Welcome to Liferay Symposium North America 2017! Check back here all day and tomorrow, October 17, for live updates on the many different sessions happening at Symposium. Content will run in reverse chronological order, so just refresh the page if you are following along live to see the latest on top.

Click here for live coverage of Liferay Symposium Day Two.

5:00 PM - Dinner, Networking and Music

That's a wrap on Liferay Symposium North America 2017 Day One! Attendees were treated to a delicious dinner and a taste of the live local music by The Austin Moonlighters after Monday's final sessions ended.

Join us here tomorrow for our continued live coverage of LSNA 2017 Day Two.

4:10 PM - Intelligent Information Discovery: Machine Driven Search

Andre Oliviera, Search Engineering Lead at Liferay, Inc., provided attendees with a greater understanding of how to navigate today's massive digital transformation and the resulting explosion of content affecting users everywhere, as well as a look at where Liferay Search is headed.

Users are bombarded with information from everywhere at all times of the day, so businesses and application developers need to formulate their information discovery strategy. Andre provided the audience with a look at the past of online customer journeys and the future of journeys:

  • 1st Generation: Browsing for Content - A simple customer journey through a website with a click-oriented customer journey.
  • 2nd Generation: Searching for Content - Users find freedom from navigation with keyword-oriented information discovery.
  • Next Generation: Predicting Relevant Content - The discovery gateway is everywhere and applications tell users what they would probably like to see and do, with interest-oriented information discovery influencing the customer journey.

Andre discussed how Intelligent Information Discovery is the next stage and it all begins with search. This goes beyond simple database queries and uses ranking and relevance algorithms to better match results with user interests. Today, results are continuing to go toward user-based predictions, with search engine output being scored predictions for a more successful and tailored search result.

Data science and machine learning are gaining more and more importance in business and search strategies today, including training neural networks to make predictions.

According to Andre, the essential challenge in machine learning is modeling your input universe on meaningful numbers so that the data collected is linked together and better understood in order to create an accurate and useful result. When calculating search engine results, Andre advised using TF-IDF (Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency), which shows how often a term appears in the field, how rare the term is in the whole index, and the length of the field where the term appears, in order to accurately score the field when predicting results scores. From there, you can remove stopwords, spellcheck aggressively, predict non-text fields and more.

Andre provided multiple examples and strategies regarding how to better understand why your pages are ranking in searches as they currently are and what can be done to improve your results over time. Companies can find content similar to a previously existing document, use MLT on specific target fields and apply TF-IDF to better analyze top search results versus your targeted pages. Companies can also store successful queries for users, which match the company's intended customer journey and an indication of interest from audiences in the services and products you provide. Afterward, directly visited content can be clustered with successful results to further refine content relevancy. Finally, companies can cluster successful queries from users with content to better understand their interrelated results.

The result of successful efforts means the creation of smart content delivery, with a discovery gateway that is everywhere, including front page search results, autofilling in search bars, content views, push notifications, matching new content based on previous successful actions from a user and more in order to anticipate and influence the interests and actions of users. The result is an ever-improving intelligent information score.

Andre also provided insights into what's next for Liferay Search. This includes an upgrade to Elasticsearch 6, packaged with X-Pack and Kibana. Machine learning capabilities are included and the architecture is being redesigned for a modular search infrastructure for extensibility, as well as small, single-purpose components that are reusable and easier to test and the use of new extension points.

The next generation of Liferay Search includes search page templates, search bar, search results, multi-selection facets, search-aware portlets and more so that users can implement the components that fit into their unique strategies and services.

Andre also revealed that the upcoming Liferay Commerce will be powered by Liferay Search end-to-end for fast and flexible results and prediction strategies.

3:30 PM - Building Real Value for Partners: A Hewlett Packard Case Study

Andrew Shaber, Sr. Software Engineer and Development Lead for Hewlett Packard, talked about how HP is building a DaaS (Device as a Service) Management Portal with Liferay.

