Aceik & Sitecore’s Whisky Tasting & CX Roundtable

Last week, Aceik and Sitecore brought together 18 digital experts from around Australia to discuss customer experience – the trends, challenges and risks facing a new project in 2021. And it wouldn’t be a robust discussion without a little whisky tasting – kindly delivered by Melbourne’s The Elysian Whisky Bar.

Our moderator introduced two topics then guests were divided into groups of 6 to discuss. Upon return to the main track, guests then shared their unique discussion. And today, we wanted to share the key highlights.

Question 1

Thinking of your ultimate goal for your customer experience: Where does personalisation and marketing automation fit in, and what has been the most significant step you’ve taken towards that goal in the last 12 months?

  • Need to answer the question – what is the goal of website? why do we have a website? Many competing internal stakeholders (e.g. buyers v sellers)
  • xConnect implementation issues – holding back use of marketing features
  • Constrained internally (resources, budget)
  • Lots and lots of content – how to deliver the right content to the right people
  • Targeting an audience to help them through a specific journey
  • A lot of marketing automation – Facebook and Google advertising – open rates response rates – deliverability of email – personalised to get better open rate – lots of experimentation – gain more information – and helping them through the marketing funnel
  • Xdb – issues – business priorities – can’t start the journey.
  • Quick wins – show/prove value

Question 2

Thinking of that ideal CX, what steps will you take for the next 12 months?

  • Quick wins are the focus all round – esp. marketing
  • Maintainability – JSS, SXA
  • Content, content, content – and how to manage
  • How to upsell better online – parts, service; portal for owners – service history, finance offers.
  • Ease of access to information, engagement on the website, simple discoverable info
  • Learn more about the primary personas/segments
  • Alignment of brand and service
  • More content for SEO and drive more traffic to website
  • Automate the creation of pages with data have
  • Cost effective ways of producing rich content
  • Complete digital sign up
  • Transform the experience in engaging with the brand for the first time
  • Brand awareness, show expertise, show thought leadership
  • Pattern matching to industries
  • CRM integration

It was a fantastic event and we really appreciate the open sharing amongst the group!

People of Aceik: Lila Tournier, Delivery and Operations Manager

Continuing on with our People of Aceik series, where we introduce you to our talented team mates, this month, we sat down with our Delivery and Operations Manager, Lila Tournier (note – it’s pronounced Lee-la, like from Futurama).

If you missed the last one with Praveen Manchana, you can catch up here.

Lila, tell us a bit about yourself

Lila: In terms of my career background, I started in advertising agencies, working through the line – so anything from TV, press and radio ads, brochures, point of sales, emails, online advertising… anything! 

I then moved internally to a digital focus role as it felt that this was the future and I loved the fact that there is always something to learn. 

From big ad land agencies in Sydney, I moved to Melbourne to digital agencies, from small to large consulting ones, and I’m now here at Aceik.

Tell us about why you decided to join Aceik

Lila: It happened rather randomly actually. Tim O’Neill, the former CEO of Reactive and current friend of Aceik put me onto the job. In the same week that Tim got in touch, I heard from 2 ex-colleagues that they were joining Aceik and I thought hang on, there is something to explore here. 

I wasn’t looking for a role, but Aceik seemed so attractive in terms of where it was at: a small agency with a blank canvas to work with and the opportunity to help shape and grow the business. Being part of that growth journey was something that was so exciting, so it was a quick and easy decision. 

What are you working on at the moment?

Lila: I’m lucky to work on a mixture of projects – there are just too many to explain! But it keeps the days diverse.

Tell us about yourself outside of Aceik hours

Lila: Outside of work, I’m also a farmer 🙂 I know that sounds weird but we have a small farm, mainly managing sheep but do also have a few rescues, so a bit like Noah’s Ark. 

This makes things very interesting and very busy when also coupled with our two young children! 

If someone wants to follow a career in your steps, what would you recommend?

Lila: Try anything and learn as much as you can early on. 

