SearchStax team members Ryan Clark, Pete Navarra, Bri Riede, Chris Brady and Sameer Maggon.

October 31, 2023

Bri Riede


4 min. read

SearchStax was elated to be a Silver Sponsor for this year’s SUGCON North America, hosted in Minneapolis. 

SUGCON brings together the Sitecore user community, providing a platform for finding inspiration in Sitecore’s services. It’s not just about making connections within the community; it’s an opportunity to expand your network and gain new insights. 

“The community spirit was rejuvenating,” said SearchStax Vice President of DXP Solutions Pete Navarra. “The Sitecore community and MVP group are one of the best a brand platform has to offer. Being able to share with the community how SearchStax can solve their customers’ search problems was a key point and the starter for many conversations at our booth and throughout the event.”

We’re happy to share some of the key insights our team members – CEO Sameer Maggon, Vice President of Sales Ryan Clark, Director of Partnerships Chris Brady, Marketing Chief of Staff Bri Reide and Navarra – brought back from the event. 

Key Highlights

Sitecore CEO Steve Tzikakis kicked off SUGCON with a warm welcome that set the tone for the collaborative spirit and shared passion that unites this dynamic community. He set the stage for the conference, promising an exciting journey into the evolving landscape of digital experiences.

Industry leader Jake Hookman’s opening keynote shared his vision for the future of Sitecore. Hookman introduced XM Cloud Plus commercial bundling and provided a comprehensive roadmap to assist customers on their SaaS migrations. As we listened, we couldn’t help but think about how SearchStax could complement this vision.

Attendees delved into the world of XM Cloud, where they gained a profound understanding of how this technology is reshaping the digital sphere, especially as it pertains to search, personalization, and revalidations.

Composable Strategy and Third-Party Innovation

SearchStax’s Navarra, who is also a six-time Sitecore MVP, highlighted that the Sitecore technical community is committed to seeing Sitecore keep the vision they’ve sold on being a truly composable brand with composable products. 

“While the introduction of the XM Cloud Plus might seem like a non-composable bundle, it’s important to realize that mixing and matching Sitecore products and third-party solutions is at the core of Sitecore’s composable strategy,” Navarra said.

This approach leaves ample room for innovations by third-party platforms and consultants to tailor solutions to customers’ unique needs and business requirements. The ability to compose the right product mix for each customer is at the heart of the Sitecore philosophy, making it a versatile platform that can evolve alongside the changing digital landscape.

AI Takes the Stage

One standout theme at SUGCON was AI’s role in the future of search. Sessions unveiled the exciting possibilities AI holds for personalized, intelligent customer experiences. The sessions that focused on generative AI not only highlighted what this will mean for Sitecore, but for the marketplace in general. As this nuanced topic is being explored, the speakers understood there was fear that AI could replace jobs for marketers. Speakers underscored that instead, AI could be a springboard for marketers to go further, faster. 

SearchStax CEO Sameer Maggon also recently presented his own thoughts on Generative AI in the search landscape at DrupalCon Lille and will have a second presentation at Acquia Engage Boston in November.

Analytics and Measuring What Matters

The talk by MJ and Emily Lord on analytics and measuring what matters was a standout. It emphasized the importance of focusing on one KPI at a time, which resonated with us as we help users gain meaningful insights from their search analytics and don’t get blinded by “dashboard creep.”

Time for Fun

SUGCON was not all insights and diving deep into Sitecore technology. There was also time for fun during the event.

Navarra delivered an outstanding performance to close out the conference, wrapping up SUGCON on a high note. Navarra got on stage with Megan Mueller Jensen, Jason Wilkerson and Rodrigo Peplau. Their more than six-minute performance included renditions of well-known songs rewritten with a SUGCON and Sitecore spin. 

“We Will Rock You” by Queen and “TNT” by AC/DC got the performers going, and the ending of “It’s fun to stay at S.U.G.CON to the tune of “ Y.M.C.A.” by Village People allowed the crowd to get in on the action.


Pete Navarra sings onstage with three other performers.
Pete Navarra sings onstage with Megan Mueller Jensen, Jason Wilkerson and Rodrigo Peplau to close SUGCON NA 2023.


Looking Ahead

The SUGCON experience was not just about gaining knowledge; it was about connecting, sharing, and celebrating the spirit of the Sitecore community. And SearchStax was thrilled to be part of this vibrant community, contributing our insights and enjoying the adventure.

With SUGCON behind us, we look forward to the ongoing journey of innovation and collaboration in the world of Sitecore and digital experiences. 

Learn more about SearchStax’s Sitecore solutions including SearchStax Cloud, our managed Solr solution, and SearchStax Studio, our site search solution. 

By Bri Riede

Marketing Chief of Staff

SearchStax’s Pete Navarra, a six-time Sitecore MVP, emphasized that Sitecore's composable strategy opens the door for innovative third-party solutions, tailoring products to unique business needs.

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