HP's DaaS Management Portal is used to support HP's DaaS Business, including device deployment dashboard and document repository. In order to create the portal, HP leveraged Liferay's portal platform capabilities, the customer application development of DXP and a partnership between Liferay Global Services and HP development teams.

The DaaS Management Portal includes Rapid Price Estimation (CPQ) that allows for the selection of hardware, refinement of services, an estimation survey, and a DaaS expert workflow. This provides the ability to accurately estimate services and thoroughly manage DaaS development.

Through the use of Liferay, HP was able to quickly implement workflow capabilities without the need to build their own and create granular access control of the DaaS Management Portal for role-based management.

Andrew then took attendees through a quick and intuitive walkthrough of the DaaS Management Portal's Price Estimation Tool, displaying how a user could control everything from contract length to platform to part number in order to have fast and accurate estimations regarding pricing and business needs. Afterward, the portal can be used to configure, deploy, optimize, maintain, dispose and refresh services as needed in order to create a package that fits whatever user group is being focused on.

In addition to the price estimation tool, HP has built a Contracts Document Server, using out-of-the-box functionality combined with HP's look and feel display for the storage of customer documentation, including contracts, change orders, invoices, purchase orders and UAT acceptance. This can be filtered through Liferay's asset categories in order to pull specific results as needed by users. In the event of a new type of document, users can quickly add the new type into categorization so that the catalog can grow and be managed as needed.

HP's Deployments Dashboard was also built on Liferay, using dynamic data lists and highcharts in order to both manage and import a variety of spreadsheet data.

Andrew pointed out that organization and coordination between HP's departments, including their Development Team, UI/UX Design Team and Product Owner Business Team, as well as Liferay Global Services and Liferay Silver Partner, enabled HP to ensure that the product was built right the first time and was able to be sustained over the long-term

2:10 PM - Creating Exceptional Digital Experiences: User-Centered Design Patterns and Principles

Ben Shoemate, Co-Founder & Info Architect of Base 22 discussed the 12 proven design principles and patterns of world-class portals.

Ben talked about information architecture - the principles and patterns that define systems and keep it organized as it grows - and what can be done to create useful and beautiful architecture for websites and portals. If a system is not organizing information properly, even the most valuable information will lose its usefulness.

The question was asked, what makes a website great? Is it the design, content, technology or governance? The following 12 principles shown in the image can be applied to create a great, living website:

A dead website is no longer growing and has lost its usefulness, while living sites have principles and patterns including comprehensiveness, accessibility, integrated content, transparent design for users, mobile capabilities, security and more. In addition, designers must understand the many different forces that have an effect on the creation of a website, including everything from the market to imagination. These forces need to be balanced in order to create a website that is both useful and beautiful.

Ben pointed out that even if a website is beautiful, if it does not truly serve its purpose, then that beauty will cause users to hate using it. Good design listens and brings balance to the forces and companies should let the user own the design in order to create great experiences. After all, sites and portals that are being created belong to the user in the end because they are the ones drawing value from it.

In addition, well-designed websites are able to communicate clearly with the user and beautiful design highlights their useful information. Great websites are unambiguous, with one, and only one, page per topic.

Ben also highlighted what it takes to create a clean, useful and well-designed portal. Like a tree, a portal is highly structured through branches that organize a wide variety of information, with sites and sub-sites built on topic hubs, which are built on a role-based dashboard, which is based on the portal as a whole.

Once your site has been created, it will be powered by frequently updated resources and a consistent cycle of news. Ben discussed that a constantly valuable and used website goes through two steps. First, create or update a resource. Second, promote the update with a news item. Valuable resources stay up to date while old news articles can be replaced with the latest news articles, which will highlight updated resources.

When this great content is based on well-designed sites, companies can provide great value to their target audiences.

1:30 PM - Getting Designers to See Eye-to-Eye with You

Paul Hanoaka, Web Designer with Liferay, Inc., provides a customer-centric approach to implementing effective digital business strategies.

