Recapping eZ’s Global Partner Conference - Malaga 2019
eZ Systems hosted its Annual Global Partner Conference in Malaga, Spain January 24-25, 2019. We would like to extend a big thank you to all of our partners that joined us for these two days of educational and hands-on sessions about eZ technology. This year's Partner Conference was held in beautiful Malaga at the Barcelo Hotel.
Our main focus for this year´s Partner Conference was enablement and ensuring that both developers and sales people were updated on the most current eZ Products, including eZ Platform, eZ Commerce and eZ Platform Cloud. The two-day event also provided an opportunity for partners to engage with eZ's sales, marketing, professional services and product teams.
The first day's agenda on Thursday, January 24th was compact with updates revolving around eZ's Partner Program and product portfolio as well as sales and technical training on how to demo and sell eZ products. eZ's CEO, Morten Ingebrigtsen presented an overview of the company's performance in 2018 and shared updates on eZ's strategy and vision moving forward. He highlighted how eZ dedicated resources can better drive the partner program by introducing Global Partner Manager, Camilla Unger, and he announced the Customer Success team, led by Lars Eirik Rønning, to work more closely with customers.
At our partner meeting in Cologne last June, we announced that we were going to make some adjustments to our current partner program. eZ's Global Partner Manager, Camilla Unger was excited to now introduce these adjustments at the Malaga conference. The main reasons for these updates are to provide our partners with a partner program that brings them even more value. The additions to the program are mainly related to enablement and co-marketing activities with our partners. We are excited and ready to make 2019 a great year together with our partners!
Along with our updated eZ Partner Program, Camilla advanced our new Sales and Certification Program. During the presentation, it was great to see partners learn about our proposal and practice it in an interactive way. The amount of enthusiasm and positive spirit among our partners helped make our time together both productive and fun! We were thrilled to see so many leaving Malaga "sales certified." It was also the launch of our Annual Update Training, which mainly focused on the recent updates on our Long Term Supported Release. It was an intense day, perhaps more so for the partners with less experience with projects on eZ Platform version 2, but partners should be updated on the features coming with the next LTS.
Following the eZ partner channel update by Camilla, Chief Product Officer, Roland Benedetti, gave an overview of eZ's market positioning and product strategy moving forward. He presented consumers' expectations for a holistic user experience regardless of the channel they select to engage with a brand. Roland highlighted how eZ's unified solution approach helps businesses to take care of all their business processes and to meet customers' expectations as they progress in their purchasing journey.
Following Roland's presentation, partners split into business and technical tracks for further discussion.
Sales Training: How to Sell eZ
The business track, led by the product team, provided details on product capabilities and looked at different areas eZ platform is covering: content management, personalization, e-commerce and development capabilities, punctuated by demo and an interactive quiz. The sales training continued with mapping these capabilities with the different business scenarios and roles partners might encounter when offering eZ.
Sales in Practice Session
In the next session, Bertrand Maugain and Zamir Abdul elaborated to sales professionals how eZ, together with partners, should market and present the value proposition of eZ products in 2019. They also discussed the process of selling an eZ subscription according to various levels and criteria.
Afterwards, partners organized into groups for a fun, educational, and practical sales competition session. The first component of the competition required the different groups to map the value proposition to different user personas according to three sales scenarios: E-Commerce Driven Sales, Digital experience platform type of sales (content + commerce), and Content management driven sales. In the second part of the competition, partners pitched the eZ Platform for a project to a panel of executives. The panel determined the three finalists that would present in front of everyone. The fun and interactive simulation allowed partners to learn how to sell eZ according to real use cases.
Annual Update Training
On the developer track, Ramzi Arfaoui from the Professional Service Team kicked off the Annual Update Training with a 5-hour overview of the tremendous progress that has been made in eZ Platform version 2 in 2018. From v.2.0 to v.2.4 attendees were able to follow the progression in the latest releases from the smallest to the largest features. Partners received in-depth explanation on a few important features, e.g: custom style and tags, Content on the fly, Image place holder for dev environment (alternative to import GB images from prod to dev) and more.
Kevin DeJour from the PS Team also contributed to the Annual Update Training by introducing the new Page Builder and how eZ Platform delivers better UX with better usability and comfort for content creators.