Aceik & Sitecore’s Digital Wine-Down

Last week, Aceik and Sitecore brought together 16 digital experts from around Australia to discuss digital transformation – the trends, challenges and risks facing a new project in 2021. And it wouldn’t be a robust discussion without a wine tasting – kindly delivered by SocialTable and Price’s Wines.

Our moderator introduced two topics then guests were divided into groups of 6 to discuss. Upon return to the main track, guests then shared their unique discussion. And today, we wanted to share the key highlights.

Question 1

What are the biggest factors you think will influence investment and digital transformation over the next 12 months?

  • Customer-driven service channel
  • Being reactive to competitor demand
  • We’re not competing with competitors anymore, we’re competing with the most recent best experience the customer has had, and that’s the new benchmark
  • Depending on which industry the impact of COVID-19 varied (ie retail saw loads of money move into their ecommerce stores)
  • COVID-19 made getting sign-off easier on digital projects. Because digital was pretty much the only active channel
  • Increased emphasis on ROI now
  • Public sector using data in marketing campaigns
  • Coming out of COVID-19 lockdowns might be the perfect time to be disruptive

Question 2

What do you think are the biggest risks or pain points that companies aren’t aware of when embarking on a digital transformation project.

  • Budget 😊
  • Ensuring exec team is along on the journey
  • Lack of understanding of what digital transformation means
  • Finding the right agency to work with and trust
  • Exec team churn.
  • Getting staff buy in early
  • Ongoing costs of systems implementations not considered
  • Silo’d environments
  • Staff can be resistant
  • Defining success criteria
  • Lack of a clear project leader
  • Failing to train!

It was a fantastic event and we really appreciate the open sharing amongst the group!

Aceik – 2021 The Circle Back Initiative Employer

At Aceik, we believe candidate experience is all about being courteous and respectful, and we understand the time and effort that goes into every job application and recruitment process. We are pleased to announce that we are now a 2021 Circle Back Initiative Employer – we commit to respond to every applicant.

The Circle Back Initiative has been created by Talentrich to improve the experience candidates receive after submitting a job application. The initiative is a collection of Employers who commit to guiding standards on candidate communication. Initiative champions agree to respond to every applicant.

What does the candidate experience look like?

Once submitting your resume or responding to a job ad, any job candidate of Aceik can expect:

  • Aceik responds to each job candidate’s appliation with an ‘application received’.
  • Each application will be reviewed by Aceik and a shortlist of suitable candidates will be compiled and discussed internally.
  • If selection criteria is met, a candidate will receive a phone call to run through their application and experience in a little more detail.
  • Candidates not suitable for the role are advised as early in the process as possible.
  • Aceik aims to shortlist a role within 2 week of posting a vacancy.
  • A selected number of candidates are chosen to be invited to interview.
  • Interviews are conducted via video chat (presently).
  • If a suitable candidate is not identified during the interview stage, the shortlist may be revisited. Due to this, candidates on the shortlist may not be notified if they did not make the first round of interviews.
  • If necessary, second round of interviews take place.
  • Any testing or assessment takes place with preferred candidate/s.
  • Once a suitable candidate has been identified, reference checks are conducted and for some roles, Aceik also requires a police check.
  • Once the above assessments come back as successful, Aceik offers the preferred candidate the position.
  • Aceik responds to all candidates that have applied for the position, and provides feedback where possible.

Want to join the Aceik team?

Are you a digital enthusiast looking to work with a team that pushes the boundaries of technology? Email careers@aceik.com.au to tell us what you could bring to the Aceik crew or check out our available roles.

Six Aceik Team Members Named Sitecore Most Valuable Professional

Aceik today announced that an unprecedented six of its team members have been named a 2021 Most Valuable Professional (MVP) by Sitecore®, the global leader in digital experience management software. Our leader and team members, Jason Horne, Thomas Tyack, David (Danny) Newman, Jitendra Soni, David Goosem and Praveen Manchana are being honored among only 24 MVPs across Australia in the program’s 15th year.