As lead designer for Liferay.com, Paul walked attendees through Liferay's recent website updates and the changes made to balance aesthetics with functionality. When discussing the disconnect between project goals and customer needs that occur so often with businesses, Paul showed why it may be a design problem. Even if you are not a designer, by focusing on users, businesses can maximize the value of design.

"Design is the rendering of intent." - Jared Spool.

Users (prospects, customers and coworkers) generate revenue. How does a business get to valuable design creation? The following strategies can help:

1. Get Designers Involved Early

  • Reveal the Right Vision - Make sure that what is really being made is valuable to the customer.
  • Help them Stay on Target - Remember what the user really wants and help get to the core of their needs.

By developing design alongside content research and creation, all aspects of a recent Liferay project were able to be prepared and launched in a short amount of time and with a high initial value.

2. Understand Better

  • Review Effectively - Make sure to set clear review goals for usability and a delightful product that makes the user happy.
  • Know Where You Are - Provide stage-appropriate feedback that makes the most of each review process.

3. Provide Problems, Not Solutions

  • Designers provide solutions, so a business should provide designers with problems for them to solve, rather than a strict, pre-determined solution for them to implement without their own input.

4. Provide Scenarios, Not Opinions

  • Instead of saying what you don't like, provide a useful scenario that a designer can address and solve through their creativity.

5. Test

  • Frequently testing allows for continued growth and the ability to properly address problems.

Paul pointed out how providing in-depth data with tools such as Google Analytics and Hot Jar can inform and help designers in new ways through concrete information. While numbers will not tell you the whole story, they can give your designers greater context to work off of and make valuable design choices.

12:00 PM - Lunchtime!

Symposium attendees spent their lunch break filling up with a delicious meal and connecting with people from around the world while preparing for the second half of Symposium.

Attendees also had the opportunity to fill out candy grams for Austin Angels. The Halloween candy care packages are sent to foster youth with the organization and Liferay has pledged to donate $100 to Austin Angels for every candy gram filled throughout Symposium. With lunch only just beginning, the candy grams were already beginning to pile up!

Multiple lightning sessions were also held throughout lunch, with presenters walking guests through a wide variety of possibilities available with Liferay. Seen here, a demo of the Liferay-based Angular Single Page Application "Provider Finder" built by XTIVIA for BCBSAL.

11:20 AM - Smith & Nephew: Creating a Connected Care platform for the Future

David Kelman, VP of Technology Service & Support for Smith & Nephew, discusses how interactive digital solutions are helping hospitals and surgeons improve operating room efficiency and reduce cost through its S2 Procedure Performance application.

Smith & Nephew is an orthopedic device company, designing a wide variety of joint replacements. However, healthcare costs have continued to increase over the years and the surgery process has become more intricate, frequently leading to the need for an implant device sales rep to be present in the operating room to advise in the process. In addition, hospital staff turnover is increasing due to escalating retirement rates.

In order to equip and train staff concerning device implantation, Smith & Nephew created the S2 Procedure Performance application, which helped meet needs by providing important insights, but eventually required an update and expansion to meet new demands. These included the need for a strong platform partner to better create their vision

Smith & Nephew chose Liferay DXP to provide a platform that included information on each doctor, the ability to provide photos and videos concerning how the doctor wants the patient prepped, special notes regarding the procedure, videos on how the instrumentation must be assembled, every single instrument that the surgeon needs to be laid out step by step and much more. All of these insights can be displayed in the operating room through a tablet for quick and direct access.

Smith & Nephew also created surgical sequence training to test and score how well a user understands and is prepared for a specific surgical procedure. These lessons and quizzes can be used to create certifications in order to better understand how knowledgeable the staff is and what must be done in order to improve operating room skill and efficiency. In addition, Smith & Nephew has been able to find unused instruments in order to remove excess tools, thereby lowering operating room costs in conjunction with improved operating efficiency.

