Nov. 03, 2020

Tom Humbarger


4 min. read

Here’s the SearchStax update from the 2020 Sitecore Symposium. We participated in the virtual Symposium last week and enjoyed watching the keynotes, listening to customer stories, learning more about the current and future features of Sitecore, and networking with customers, prospects and partners. We appreciate the hard work from the Sitecore Symposium team and want to thank them for putting on a great show in these difficult times.

Editor’s Note: Managed Solr is now SearchStax Cloud. It is the same great product that lets developers set up and deploy Solr infrastructure in minutes.

Takeaways from 2020 Sitecore Symposium

Our key takeaway was the critical role search plays in the Sitecore ecosystem and how it was mentioned in every customer experience and digital transformation case study we watched during the Symposium. It was great to have SearchStax get several shout-outs during the presentations for providing the critical Solr infrastructure that is so important to these groundbreaking projects. Most consultants and implementers realize that Solr is not their core competency and that outsourcing any technology that they cannot do better makes for more successful projects.

During Symposium, Sitecore recognized five projects as Sitecore Ultimate Experience Winners and two of these projects use SearchStax under the hood for the Solr infrastructure:

Three other customers delivered case studies during the Symposium and specifically mentioned SearchStax in their presentations. An overview and links to the On-Demand case study sessions for these companies and their agencies are below:

  • ICF with their partner Engagency
  • Soho House with EPAM
  • Project Management Institute (PMI) with their partner EPAM

SearchStax Accelerates Data-Driven Search Experiences with Solr

In addition, SearchStax’s CEO, Sameer Maggon, recorded an On-Demand session titled Accelerating data-driven search experiences with Solr. Sameer discussed how an important component of providing a better customer experience on a Sitecore-powered website is achieved by delivering a better search experience.

Sameer provided real-life examples of how the search experience can be improved using facets, related searches, type-ahead, spellcheck and synonyms. He wrapped up by envisioning what’s possible with the SearchStax Studio solution. The approach showed how easy it is for business users to configure and manage the customer search experience with SearchStax Studio and reinforced the importance of continual improvement by using insights from analytics to drive changes in the search configuration.

ICF Transforms Visitor Experience Through Automation and Personalization

ICF is a global consulting and digital services provider with more than 7,000 professionals spread across more than 70 countries. In their On-Demand session, ICF discussed transforming visitor experience through automation and personalization. 

ICF top needs were:

  • A foundation to support simpler navigation
  • An ability to auto-generate topics landing pages to improve discoverability and browsing experience
  • A better way to surface search results around central topics even it the page didn’t have the search term in the text
  • Intelligent personalization for their 20 different practice

The solution was to make content easier to find through better UX, on-site search and SEO:

A key part of ICF’s solution was to drive more relevant content experiences with less overhead using flexibility and customization with Solr facets to allow indexed content to be more readily searched.

You can learn more about how ICF leveraged SearchStax Managed Solr to drive better search in a case study on our website.

Soho House Activates the Power of Digital Content

Soho House is a home for creative people to come together, with Houses, screening rooms, restaurants and workspaces around the world and their session discussed how they transformed their business by activating the power of digital content. 

With the launch of in March 2020, Soho House began to extend its global presence, while providing greater value to its membership through the delivery of forward-thinking content, digital video events, third-party partnerships and more intuitive booking systems. When COVID-19 hit and the physical houses had to shut their doors, the new website’s ability to analyze current and prospective audiences was vital to shifting their business strategy to online and virtual.

To accelerate the digital member experiences require a harmony of member obsession, culture, strategic choices, tools and teams and architecture. This required that Soho House build an agile and adaptable platform by embarking on a strategy to choose the best tools for the task at hand.

For content search, Soho House selected SearchStax Managed Solr because “the business didn’t want to manage that infrastructure in-house and saw Solr Software-as-a-Service as the best way to deliver search into the architecture.”

The preliminary results for Soho House are impressive especially while launching during COVID-19.

Project Management Institute Reinvents its Digital Presence

Since its 50th anniversary celebration in October 2019, the Project Management Institute (PMI) revitalized its iconic brand with a new and streamlined purchasing experience, modernized cloud-based architecture, and DevOps practices that have allowed the organization to quickly adapt to a volatile and unpredictable world.
In the On-Demand Session on reinventing their digital presence, the guiding principle for PMI was to add value using a customer-centric approach. They did this by simplifying and streamlining the customer experience, making sure the experience modern and up to date, and then using data to analyze and improve the experience.

PMI moved from on-premise to the Azure cloud and is using SearchStax for Managed Solr and the frontend user experience for search leverages Coveo. One quote that stuck with us was, “we wanted to concentrate on what we’re good at and outsource anything we could not make better.”

Sitecore Symposium for 2021

Sitecore is hoping to return to their typical in-person Symposium in 2021 and encourages everyone to save the date for Symposium 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada from October 4-7.

By Tom Humbarger

Senior Product Marketing Manager

“…search should not only be for those organizations with massive search budgets.”

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