Six key highlights from Opticon 2023

Jacob Pretorius
Published October 16, 2023 by Jacob Pretorius – Tech Lead & Optimizely Gold MVP
Optimizely CEO Alexander Atzberger presenting at Opticon 2023

Optimizely’s flagship event Opticon took place in San Diego from the 10th to 12th October. Here are my six key highlights from this year’s event.

Optimizely One streamlines the entire content lifecycle with purpose-built workflows.

1. Optimizely One

Optimizely One is the new umbrella term for their Digital Experience Platform (DXP). It signifies how Optimizely have closed the marketing operating system loop with products and solutions for every step in the process a modern marketer could need. 

While it’s not unheard of for customers and clients to leverage everything they offer, Optimizely maintain and continue to focus on being a composable platform giving their customers the flexibility and power to choose the combination of products which bring their businesses the most value.

Optimizely also have a renewed commitment to strengthen their strategic technical partnerships with other big MarTech players. They do this by adding more connectors to popular 3rd party products their customers commonly use, as well as making sure existing connectors are maintained and updated.

Experimentation Collaboration provides teams with extra tools for their collective experimentation efforts.

2. Experiment Collaboration

As businesses scale their experimentation practice they commonly run into issues with maintaining the same level of oversight and approval process with running experiments. Maintaining creative experimentation at large while avoiding re-running the same experiments in different silos can also be a challenge. 

Experiment collaboration aims to solve this problem for experimentation teams as it gives them additional tools for their multiplayer experimentation practice. It allows experimentation practitioners to work together with planning, set up, and running experiments as well as ensure the required people have signed off on the experiments before they are rolled out.

Experiment collaboration is currently available to all experimentation customers. 

Optimizely will open a market for pure SaaS CMS customers in early 2024

3. SaaS or PaaS your CMS

Many of Optimizely’s customers and partners began working with the CMS product that set them on a new path to realising value with enterprise websites and content at scale.

While Optimizely CMS has been available as part of their Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) fully managed cloud offering for a long time, they are now also entering the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market.

It is important to note that both the PaaS and SaaS offering use the same underlying CMS technology. There is no preference from Optimizely to move existing PaaS customers to SaaS. It’s solely about opening up a new market of pure SaaS CMS customers that was previously unavailable. PaaS CMS will continue to be a fundamental product that new or existing customers can choose to use if that better suits their business needs.

Optimizely are set to share more details on this as it starts to roll out in early 2024, as well as share the final pricing model. 

We do know so far some of the benefits of the SaaS CMS are:

  • Fully managed & automatic upgrades
  • Optimizely Graph included
  • A new visual “Layout Builder”
  • Fully Headless delivery
  • First release of new CMS features, where appropriate

With a SaaS CMS there is no custom code deployed from the customer. That means it unlocks potential customers who need a pure headless CMS without the overhead of having to integrate and manage deployments as well as regularly maintain the CMS with upgrades.

SaaS customers will get a fully provisioned and managed CMS instance, so they can get directly into template creation and content population, while their developers can integrate directly with the Optimizely Graph for their delivery channels.

Optimizely Graph has the ability to consume and query multiple data sources with a single request.

4. An Open Graph

The newly named Optimizely Graph takes the power of GraphQL to the next level. It is now possible to push any external text content into the Optimizely Graph, which superpowers headless implementations with the ability to consume and query multiple data sources all in one request.

There have also been huge improvements on features available using the Graph rather than the existing Search & Navigation, such as semantic search giving users the ability to search on intent and meaning rather than just exact or partial text matches.

The Optimizely Graph is available for interested customers and while it doesn’t yet have feature parity with Search & Navigation, we’re told they are working hard on making the Graph service the best it can be.

The new Optimizely Visual Builder

5. Composable Commerce Services

There is a similar direction of travel for the Optimizely Monetize products (i.e. Configured and Customised Commerce) as with the CMS product.

Optimizely are entering the SaaS space with their Configured Commerce product. They will continue to offer Customised Commerce as PaaS only.

They also plan to create a new and improved shared feature set in a modular fashion that both commerce products can make use of if the implementation needs it.

These improvements are still in the early days so we look forward to learning more about it as it gets further fleshed out.

Opal is a new identity for Optimizely’s AI, operating across the entire marketing lifecycle

6. Opal, the new AI assistant

No tech conference in 2023 would be complete without a discussion on AI. Optimizely want to be on the forefront of bringing value to marketers to radically improve and enhance their workflows using AI and are launching their new AI assistant Opal.

Opal is much more than a simple chatbot. The vision is for Opal to operate across the entire Optimizely One marketing operating system helping to improve efficiency and iterate quickly on ideas.

Opal is already available to help marketers using the Web Experimentation product today with suggestions for copy variations.

Opal will also be able to help marketers manage and plan content campaigns using the Content Marketing Platform.

We look forward to seeing Opal in action.

Wrapping up

Optimizely have shown a strong drive towards simplifying marketing workflows while giving new and existing customers more flexibility to choose the technology and products that suit their needs best.

Optimizely continue to invest in creating a seamless experience for customers working across their multiple different products towards one unified platform that make common marketing tasks as simple and efficient as possible.

We would like to congratulate Optimizely on a well organised event as well as thank them for the early and transparent insights they shared with the OMVPs during the OMVP summit.

The dotcentric team look forward to Opticon London in November. Feel free to come speak to any of us if you see us around.

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