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HCL CommerceConnect Manchester 2022: Orienteed Review

HCL CommerceConnect in Europe

On the 4th and 5th of May, HCL’s CommerceConnect event was held in Manchester, UK. The event took place at the unique and world-renowned venue, Manchester United's Old Trafford stadium, also known as the "Theater of Dreams".

This special event is the only one of its kind in Europe in 2022, and was much anticipated after a long period of restrictions imposed by the pandemic (It is also worth mentioning that HCL will be hosting its global HCL CommerceConnect summit in Chicago on July 19th - 21st of 2022.

Orienteed sent a team of 4 people from its Spanish and Italian divisions to the event, composed of Group CEO, Francesco Schettini, Technical Program Manager, Pedro Blanco Pascual, Orienteed Italy CEO, Stefano Zauli and Orienteed Italy CTO, Marco Fabbri.

The event was broken down to two days, in which the first was dedicated towards HCL Commerce customers, while the second one was focused towards partners. It was an event packed with interesting content about cutting-edge and innovative technologies within the HCL Suite, with a particular focus on its e-commerce platform, HCL Commerce.

It was undoubtedly a meeting point for familiar acquaintances and battle compatriots. Most of all, the event was a place to share experiences, exchange thoughts, and to see both the present and future of HCL Commerce technology.

The agenda – first day (morning session)

First day of presentations at HCL CommerceConnect in Manchester

The session on May 4th started with an introduction by Kenny Milliner, HCL Commerce Sales Leader in EMEA/LATAM/JAPAN, followed by two interesting presentations: the HCL Executive Address and HCL Customer Experience by Marcelo Cabane and Carlos García de Miguel, SVP HCL Software EMEA/LATAM/JAPAN and CX Sales Leader EMEA/LATAM/JAPAN respectively.

This was followed by a presentation from Martin Tavener, CTO HCL Commerce EMEA/LATAM/JAPAN, who gave an overview summarizing the recent years of HCL Commerce technology, from the initial versions of Websphere Commerce as an IBM product to its new dynamic status since the acquisition of the product by HCL.

Through live demos, Martin, along with Chris Bennett, Global HCL Commerce Technical Advisor, and Andrew Lambert, HCL Commerce Technical Advisor, explored the key functionalities of products such as:

  • HCL Sofy, the native cloud solution for deploying HCL products in minutes.
  • HCL Search, the new search engine based on ElasticSearch with major improvements in data ingestion and natural language processing.
  • HCL Marketplaces, the native solution for B2B Marketplaces, to address the gap in this booming area of vast potential. While not having the intention to compete with the well-known solutions in this area such as Amazon, HCL’s solution does have the advantage of incurring significantly less fees associated with typical e-commerce platform solutions for marketplaces.

The morning ended with an in-depth session in which Martin unveiled the roadmap at a product architecture level, in which the breakdown into microservices will continue to take a predominant role (Strangler pattern), thus putting an end to the monolithic characteristics of previous versions prior to HCL Commerce, and whose greatest challenge lies in database modularization.

In between the morning and afternoon sessions was a lunch break and networking activities - a more relaxed time to talk about other topics outside of the professional setting.

The HCL CommerceConnect agenda – first day (afternoon session)

The afternoon session resumed with HCL Software partners detailing their experience with its product suite: 

  • Retail Hub, through its co-founder Massimo Volpe, and Steve Coates, Director of Solteq, explained the capabilities offered by HCL Unica Discover to extract an in-depth analysis from user navigation data, drawing conclusions aimed at boosting conversion. It is undoubtedly a tool built to maximize the value of data generated in e-commerce and to better understand the customer's online journey.
  • There was also an opportunity to listen to the success stories of a well-known UK retailer - Boots, with its IT Director, Jennifer Duffy, together with Ryan Atkinson, Director of International Service Delivery of Walgreen Boots Alliance.

To close the afternoon was the main course that featured CX Studio. David Lebowitz, HCL Commerce Sales Director, and Alex Knaani, Director for HCL Software Services EMEA/LATAM/JAPAN, presented a compendium of technologies of which HCL hopes to immersively incorporate into the CX strategy for HCL Commerce.

After a round of questions and answers, the guests were given a tour of the stadium and subsequently were invited to a dinner that HCL had prepared in a restaurant at the center of Manchester.

The agenda – second day

May 5th was a day focused on partners. The first presentation of the day was by Martin Tavener, CTO HCL Commerce EMEA/LATAM/JAPAN and Chris Bennett, HCL Commerce Global Technical Advisor, which gave a deeper insight into HCL Commerce’s platform roadmap. This session also detailed the tools that partners have at their disposal for the preparation and presentation of demos to customers in order to materialize business opportunities.

Afterwards, David Lebowitz and Alex Knaani went in-depth into CX Studio. They explored how to achieve engagement through developing technologies such as HCL Signals, a system for capturing user activity that fully complies to the new directives on data privacy using AI/ML techniques.

The day continued with other presentations. Unfortunately, the Orienteed Spain team would have to leave mid-morning to return to its headquarters in Galicia.

Nevertheless, this was an enriching experience for Orienteed, other partners, as well as customers of HCL. The 2022 European edition of HCL CommerceConnect left Orienteed with a sense of optimism and eagerness to receive new updates to share with our clients.