Recognising professionals who deliver outstanding customer experiences through shared expertise on Sitecore’s products, the 2021 MVP program draws from a community of 12,000 certified developers and over 20,000 active participants. This year’s worldwide pool of 284 MVPs contributed invaluable knowledge to the community in 2020 and demonstrated true mastery of the Sitecore platform to support partners, customers and prospects.

“It’s an honour for one individual to be recognised for their community contribution, but to know we have six MVPs on our team is outstanding. This MVP designation recognises the unique skills, expertise and success that Tom, Danny, Jitendra, David and Praveen, alongside their colleagues brings to our customers’ digital experience every day,” said Jason Horne, CEO, Aceik.

About the Sitecore MVPs on the Aceik team

Jason Horne, CEO

From Jason’s initial experience of working with Sitecore 5.3 all the way back in 2008, he set out to become a Sitecore Specialist.

In 2014, Jason launched Aceik, a Sitecore specialist consultancy. And he followed this up with the launch of the Sitecore Melbourne Meetup community. His aim has been to provide an environment in which the Aceik team has the skills, tools, relationships, clients, and freedom to deliver the highest level of quality solutions in the Sitecore space.

Thomas Tyack, Chief Technical Architect

Thomas has been working with Sitecore since early 2009 and excitingly for Aceik, this is his third consecutive year as a Sitecore MVP-Technology.

Tom has his hand in many Sitecore pies including regular updates to the Sitecore Speedy module, sharing Sitecore hints through his blog and at meetups and creating a 6 Pillars of Page Speed video series (to name just a few of his contributions in the past 12 months). He also co-founded the AU Sitecore Slack workspace, a forum for Australian based developers to keep in touch.

David (Danny) Newman, Training Manager

Danny spent 8 years at Sitecore teaching developers, marketers and authors to create outstanding digital customer experiences using the Sitecore platform.

In 2019, Danny brought those skills to Aceik where he combined his Sitecore knowledge with Aceik’s practical experience to deliver a balanced Sitecore training program. Danny now provides complimentary training webinars to the Sitecore community.

Jitendra Soni, Sitecore Tech Lead

Jitendra’s very first Sitecore project was a jewellery channel in the UK all the way back in 2013. Since then, he’s delivered many Sitecore projects, including Mondelez International, Invista Group, Dentos Global USA, Manchester United, Bunnings, Bridgestone and RACQ.

Jitendra is an avid blogger on all things Sitecore.

David Goosem, Solution Architect

David has more than 10 years’ experience working both client-side and within agencies as a Sitecore developer, a role in which he delivered exceptional Sitecore websites and customer journeys. His first implementation was on Sitecore 6.4, when he became hooked on the platform’s potential and he has since worked on projects for RACQ, QSuper, RTA, ForceNet, Motorama, Endeavour Foundation and RSL Art Union.

Aside from contributing to SUGCON, David is an avid blogger on all things Sitecore as well as an active member of the Brisbane Sitecore community.

Praveen Manchana, Solution Architect

Praveen started working with Sitecore five years ago, and his first project focused on ecommerce. He considers himself privileged to spend time at Bunnings working on their Homebase project, including Click & Collect. From there, he worked with a couple of different Sitecore partners on other ecommerce projects, including Baby Bunting and Bridgestone.

Praveen has contributed many modules to the Sitecore open source community including Commerce Automation, Promotions Search on 9.2 and Sitecore Commerce 10 with SXA Storefront in Docker for Development.

When he’s not implementing or building on Sitecore, you can find him presenting at local Meetups and webinars.

“The 2021 Sitecore MVPs consist of stellar individuals who demonstrated incredible commitment to the Sitecore community during a challenging year which didn’t allow for in-person engagement,” said Tom De Ridder, CTO of Sitecore. “The 284 MVPs stepped up to the plate to bring critical knowledge and insights for the greater community through virtual channels. We are especially pleased to celebrate this group in the program’s 15th year.”