Smith & Nephew sees S2 as a core service that they will continue to expand on and deliver to different countries around the world.

10:40 AM - Liferay as a Case Study: We're Not Just the Vendor, We're the Client

Brian Kim, COO of Liferay, Inc., and JC Choi, Director of U.S. Operations of Liferay, Inc.

Reflecting back on the previous year's Symposium, Brian discussed the need to scale from an independent company to one that meets the needs of thousands of people and the question that arises: how can we improve our customer experience?

Customers expect a better overall experience because the bar is being set higher by other companies, necessitating improved strategies and the ability to better understand customers on an individual level.

JC provided a use case example concerning how a company can be disconnected internally when trying to meet the needs of a customer. With sales, support, marketing and consulting all attempting to understand and provide for a unique customer. When these methods are disorganized, the customer can be bombarded by different messages, leading to dissatisfaction.

Liferay worked toward unifying the internal systems of the business, using Liferay DXP to unify Support, Liferay.com, Customer Portal, Marketplace, HubSpot and Salesforce, which resulted in the creation of Dossiera.

Dossiera works toward taking information from disparate systems and bringing them together to create meaningful insights that employees may not be able to create on their own.

Brian and JC then provided a demo of Dossiera, showing how the system can manage separate accounts and separate employees. Dossiera's finalized internal workplace shows the full customer lifecycle and the many different interactions experienced by a consumer. These various customer actions can show their unique interests concerning a company and what products and services may best meet their needs.

In addition, urgent needs are displayed so that account managers can quickly and efficiently help their customers. The lifecycles of the various services and products they have purchased are shown for greater insights into the future of a customer. the goal of these many different insights is to better equip employees with the ability to provide for accounts in timely, effective ways that are informed by many different viewpoints.

Liferay is continuing to focus on how analytics, personalization, customer engagement scores and more can be used to further empower employees through Dossiera, with users being able to not only work efficiently, but work effectively.

Major traits that have been correlated to the likelihood to renew based on insights from Dossiera include:

  • Customer Profile
  • Customer Behavior
  • Project Attributes

Using these insights, Liferay was able to better understand the probability to renew versus customers marked as target accounts for an improved ability to segment and strategize over the long term. These new possibilities were able to shift Liferay's approach to marketing and more.

10:00 AM - Liferay Commerce: A Preview of Our Upcoming Features

Marco Leo, Software Architect with Liferay, Inc., provides an exclusive glimpse into Liferay's upcoming commerce platform.

Liferay is creating a full-feature commerce platform with a vision to provide a platform that improves customer experience in every aspect. Companies today will need to create a unified solution for all customer needs, including both B2B and B2C needs, as the future of customer demands will be nothing like it is today.

Today's digital commerce provides personalization, search, analytics and more through both internationalization and localization. The modern customer has the easy ability to buy anything they need, whenever they need it. But the future is smart enhanced shopping, where consumers can buy when they need it before they even know they need it.

The commerce needs for B2B and B2C are merging. B2B companies must improve experiences or risk being left behind, including omnichannel shopping and improved personalization. In addition, B2C companies are getting into the B2C business. These changes are evolving the landscape of commerce.

Liferay Commerce will provide features including:

  • Catalog Management
    • Products, options, attachments, images, SKCs and more
  • Commerce Engine
    • Payments, taxes, discounts, shipments and inventory
  • Customer Portal
    • Full product ready to use, account management, order management at platform level and complex configuration support

Liferay Commerce covers the full customer lifecycle, from prospect to customer to advocate, so that both consumers and the company can benefit from the experience.

Marco also provided a walkthrough of how Liferay Commerce can create a B2C fashion website, showing how a user can browse through a site and shop for a handbag. The demonstration showed how the entire customer purchasing cycle can be completed on the platform, as well as how back-end systems can create a brand new product listing quickly and easily. A product manager can manage images, location on the site, product information and more through a product management system that is integrated with the front-end user experience.

Liferay Commerce will be available for out-of-the-box integration in Q2 of 2018.

