When Brice Dunwoodie created CMSWire in 2003, he had clear and practical objectives: to provide readers a healthy balance of the latest news combined with best practices, case studies and product details that practitioners would find useful in the field.

It's a model Dunwoodie, the CEO of Simpler Media Group, Inc., the parent company of CMSWire, still follows today. Next month, he'll extend the blueprint one step further at CMSWire's inaugural DX Summit, a two-day conference about the evolving field of digital experience (DX). The summit will be held Nov. 3 and 4 in Chicago.

In this final installment of a two-part series, CMSWire Reporter Dom Nicastro talks to Dunwoodie about the conference, technology and the reasons why smart businesses are embracing DX. You can read part one here.

Exchanging DX Ideas

Nicastro: What was the impetus for the DX Summit?

Dunwoodie: Our readership and our client base have been pushing for this conference for some time. So in many ways it's come from that pressure, but is also a natural extension of our existing operations and our many online events. Why now? Because there's a critical moment happening between the WCM/DX/CX and MarTech ecosystems. It's overwhelming for consumers of this technology to put the pieces together with confidence, and for the vendors it's triggered a lot of stress in terms of how to position and differentiate in the market.

Budgets have changed departments, and digital customer experience has become a C-Suite conversation. It's hard for any one person to keep up. So for us this is the perfect time to put together an event that gathers core elements of our community and gives them a forum to exchange ideas, best practices, lessons from the trenches and inspirational ideas.

I've also watched all of us grow increasingly busy in the workplace. By and large I don't find people in our industry with any extra time on their hands.

So part of my personal aspiration for this event is also to ask everyone to step back a moment and reflect on how we can stay innovative in the digital experience space while being under so much pressure. Many of us face the same situation — we have to digest many different tools and concepts, sort the wheat from the chaff and increasingly deliver more results from our digital infrastructure, all the while we are staring down the barrel of a string intimidating advances like DX in an IoT world.

It's difficult to be innovative when you're drinking from the fire hose. So to kick off the DX Summit we're going step back a moment to hear some interesting ideas about how to survive and thrive in this kind of climate. I think it will strike a cord with a lot of our community. Then we'll come back down to the nuts and bolts and deliver some very practical knowledge and have some great discussions.

Nicastro: In shaping the content for this conference, what were the themes you were trying to drive home?

Dunwoodie: With so much happening, narrowing our focus for two days of sessions and a day of workshops has been a challenge. With that said, we've built the 2015 DX Summit to drill into these themes:

  • Innovation in the digital experience space
  • The DX + MarTech ecosystem — strategies for success, CX Culture
  • How to build and nurture customer centric culture, teams and processes

In the second half of Day 2 we're looking at how sophisticated organizations are bringing these things together in successful ways. We're mixing in some pre-conference workshops for three-hour deep dives on technology selection, narrative development, data mapping for customer journeys and digital maturity assessment.

And then we've got a number of more practitioner-oriented breakouts that will allow attendees to dig a bit deeper and connect more personally with the presenters or panelists.

Learning Opportunities

Nicastro: What can you say about the variety of speakers and workshop leaders who will be at the DX Summit?

Dunwoodie: We've got an amazing community of contributors to CMSWire: more than 400 at last count. It's impossible to engage everyone in that community for this event, but that's been a priority for us. So there's a ton of deep knowledge coming from that group. We've also brought in some great analysts from Real Story Group, IDC, Forrester, Digital Clarity Group (DCG), Gartner, GigaOm (they're coming back!) and others. These folks bring a more structured approach and some fresh research that will be presented during the conference.

And we've got the software vendor and integrator space represented. I have a soft spot for the integrators, given my own background with enterprise integration and application development. I also have a lot of respect for these folks — they are the people charged with making all the wonderful promises come true. That's no small feat.

Nicastro: Tell us about a few of the sessions you have planned for the DX Summit.

Dunwoodie: Forrester analyst Mark Grannan is presenting a session entitled, "The Integration Imperative of DX Delivery" on Tuesday, Nov. 3. With the complex fabrics that we are all developing, integration is huge. We could have spent an entire day on this topic alone.

Integration might sound boring at first blush, but there are hidden surprises in any integration project. And if you don't know how to think about integration, data structures, APIs and openness between systems, you should not be in charge of selecting your next DX platform. You will likely fail.

Tony Byrne of the Real Story Group is going to take this topic further in his Tuesday session, “Building the Right Digital Marketing Toolkit,” and then we're going to end the day with a roundtable titled, "DX Platforms vs. Best-of-Breed Marketing Technologies."

This is a tiny sample though. For more detail, definitely check out the full DX Summit agenda.

Overall we've pulled together an outstanding mix of speakers, from futurists to strategists to analysts to integrators. But the goal for me has been to create a fabric of information that is going to make our attendees smarter team members, better planners and ultimately more successful at their day jobs.

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