In recent months, Sitecore recognised Aceik’s success and expertise by naming the organization a Platinum partner, the highest-ranking tier of partner status in the Sitecore network and rewarded Aceik a Sitecore Experience Award Honorable Mention for its work with RAA.

More information can be found about the MVP Program on the Sitecore MVP site: http://mvp.sitecore.com.

People of Aceik: Praveen Manchana, Architect

Last year, we launched a new series to introduce you to our talented and hard working team mates. They’re behind the success of our client’s projects – working diligently to ensure we exceed our customers’ expectations.

This month, we sat down with our Architect and ecommerce expert, Praveen Manchana.



Praveen, tell us a bit about yourself.

Praveen: In terms of my background, I have been working with Microsoft Technologies for close to fifteen years now. I started as a junior developer at Dodo and from there I worked in a variety of roles across different technologies for roughly 9 years before moving onto Sitecore.

I started working with Sitecore five years ago, and my first project focused on ecommerce. I was privileged to spend time at Bunnings working on their Homebase project, including Click & Collect. From there, I worked with a couple of different Sitecore partners on other ecommerce projects, including Baby Bunting and Bridgestone.

After Bunnings, I joined another Sitecore partner for a time, where I worked on the Baby Bunting project. Again, this had a Sitecore commerce focus.

And eventually I landed at Aceik. I’ve been here a little over a year now.

You’ve spent a lot of time working on commerce projects. What do you love about it? Why the focus on Sitecore commerce?

Praveen: I have been with working with Microsoft technologies for fifteen years and to customize or add changes is a lot easier. It is a technology that I am really familiar with and it is easy to get into and learn about it. Extensibility is really good. You can achieve those customizations a lot easier, faster and cheaper using Sitecore commerce than other technologies.

Tell us about why did you decide to join Aceik.

Praveen: At the time I joined Aceik, it was really small. I wanted to be part of that growth journey. I wanted the opportunity to invest my time and energy into growing Aceik.

What are you working on at the moment?

Praveen: I’ve spent the last 9 or so months working on RACQ – trying to stabilise the environment and also working on compliance changes. Excitingly, I’m now getting involved in their rebuild project including shifting to the latest version of Sitecore.

I have seen your “deploying Sitecore on Kubernetes” blog posts and obviously, a meetup group covered the same topic not long ago. Why are you interested in that particular aspect of Sitecore?

Praveen: Sitecore had never supported containers for production use in the past. With the recent launch of Sitecore 10, they officially started supporting containers. If you run into problems and if you raise a support ticket, Sitecore will help us now. With Sitecore moving towards containers and Kubernetes, if we did not move along, we will be left behind.

Tell us about yourself outside of Aceik hours.

Praveen: Most of my time outside of work is catching up with family and friends. I love my barbecues by the way. I probably go through like two or three gas bottles every summer.

I found this really nice Middle Eastern recipe for chicken kebabs. I love it. All my friends and family, they love that as well. So, every time I am doing a barbecue they go, “Okay, make sure you do that.”

If someone wants to develop a career and follow in a similar set of footsteps as yourself, what advice or tips would you have for them?

Praveen: Set goals clearly and early. At the beginning of my career, I did not set my goals properly. I did not know what I wanted to do and I was not clear, but I think it is often the case with most of the developers. At the start of your career, you feel confused. You do not know what you want to get into. You do not know what your passion is. But as you work through a few years into your career, you will understand where your interest lies and you have to make sure that you steer in that direction. I definitely did that. I like technical things and I always made sure throughout my career when went into different roles they are all tech focused. I went into a tech lead role, but even then, I was hands on and never moved away from coding because I like it. If I was not coding, I would probably get bored.

Leah Di Paola joins Aceik as Head of Human Resources

We are excited to share that Leah Di Paola, former Group HR Manager for Incitec Pivot Limited. has joined Aceik as our Head of Human Resources.