9:20 AM - Guest Keynote: Dr. Tony Murphy, GLOBE Project

Dr. Murphy is the director of the GLOBE Implementation Office (GIO).

GLOBE's initiative is to create citizen scientists, helping to get a younger generation invested in science. In recent years, GLOBE has begun to also focus on creating adult citizen scientists. The project has created numerous apps in order to equip people around the world to better understand science in their own environment.

In 2017, GLOBE created an eclipse app to help people observe the North American eclipse, which will also be used for future eclipses around the world. The app generated more than 100,000 scientific observations by more than 10,000 observers during the recent eclipse in both North and South America, including air temperature and ground temperature measurements.

The data that is being generated is also being used by NASA scientists and helping people around the world to better understand the world around them. This includes GLOBE's creation of a mosquito protocol, which has recently been applied to an app called the Mosquito Mapper. This app helps to determine the location of mosquitos and eliminate their presence in order to prevent the spread of serious diseases.

In addition, students are able to better understand and analyze data available through GLOBE's apps so that they can begin to better understand their areas of scientific interest and present their analytics in events hosted by GLOBE.

Liferay has helped GLOBE build their community by providing their audience with capabilities they did not have on their own and allowing for greater control of the organization's hierarchical management. Data entry forms, material translation into nine different languages and the ability to better connect with the community worldwide are possible through the use of Liferay.

GLOBE is also preparing to launch a whole new web page system based on Liferay, including an event collaboration calendar and a more dynamic website animation that provides fast access to needed information. Data is just one part of GLOBE's story, with stories about students and schools around the world available on GLOBE's website through an interactive globe.

9:00 AM - Opening Keynote by Bryan Cheung

Bryan Cheung, Liferay CEO, kicked off Liferay Symposium by showcasing the wide variety of companies and sites around the world powered by Liferay, as well as the growing community. As the expectations concerning digital experiences continue to grow, so does Liferay.

With a vision toward the future, Bryan highlighted several ways in which the Liferay platform is focused on growing and strengthening.

1. Modular Backend Services - With modularity, users can more quickly change the apps they build to keep up with rapidly shifting customer demands.

2. APIs - Designed to evolve and be consumed through headless usage in order to future proof so that clients can stay powerful and relevant to modern needs.

3. Modernize Front End Tech and Put UX First - Nine of 14 Liferay opensource projects are interface related in order to emphasize great design and create great user experiences.

4. Ready for Cloud Deployment - Liferay's WeDeploy is a new platform for the cloud in order to launch cloud-based services within as little time as possible.

Bryan also highlighted the vision for the Liferay platform, including new ways to embrace scalability, the ability to assemble apps from pre-built interfaces and more. Liferay continues to focus on web content management as the way that websites are built continues to evolve as well as the evolution of forms in order to build simple business applications very quickly.

In 2018, Liferay will be adding a digital commerce server in order to provide a single platform in order to provide for the many interrelated needs of customers.

Liferay Symposium 2017's theme is "Making Real Transformation Happen."

Fundamentally changing your business goes beyond front-end systems and transforms entire organizations end to end. Many different transformation stories will be highlighted throughout Liferay Symposium, including Smith & Nephew's digital learning platform for surgeons and Spire Energy's unification of front-end channels, digital operations, and multiple customer care systems.

Bryan also highlighted the Austin Angels, who work to care for foster children. Liferay will donate $100 for each Symposium attendee member who takes part in today and tomorrow's charity event.

8:45 AM - Welcome to Liferay Symposium 2017

Good morning! Liferay Symposium 2017 is about to begin with an opening keynote by Liferay CEO Bryan Cheung. Just a few of the sessions that will be happening today include:

  • A preview of Liferay Commerce
  • Case studies from many of Liferay's customers
  • Creating exceptional digital experiences
  • Learning about machine-driven search
  • Charity events

All this and plenty more will be happening at Symposium and will be live blogged right here.

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