Kentico Roadshow 2017

What is the Roadshow About?

Kentico has recently switched it's conference model from a single, HUGE event (like the 404 conference I attended in Las Vegas) into a series of single day events across the world.  At the time of writing this, we're in Chicago for the event they did here.

What Did it Cover?

This year's road show covered a small mixture of basic CMS implementation Failures and how to avoid them (thanks fo Dean Barker, who wrote the book on Web Content Mangement), then went into some success stories on Kentico Cloud, and went into detail about Kentico EMS v11 scheduled to come out this November.  Also some performance tips for Contact Management and Email Campaigns.

Why Don't You Tell us About it Already?!

Right, let's get to the cool stuff!

Desserts First: Kentico v11!

I love eating my desserts first, don't you?  Well, here's the scoop on what Kentico is bringing in it's next major release!

Email Marketing Revamped

First order of business is Kentico is looking to revamp and improve their Email Marketing system.  A lot of B2B / B2C businesses use mass emails to market, and although v10 has a lot of features for the email marketing, there's still a lot to be improved in order to compete with some other mail services.

The goal is to make the EMS really be the source of marketing truth, so you can intertwine the existing EMS features (such as Contact Management and Campaigns) with your Email marketing. 

Improvements include:

  1. Visual Email Builder: Add Widgets and customization to your emails as you would Page Templates
  2. Personalization Macros: Ability to make your emails specific to each customer.

Ecommerce Expanded

We love Kentico, and let me tell you, from Version 7 it's come a LONG way in terms of it's Ecommerce capabilities.  Kentico is looking to improve their Ecommerce through a mixture of further adjustments as well as integrating with a Pure-Ecommerce platform, providing multiple options to end users.

Some Highlights are:

  1. A more flexible customization model
  2. Tax Calculations (Finally!!)
  3. Gift Card Support
  4. More critical features out of the box (no clue what those critical features are, but it's highly likely they will be awesome)

Azure Search Integration

The last notable feature is they are looking to integrate with Azure Search which hopefully will aid further in providing faster and more customizable search options.

Kentico Cloud - More Use Cases

Another big emphasis on the show was where Kentico Cloud is at.  For those that don't know, Kentico Cloud is a "Headless CMS" which means it exists purely in the cloud, and purely to store and deliver content.  It does this through structured content types, it's Deliver API, and some additional features.

What Cloud is not is it's not Kentico CMS/EMS.  The Cloud is much more narrow in it's usage, how narrow varies but in short from the roadmap, this is what I came out with:

Kentico Cloud can Help Initiate Content Entry Early

Usually in website builds, the site and content structure must be created first, then dummy data is inputted, and after everything is ready, then the site is turned over to the client (or vendor) for content migration.

Kentico Cloud has shown through some of the presentations to provide a stable means of allowing content entry to occur while development is still going on.  All that needs to occur is the content structure be created, then content editors can start adding content while the development team actually builds the site itself.  Then using the existing Kentico Cloud Import you can map and import your Kentico Cloud content into your Kentico CMS/EMS.  This is a great application in general for any site that has a large amount of content (such as schools).

Kentico Cloud Can  Share Content Globally

Another use for Kentico Cloud is storing data that is 'global' in a sense that it's used in multiple locations.  One presentation talked on how a company needed it's advertising content in a central location so all the various mediums (website, digital displays, etc) could all hook in and use that content.  

Kentico Cloud Offers a Closer MVC Model

For those development firms that prefer MVC over Portal method, Kentico Cloud also offers an extra layer of separation, and can be used to spin up sites fast without the overhead of an entire Kentico Install (using .Net Core which can be hosted on many various platforms).

Kentico Cloud May have "Design" Capabilities In the Future

There was also a preview of a "Design" feature in Kentico Cloud to allow content editors to have a pseudo page editing interface, complete with widgets.

Kentico Cloud Isn't CMS/EMS

Overall Kentico CMS/EMS is still by far the power house, and in most situations will be what is needed, but Kentico Cloud is slowing expanding it's capabilities and how it can be used.

Performance Tips

Another segment of the Roadshow was focused on some performance tricks to help wrangle some of the resource hogs in the EMS license.  Mainly the bulk email sending, personalization and marketing automation.

I won't go too much into details, but in short if you run into performance issues when sending bulk emails or page loading for customization, you can employ some of these tricks:

  1. Ensure all your macros/code is optimized and cached where applicable
  2. Make sure all page objects that can be cached without losing marketing functionality are.
  3. Utilize multiple SMTP servers to help send bulk emails faster
  4. Utilize dedicated servers in farms to handle marketing automation
  5. Optimize queries, resources, and boost your hosting servers/scale up/scale out to handle load.


Overall, the roadshow was great.  It was awesome hanging out with some of our fellow Kentico developers and interacting with the Kentico team and Bryan Solvis.  Looking forward to Kentico 11, and the next Roadshow next year!
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