The appointment highlights Aceik’s desire to introduce more and more brands to the power of Sitecore, to enable them to drive personalised experiences and positive marketing ROI.

Di Paola has more than 15 years experience in human resources, having worked in industries such as Explosives and Fertiliser Manufacturing with Incitec Pivot and Dyno Nobel, Resourcing with Hudson Global, Procurement with the Charted Institute and Sporting Events with the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the multi-award winning Aceik, and am looking forward to contributing to the business’ success by empowering our people, enhancing the employee experience, and acquiring talented resources to support our clients and Sitecore relationships,” said Di Paola.

Jason Horne, Chief Executive Officer at Aceik said, “Aceik’s Sitecore knowledge is vast and our agility is unmatched. We keep up with evolving technology and can change direction more easily than larger companies, giving our clients the most innovative Sitecore solutions to their business problems.

Horne continued, “Helping our clients to realise the full potential of Sitecore’s experience platform is at the centre of everything we do. With Leah’s expertise, we’re looking forward to hiring and fostering talented developers, architects and designers to the team that will create stronger long-term relationships with our clients and Sitecore”.

Aceik Announces Platinum Sitecore Implementation Partner Status

Today, the Aceik team is excited to share our new status as a Sitecore Platinum Implementation Partner.

Sitecore is the global leader in customer experience management software and this promotion recognises the partnership between the two companies and the commitment to deliver outstanding customer experiences through the use of the Sitecore platform.

Platinum Partners are recognised for their deep knowledge of Sitecore, thought leadership and best practices in delivering flawless customer experiences at scale.

Jason Horne, Chief Executive Officer at Aceik said, “This is the highest-ranking tier of partner status in the Sitecore network, and it is a recognition of the success and expertise Aceik’s team has demonstrated for our customers across the full breadth of Sitecore products.”

It has been a busy year for our team

In recent months, Sitecore recognised Aceik’s contribution to the Sitecore community with two Most Value Professional status and a Sitecore Experience Award Honorable Mention.

Aceik’s CEO, Jason Horne was recognised as a Sitecore Technology MVP for a fifth consecutive year alongside colleague, Thomas Tyack who was named Sitecore Technology MVP for the second year in a row.

Aceik was awarded Sitecore Experience Award (SEA) Honorable Mention in the Most Sophisticated Implementation category for its work with customer, RAA.

Last month, Aceik appointed Wayne Vickers, former Head of Customer Experience for the Australian Football League (AFL) as Chief Operating Officer and Creative Director.

The new hire demonstrates Aceik’s continued commitment to its Sitecore clients, as well as the Sitecore partnership.

People of Aceik: Thomas Tyack, Chief Technical Architect

Earlier this year, we launched a new series to introduce you to our talented and hard working team mates. They’re behind the success of our client’s projects – working diligently to ensure we exceed our customers’ expectations.

This month, we sat down with our recently promoted Chief Technical Architect, Thomas Tyack.

Tom, tell me about your background.

Tom: I grew up in Manly West, Brisbane, on a 12-acre property (before it was all housing estates).  My family also has a family farm near Kingscliff, New South Wales. So, I spent a lot of time traveling back and forth across the QLD/New South Wales border when I was younger. I attended QUT for university studying a bachelor of IT and afterwards spent 2 years in the UK where I started out as a Java Developer. Eventually, I returned to Australia and switched from Java to .NET. I’ve worked on .NET and Sitecore projects since around 2007.

Can you tell us a little bit about your Sitecore experience because you are a Sitecore MVP?

Tom: I was named a Sitecore MVP in 2019 and 2020 after spending the two years prior working towards the status. Sitecore recognises individuals who make community contributions, blog posts, open-source contributions and share and present at user groups.

I contracted for a number of agencies in Melbourne. And after a little travel and a move back to Northern NSW I eventually joined Aceik.

Tell us a little bit about joining Aceik, your role, and then your new role.

