10 things that every Optimizely customer should be thinking about in 2022

Lorna Foott - Head of Business Development,

A new year means new project and marketing plans - but what plans do you have for improving your key systems in the coming year? We’ve pulled together this overview detailing the key things every Optimizely CMS/DXP customer should be thinking about.

1. CMS 12 – a faster future

CMS 12 is the latest version of the Optimizely CMS - it launched in September 2021 and it’s great.  Built using .Net 5, it hugely improves site speed at the backend, makes administration tasks much easier with a redesigned user interface, and adds lots of opportunities for your development team to improve technical delivery. With the move to .Net 5 and the addition of React and Vue SDKs in support of their headless APIs, it delivers on the promise of omnichannel content management without sacrificing editing capabilities for the web. Despite the massive leap forward in underlying technical architecture, the upgrade path is designed to be as smooth as possible.

2. Welcoming Welcome – improve your content operations

As Platinum partners, watching Episerver become Optimizely and seeing the raft of product acquisitions over the last few years has been hugely exciting and inspired fantastic opportunities for our client’s solutions. Their recent agreement to acquire Welcome is one to watch in 2022. Welcome will bring centralised marketing orchestration to the core of the Optimizely’s capabilities. A proven tool with an impressive existing client base, it will be fully integrated into Optimizely and support large marketing and communications teams with the ongoing challenge of fractured content operations. Welcome will help eliminate silos created by different teams, working on different campaigns, generating different assets and using varying tools and measures of success. It will help our customers to reduce operational overheads and maximise their content effectiveness.

3. Data Core Service – unify your data view

Coming to all existing customers from the first quarter of 2022 without any additional licencing charge, Optimizely’s Data Core Service will bring your behavioural data (like page and product views, experimentation and promotion data) together so you can create unified customer profiles to drive your decision-making. When you’re ready to bring your customer segmentation and activation management into your DXP, you can upgrade to the full Optimizely Data Platform. Already using a Data Warehouse – Optimizely is designed to support data ETL processes across a wide variety of platforms, even supplying native integration to platforms such as Snowflake.

4. Server side analytics – stay on the ball

Whilst not just specific to Optimizely clients, this needs to be on your radar in 2022 if data is central to your strategy. Server-side tagging is the next generation of digital analytics, allowing you full control of the data you send to third party tools and increasing website performance by reducing the code delivered to and run in the browser. These benefits aside, with all the major browser makers committed to the move to block third-party cookies by default, the move to server-side tagging will quickly become critical to continue to collect meaningful analytics data at all.

5. A.I. driven content – lighten your load

Have you got your content plans drawn up for 2022? How will you ensure that you are creating the right content for our audiences and the right content to convert? In walks artificial intelligence and the promise of streamlining and automating the process through specialist ontological and knowledge graphing platforms. Optimizely’s Content Recommendations (part of the Intelligence Cloud) have really got this sewn up as part of the fully integrated platform, and if you haven’t had a demo and considered it in your marketing mix then 2022 might be the year to do so. The tool can automatically assess your content landscape, preventing the need for manual audit before providing analysis and recommendations for what content to produce next and which content could drive you the biggest returns.

6. Website accessibility- not just virtue signalling

Website accessibility is on everyone’s hit list. Our season on Building a Better Web explored how common it is to start a web project with good intentions for web accessibility and then leave it by the wayside as more “pressing” project demands come into play. 2022 is a key year for website accessibility – a step away from “virtue signalling” and an opportunity for true human-centred design to ensure web products are accessible to all. This is not just a compliance requirement, but something that will provide a better experience for all your customers regardless of factors such as age, education, physical or cognitive ability. Accessibility should be baked into your digital services from inception, considered at every stage of design, implementation, testing and delivery.  Content quality management solutions such as SiteImprove, offer key support in your accessibility mix. Their seamless integration into Optimizely allows your content teams to check that your digital services work for all your users as they create new site content.

7. Headless – the race to the middle

As an Optimizely customer, you might be thinking of it as a traditional CMS vendor and wonder if you should be shifting to a headless architecture. Firstly, the good news is that Optimizely have offered a headless solution for years and more recently has really leant into developing its APIs and SDKs for React and Vue (see CMS 12 above).  You have options and it might be worth speaking to your agency to see how you could take advantage of these capabilities to support  performance improvements and omnichannel delivery. Over time, purist headless-vs-traditional architecture arguments have started to give way to the “race to the middle”, rebalancing the priorities between experience management and content delivery management. Optimizely’s integrated solution allows you the flexibility to work the way that fits your needs.

8. Experimentation – Optimizely then and now

When Episerver acquired Optimizely in 2020, it was no surprise that they adopted the latter’s branding – intelligent content has always been a key benefit of the Episerver product. This merger ignited that message - and supercharged their DXP product suite. You probably have web and campaign experimentation programmes in play already, but 2022 might be the year to join everything up to greater effect (especially with Data Core Service rolling out). Now fully integrated into the DXP, Optimizely’s Web Experimentation empowers your content teams to collaborate in-platform and run advanced, fast experiments to optimise your conversions in real time.

9. Digital agility – mapping your digital maturity

Okay, so we’ve given you a lot to think about here – how can we draw it all together? When working with new clients and running discovery programmes, we find it useful to discuss digital maturity in the context of user experience, content, accessibility, marketing automation etc. and plot current positions versus longer term aims. It’s never too late to implement such a model into your digital strategy and Optimizely have a great digital agility model that you can use to springboard your planning and evaluate if you are making the most of your digital opportunities. Whether you use this - or build something bespoke to your needs - the model’s principles remain the same, providing useful stepping stones to progress your organisation’s digital maturity. 

10. Content remains king – an oldy but a goody

And finally… yes, content. Never before have content strategy and operations been more critical to market standout and success. As an Optimizely customer - you already know the value of content and have selected the leading platform to enable your plans. With Optimizely’s continuing product evolution, there are increasingly improved ways to ensure your content is more easily produced, smarter, performant and better delivered. We will be producing a series over the next few months that details how you can get the most out of your web content strategy with Optimizely in 2022. Stay tuned.

So that’s our round-up – and we’ll be delving into these topics and opportunities a lot more as the year progresses. As Optimizely Platinum Partners we’d love to discuss what 2022 means for your digital plans, so feel free to get in touch

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