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Kentico Connection provides partners with a chance to meet the people behind the product

Product announcements and brand positioning were on the agenda at this year’s Kentico Connection, the high-powered annual gathering of Kentico partners, clients and executives.

Kentico is a web content management system (WCMS) and online marketing platform powered by .NET MVC technology. As Australia’s premier Kentico partners, Zeroseven were proud to be major sponsors of this year’s Kentico Connection, held in Melbourne from October 16-17.

The exclusive event, which rotates between Sydney and Melbourne each year, offers a strictly limited selection of Kentico partners and clients a fantastic opportunity to interact directly with the people behind the product. The Zeroseven contingent were able to sit down with Kentico Software CEO Petr Palas and discuss the direction Kentico is heading in and what we would like to see happen in the future.

Palas’ keynote address focused on the state of the market and the positioning of the brand’s CMS products, Kentico EMS and Kentico Kontent. Kentico EMS offers users a fully integrated ASP.NET CMS, eCommerce and online marketing platform, whereas Kentico Kontent is a ‘headless’ — i.e. back-end only — CMS product.

Until recently, the headless product was called ‘Kentico Cloud’, which created the false impression among users that it was an on-demand/subscription version of the EMS product they were already using, as opposed to a distinct product in its own right. The rebranding to ‘Kentico Kontent’ gives users a better idea of what it actually is — a system through which enterprise organisations can streamline how they create, manage, deliver and track content. Kentico are certainly keen to see more adoptions of the Kontent CMS, and it was a major focus of many of the presentations.

Palas also previewed the next ‘version’ of Kentico. The current version, K12 (aka ‘Raptor’), was launched last November, and it was announced at Kentico Connection that the next version, K2020 — or ‘Phoenix’ — will be released next year.

K2020 will remove some redundant features from older versions of the CMS, and streamline it even further. While building pages in the MVC (‘Model, View, Controller’) interface has been a feature of Kentico since Version 6, K2020 will be the first Kentico iteration to be completely MVC-only, which will be a significant shift for developers who are yet to embrace the format.

The rest of the conference followed two tracks — a business track and a technical track — with opportunities to break out into in-depth roundtable discussions with CEOs and Product Owners between sessions. The always entertaining Michael Kadak, Kentico’s Platform Product Owner, took part in a roundtable discussion on EMS + Kentico Kontent and a lively Ask the Experts panel — not only is Kadak a very funny and engaging speaker, but he’s also very generous with his time, and is always willing to sit down with us at Zeroseven and talk us through our Kentico concerns.

Tomer Garzberg’s closing keynote was another highlight, as he talked about artificial intelligence through the lens of the failure of chatbots, and how machine learning and big data should be used to augment — rather than completely automate — traditional customer service roles. After two days of discussions that were very specific to Kentico, it was nice to end on a slightly broader, but no less relevant, note.

As Kentico Gold Partners, Zeroseven are regular presenters at Kentico Connection events. This year, I spoke about leveraging the power of K12 to create a successful project for the Queensland Government. Since K12 is the newest version of Kentico, there isn’t a lot of documentation on it yet, so we’ve had to learn by trial and error, and this was a great opportunity to share these learnings with other avid Kentico users. My presentation focused particularly on performance, security, and getting the most out of the Azure hosting platform.

It was great to get Chris Thompson, our Managing Director, on stage as part of my presentation to talk about client facing versioning, Axure instances and custom widgets. Chris had never spoken at a conference before, and I’m pleased to report that he received plenty of positive feedback. I think you’ll be seeing a lot more of him on stage in the future — including, I hope, at next year’s Kentico Connection in Sydney.