decisions, providing content at user conferences is more and more important. My personal highlight was finally getting the opportunity to see Erik Wahl, one of the keynote speakers. His message of getting outside the proverbial “box” when crafting solutions and pushing boundaries was delivered with the kind of passion that made me want my entire team there to see!

Erik Wahl TED Presentation from The Art of Vision on Vimeo.

Chris Osterhout:

Episerver Ascend ‘15 offered a great mixture of product roadmap discussions, hands on training, and digital strategy. With a large number of the attendees being Ektron customers, it offered a great opportunity to for those customers to really see the Episerver Digital Experience Cloud (DxC) for the first time. I found that the reactions of these customers were extremely positive, which raised questions about the timing for their website migrations to the DxC. Episerver continued to make it clear that they will protect the investments of Ektron customers, and if/when the time is right for the customer, they can migrate to the converged DxC release. Overall, I think the conference was a success for Episerver and Ektron customers alike and am looking forward to the Episerver Spring 16 release.

Rob Schall:

The Ascend conference was a great time to meet up with clients and learn more about the product roadmap. It also helps us get a look at what other partners have been up to and where the market is headed. Since the merger of Episerver and Ektron happened just a few short months ago, there have been a lot of questions on how and when current ektron users should move to the new platform. The conference was a great opportunity for Episerver to explain the next steps and how users can work with their partners over the next few years to migrate and expand the clients' current site offerings. There was a strong focus on integration with automated marketing platforms and how clients are starting to see their businesses transform as users begin to expect more website personalization. Diagram is positioned in a unique way to help these clients as we have a strong history with both the Ektron and Episerver platforms and are able to assist with their inbound marketing efforts.

Do you want to know more about the future of Ektron and Episerver and what it means for you? Are you planning to migrate to Episerver in the near future? Please contact us to speak with a Solutions Engineer, and we’ll answer any questions you might have and help you understand what you need to know about how to get the most out of the Episerver platform.