Tom: I started out at Aceik when it was very small consultancy. I went straight onto managing our key relationship with Fitness Life Group and building out Fitness First on Sitecore. RAA was the other major big project I was involved in. I spent a reasonable amount of time flying to Adelaide every second week.

Tom: Recently I have taken on the lead Architect role, which has me looking at Aceik’s processes and high-level delivery framework. We are continuously streamlining how we deliver projects and ways to provide rock solid consistency and great outcomes for our clients.

Why did you choose to join this Aceik Team?

Tom: Flexibility at first. It was a good opportunity. It’s been almost 4 years now and the interesting projects keep coming.

And why do you stay at Aceik?

Tom: Flexibility remains. We have some great technical minds on our team and it’s enjoyable to work them across different projects and achieve great results for our customers.

Is there a project or a project campaign in just few months that you have enjoyed working on?

Tom: RAA – it was a big challenging project and I am glad we were able to contribute our Sitecore expertise to help get that delivered.

Check out the case study and video here.

We are in the second wave of coronavirus and still working from home. How did you make it work for you? Any particular tip or advice that you have for working remotely?

Tom: Aceik has been working remotely for many years not just this period, so it hasn’t changed too much for me. Over the years I have managed remote teams and across many projects and it is all about keeping client communication constantly flowing. We let them know what we are doing, providing a morning update on top of stand-ups. The morning update is provided in Slack and is like a written ledger of what the team has done. The best part for the client is being able to review their project history over any given day.

Tell us about Tom outside of Aceik – who are you when you are not working? What do you get up to?

Tom: I have two young kids, two and four years of age, so life is pretty busy as soon as I get home from work. They both love the beach, riding bikes (or scooters) and camping so we spend our time doing those things on the weekend at the moment. 

Any tips or advice for those wanting a developer career?

Tom: Mention the technologies that you have worked with and those you want to work with. Basically, sell the projects that you have worked on, the achievements you have on those projects, and how you helped the client obtain their goals that would stand out to me.

But then if you do not have those skills yet, and you want to get into that space then work on open-source projects where you might be able to contribute. Essentially something that can show what your capable of. Having experience is very valuable but if you don’t yet have that experience show potentially employers what your capable of.

Aceik is looking for Solutions Architect and Developers at the moment. We’re after people who can work in a fast-based environment and solve problems.

Aceik adds Chief Operating Officer and Creative Director to staff

Wayne Vickers
COO & Creative Director, Aceik

Aceik is excited to announce the recent appointment of Wayne Vickers, former Head of Customer Experience for the Australian Football League (AFL) as Chief Operating Officer and Creative Director.

The new hire demonstrates Aceik’s continued commitment to its Sitecore clients, as well as the Sitecore partnership. The Aceik team is already in a strong partnership with both the Chief Executive Officer, Jason Horne and Chief Technology Officer, Thomas Tyack holding Sitecore MVP recognition over multiple years.

The appointment highlights Aceik’s desire to introduce more and more brands to the power of Sitecore, to enable them to drive personalised experiences and positive marketing ROI.

Vickers has more than 20 years digital experience, having worked client side for AFL, Myer, Quiksilver in Customer Experience and eCommerce roles, as well as founding two digital agencies that included brands such as Seek and Fosters.

“I’m thrilled to join Aceik. The agency has always shown outstanding technical Sitecore prowess, and I’m excited to take our Sitecore marketing and creative expertise to the next level, so we continue to help new and existing customers to grow their digital businesses through the use of Sitecore’s best-in-class marketing features,” said Vickers.

Jason Horne, Chief Executive Officer at Aceik said, “Aceik’s Sitecore knowledge is vast and our agility is unmatched. We keep up with evolving technology and can change direction more easily than larger companies, giving our clients the most innovative Sitecore solutions to their business problems.

Horne continued, “Helping our clients to realise the full potential of Sitecore’s experience platform is at the centre of everything we do. With Wayne’s digital experience expertise, we’re looking forward to creating stronger long term relationships with our clients and Sitecore”.