In the afternoon session, Ramzi and Kevin demonstrated how to integrate the Symfony Workflow component and control content publishing on eZ Platform. Bertrand Dunogier, technical manager at eZ Systems, concluded the Annual Update Training by introducing the experimental package that brings GraphQL support to eZ Platform, ezsystems/ezplatform-graphql.
On Thursday evening we hosted a dinner and party for our partners at the Barcelo Hotel that included, great company, a flamenco show, and of course, food and drinks.
On Friday, we began the day with a roadmap presentation, giving a state of the roadmap and showing in detail what to expect for eZ Platform v2.5 as well as what might come next. During this session we also had a look at the imminent release of eZ Commerce v2.5, going through the various new features brought to the e-Commerce add-on, which are for mostly focused towards B2B needs.
Following the roadmap session, we had a training workshop, "How to Demo eZ" from eZ's Product Marketing Manager, with Amit Gutin and Director of Customer Success, Lars Eirik Rønning. The session was compelling and went into great detail on how partners can better demo eZ Platform, eZ Commerce and their many capabilities.
How to Demo eZ Platform
This session began with understanding two typical use case scenarios for content management and commerce for which eZ would be a good fit. Amit then proceeded to the first demo session which focused on working with content in eZ Platform v2.4. The demo topic was: how to attract visitors to Norway. We created a gallery and demonstrated the multi-upload feature whereby images are automatically mapped to content objects in the system. Amit then looked at the editorial interface and created a sample article and showed how people can collaborate using the editorial workflow. Finally, the demo showed the page builder feature of eZ Platform where we built a sample page showing some of the block types offered by eZ Platform such as content list, form builder and scheduler block. He also demonstrated how administrative user can create content type and assign roles and permissions.
In the eZ Commerce demo, Amit demonstrated a wide range of B2B features. He began by demo-ing how the end user can easily find products, articles or different types of content by using the easy-to-use search engine. He also demonstrated how users can compare products in the shop before deciding on which products to purchase. For B2B users, he demo-ed how one can quickly reorder products by uploading a list to the quick order list or by purchasing product through the stored basket list. He then proceeded to show how shop admin can configure the shop to integrate a PIM and ERP system. Amit also showed how admin can use Customer Center to manage contact data, define employee roles and permissions, manage customers purchasing activity as well as ERP performance. He closed the session displaying the different e-commerce blocks that are included in the page builder (ex. product slider, best sellers and last viewed).
eZ Commerce introductory workshop
In this session, Ramzi took the attendees through a product tour Backend/Frontend demo and explained how Product and Content are managed in one Interface. Frank Dege, CTO at Silver Solutions, joined Ramzi in order to show an ERP Integration example with Microsoft Dynamics NAV and the Control Center of eZ Platform Backend. He also demo-ed how to import large catalogs from PIM and ERP and how to switch the shop between e-content and product created in eZ Platform.
eZ Platform Cloud Introductory workshop
In the afternoon, Jani Tarvainen from eZ Systems gave an overview on the features and tooling available for eZ Platform Cloud, our PaaS solution for hosting eZ Platform projects. The practical examples revealed not only how the system works, but also how it can support the development workflow without heavy investment into DevOps. Jani was followed by Gauthier Garnier from Platform.sh, our technical partner, describing the underlying infrastructure as well as the service levels available. After an in-depth look into technical and business offerings, Gauthier gave a sneak peek on some new features coming soon to all eZ Platform Cloud users: A new admin UI and a Public REST API for managing projects.
In the third and final section, Vidar Langseid from eZ Systems gave an introduction on the different methods of HTTP caching on eZ Platform Cloud. From the basic HTTP reverse proxy to Varnish (a recent addition to Platform.sh) to Fastly (a CDN with global presence) - eZ Platform Cloud is ready to support projects of all shapes and sizes.
The 2019 Partner Conference was a special occasion because it marked our 20th anniversary. It was an important and opportune moment for us to recognize some of our partners and people that have been part of our family for a long time and who have contributed so much to our community. However, it is also important to thank all of our partners for their dedication and support. We are excited and committed to our Partner ecosystem and are looking forward to generating some great projects this year!
PARTNERS, thank you all for being a part of our ecosystem and for attending our 2019 Global Partner Conference in Malaga!