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Adobe Summit 2019 Spotlights Cloud, AI, Data and Digital Transformation


Adobe wrapped up their flagship event, Adobe Summit, which took place this week in Las Vegas.  There were a host of announcements made, but for me, the show was all about the cloud, AI, data and digital transformation.  And if it wasn't already evident to me prior to attending this event, it quickly became clear that Adobe has transformed itself from the company I knew for PDFs and Photoshop into something much different.  Adobe has been adding to its suite of marketing, analytics and e-commerce tools over the past few years, allowing it to be better compete with the likes of Salesforce, Oracle and others. 

The Adobe Experience Cloud (powered by the Experience Platform) combines Adobe's existing Advertising, Analytics and Marketing Clouds with the addition of Marketo Engage and the Adobe Commerce Cloud powered by Magento Commerce.

To drive this point home, Adobe executives showcased their wares, but also allowed others to tell their story for them by interviewing multiple customer and partner executives like Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig, Intuit CIO Atticus Tysen and SunTrust Bank CMO Susan Johnson, each sharing their perspectives on the latest Adobe suite and offering case study examples and their own playbooks for digital transformation.  To spice things up, Adobe even threw in a couple of celebrities like actress Reese Witherspoon and NFL quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints to talk about their personal journeys of growth and change.

Digital Transformation


Companies need to focus on the customer experience and they need to appreciate how difficult business transformation can be.  That was a key message in Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen’s opening keynote address.  He went on to say, "We decided to turn our multi-billion dollar creative business on its head." 

Adobe made the decision to move from a boxed or download software company to a subscription model that put the customer experience front and center.  And they became a company that embraced the always-on reality of the digital business, delivering a continuous stream of innovation to its customers and focusing on building the customer’s business and trust every single day.

The company began to understand and rely on data as much as it relied on creative in the past.

"We became a company that focused on customer intent so we could deliver a personalized experience at every single platform," he stated.  "In the end, we became a more successful company."

Narayen argued that the success which followed was predicated on the core belief that digital transformation starts by re-imagining the entire customer journey. 

Continuing the digital transformation story, retailer Best Buy took the stage to offer up their own case study on the subject.  Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly described how the company is reinventing the "New Blue" to enrich lives with the help of technology.  Best Buy themselves had to undergo a transformation, in large part to the growing competition from Amazon.  It couldn't survive simply being another brick-and-mortar retail outlet.  So, Joly transformed the company in a number of ways.  Price is no longer a factor, as the company will match Amazon pricing.  And they can win on delivery by leveraging in store products thanks to its brick and mortar stores, and they can offer cheap shipping to the customer's home or business location or allow customer pickup from online purchases delivered to the store.  And for $200 a year, Best Buy in-home advisers will become your on-call tech support.  The company has transformed itself with subscription services and an online presence, bringing in multiple new touch points to stay competitive with eCommerce.


Part of the company's transformation is its involvement with data.  On stage, the company described gathering and gaining insight from data, and how Adobe can tailor the customer experience in a way that rewards the company and its users.

They call it DDOM - Data-Driven Operating Model.  It is Adobe’s playbook that allows the organization to make decisions based on real-time data and derive insights across the various stages of the customer journey.  While initially specific to Adobe, its DDOM model offers best practices to any brand or business dealing with similar challenges in fragmentation.  

Adobe had long been a data-driven marketing organization, but after a cross-organizational partnership with IT and the development of DDOM, they were able to move from data to actionable customer insights, and ultimately, that allowed Adobe to deliver better customer experiences at every stage of the journey. 

During the opening keynote, Narayen told a record 17,000 attendees, "To win in today's world, every business has to transform itself to become maniacally focused on the customer experience."  The DDOM dashboard shows the overall health of a business and maps the entire buying journey, from discovery to try, buy, use and renew.

Adobe's transformation is due in large part to a significant number of acquisitions and strategic partnerships made over the past several years.

Artificial Intelligence


Adobe proudly showcased what it calls the "next generation" of its Adobe Sensei artificial intelligence and machine learning framework.  Adobe Sensei AI services will be integrated into almost every solution in Adobe's new experience management offering.

Announced during the show, Adobe released several new Sensei capabilities for the enterprise including Fluid Experiences to enable brands to deliver the experience consumers expect across any connected screen, including social, VR, IoT devices and physical screens. In addition, Auto-Target eliminates the complexity associated with manual testing and deterministic or rules-based content personalization. The company also released Enhanced Anomaly Detection and Contribution Analysis to help brands identify statistically significant events, pinpoint sources and take action to optimize the user experience.

"We have more of a Harry Potter view of the world on machine learning where it is slightly more magical - easier and faster with a sense of wonder," said Tatiana Mejia, Head of Product Marketing & Strategy for Adobe Sensei.

AI can take away much of the drudgery found in the day to day tasks, and instead allow someone to focus on the higher level and story telling events.  In that sense, Sensei will help amplify human productivity, not replace it.

Adobe Cloud

At Adobe Summit, Adobe introduced significant enhancements to the Adobe Cloud Platform, the underlying, cross-cloud architecture that unifies content and data and leverages Adobe Sensei, Adobe's AI and machine learning framework. Advancements announced include new Sensei capabilities for enterprise customers as well as new tools and partner integrations to help developers reduce time to market and better integrate Creative Cloud assets into enterprise workflows. Adobe also announced Adobe Experience Cloud as well as the availability of the first set of solutions that integrate with Microsoft's Azure, Dynamics 365 and PowerBI offerings

Advancements in cloud services have fundamentally altered the computing landscape. The next decade will bring even more disruptive changes in how brands create, immerse and engage their customers in their experiences. In this future, brands will have to adapt to an era of true experience mobility - one where highly personalized experiences are contextually aware and delivered in real-time - regardless of the device, time or location. A modern experience platform that addresses these expectations needs to be designed with a common data language founded on content and data, an open ecosystem to enable others to build on and innovate, and intelligence at its core with AI, machine learning and deep learning.

With Adobe Cloud Platform, companies can centralize and standardize customer data and content from any system to dramatically improve the design and delivery of rich customer experiences. It includes services for blending and analyzing data while harnessing machine learning via Adobe Sensei to amplify marketing effectiveness and efficiency. The Adobe Cloud Platform also makes its data, content and insights available via APIs to partners as well as third-party developers. Adobe's platform is used by thousands of partners worldwide, manages over 100 trillion data transactions per year and receives over 700 million API calls per day through Adobe I/O, Adobe's cross-cloud developer portal.

"New enhancements to the Adobe Cloud Platform extend the functionality of Creative Cloud, Document Cloud and Adobe's new Experience Cloud so that enterprises can more easily deliver compelling experiences at scale," said Abhay Parasnis, executive vice president and CTO, Adobe. "Innovation in Adobe Sensei, our AI, machine learning and deep learning framework, dramatically accelerates and improves the design and delivery of experiences across any customer touch point."

Published Friday, March 29, 2019 6:07 PM by David Marshall
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