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Even the opening sounds of the sessions were special at DSF ‘20. From this first sound, we knew this event was going to make an impact. The chats, roundtables and videos had production values that kept me engaged unlike any other virtual event in 2020. Congratulations to the DSF ’20 crew and all of the speakers, panelists and analysts who got creative and filmed from their home offices. In case you weren’t able to participate in some of the presentations, here is a recap.

DSF ’20 is about powerful sessions, and this was no exception, starting strong with Doug Hubbard’s, “How to Measure Anything in Business: Finding the Value of Intangibles.” We learned that we are likely to find the large impacts with just a few measurements. That was a great way to open our minds at the beginning of the conference because the rest of the sessions shared new ways to take control of our futures as we plan for 2021 and beyond.

The standout case study was delivered by USAA’s Andy Keller, who shared his observation that messages we send to customers are getting smaller, more focused and are multiplying rapidly. “Our customers want specific information they need, where they want it, when they want it and how they want it.” USAA has always shared its experiences in delivering omnichannel communications at DSF and this year’s session showed that its omnichannel execution may be the best in the business.

Aside from USAA, many other customer case studies brightened up the DSF ‘20 agenda. Speakers from Broadridge, CSG, MetLife, RRD and Wells Fargo fought and won internal battles with their marketing, legal and compliance teams to share their insights, successes and even some failures. Thanks to the enterprise speakers who give us the most confidence to make changes in our organizations.

The analyst content presented a variety of views on issues facing attendees. Marci Maddox focused on how emerging ECM technologies will alter how we manage content from now on with panelists from Microsoft, IBM and Nuxeo. Kaspar Roos covered the convergence of CCM technology and customer experience concepts, focusing on bi-directional communications, cloud-based CCM and a change in CCM buyers to the line of business. Doculabs’ session had Marty Pavlik and James Watson share how bots, chatbots and AI offer new ways to automate a variety of business processes we face, as cost and customer pressures demand faster results. Forrester’s TJ Keitt’s keynote reminded us that everyone is responsible for good customer experience, while showing the powerful results attained by the experience leaders in a variety of categories.

The vendor sessions offered a chance to get the right-sized introduction to modern technology offered by new and emerging vendors in the DSF ecosystem, including: CCM technology, ECM technology, AI/chatbot technologies and forms technology that deliver incredible business transformations in a year that is an inflection point for transforming communication infrastructures.

This year’s roundtables presented another great way to engage and—oops—I definitely didn’t dress for a video roundtable as I bounced around these sessions. In a season of digital events, this was the closest approximation to face-to-face networking that I have experienced in two seasons of virtual conferences, showing that the DSF team understands the value of connecting at conferences.

As a final note, a wrong was righted, with the renewal of a CCM panel. I was lucky enough to participate in a panel with Patrick Kehoe from Messagepoint and Guy Hellier from OpenText. We explored the inclusion of more channels in the omnichannel ecosystem and the importance of AI and how content shapes a future-state communication portfolio. As an interesting bit of trivia, I worked for Patrick for a while and Patrick worked for Guy for a while, showing that the industry evolves, but we are all working in the same direction: to improve customer communications and transform the industry in interesting, albeit slightly different, ways.

DSF’20 Live delivered on its promise of “Almost Like Being There.” I would like to thank Joel, Allison, Cierra and the DSF ’20 crew for making the best virtual event of the 2020 conference season. Thanks to all of the vendors for supporting the event in this strange but still important year. Thanks to all of the analysts and brave customer speakers who give us confidence to envision our place in the future. But most of all, thanks to all who attended, because without you, there would be no conference.

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