“Increasing innovation and going beyond buzzwords”: Insights from this year's Adobe EMEA Summit
teknowlogy was among the Adobe EMEA Summit's 6,000 visitors in London last week. The sheer number of visitors alone is an indication of how mission-critical providing a good “customer experience” has become and that it indeed distinguishes “leaders” from “laggards”. Key topic of the conference was the Adobe Experience Platform that brings together a number of technological building blocks to enable experience management in a broader context.
“Businesses nowadays are paralyzed by data silos, and their ambitions and goals are hampered by legacy systems that widen the gap between market reality and customer expectations.” Such statements have been widely accepted and become common knowledge at marketing conferences, but how exactly is Adobe planning to address these issues? How is its 'platform strategy' going? And most importantly for us (teknowlogy): Will Adobe’s strategy also prove to be lucrative and sustainable in the European market?
Currently one of the most successful players in the marketing automation field, Adobe has proven that its development from 'products' to 'solutions' has finally culminated in 'platforms'. This position has been strengthened and credibly substantiated by Adobe's strategy consisting of the triad of innovation, investment, and partnerships. The announcements at this year's summit fit in well with the overall picture and are consistent with the strategy of recent years. Now Adobe needs to deliver on what it has outlined. The availability of the Experience Platform is the start of Adobe's journey to becoming a platform provider.
The Adobe Experience Platform merges data into real-time customer profiles and thus ultimately maps the entire customer journey. So far, Adobe has roughly 9.000 global partners. German software vendor Software AG is the latest addition to this ecosystem. Synergies from this partnership result from the combination of Adobe Experience Platform, Marketo Engage, and Software AG’s webMethods-based cloud integration platform, which is intended to enable companies to capture customer data across systems. Adobe plans to accelerate this project through the ODI (open data initiative), which should enable the creation of a common data model across different systems – so far together with Microsoft and SAP. Earlier in March ODI convened a Partner Advisory Council consisting of over a dozen companies including Accenture, Amadeus, Capgemini, Change Healthcare, Cognizant, EY, Finastra, Genesys, Hootsuite, Inmobi, Sprinklr and WPP. Integration is key as customer experience is about the integration of various data sources. This is one reason why Adobe's competitor Salesforce has acquired MuleSoft, a provider of cloud-based integration technology.
The Experience Platform provides a foundation to integrate the various applications Adobe has developed or acquired. That said, we consider this a work in progress. One important benefit of such a platform is real-time data management and data analytics across different applications. The platform will be able to provide unified identities and real-time customer profiles for the various solutions, which means they will be able to share one profile that can be used to track preferences and enable personalization at scale.
Data management capabilities will also be key to enabling cross-application machine learning and artificial intelligence use cases.
Even if the new president of Adobe EMEA, Paul Robson, claimed he was striving for "less technology and more experiences", such an event cannot function entirely without it: This year's sneak peeks provided a glimpse at the future design of digital customer experience and customer interaction. These were made possible by AI, AR/VR, and voice recognition.
Adobe's new orientation with the goal of becoming a one-stop shop for customer experience professionals has been completed by the acquisitions of recent years: Magento (e-commerce) and Marketo (B2B marketing automation) are demonstrably adding business and relevance to Adobe’s portfolio and performance.
One concrete use case showing how marketing professionals can leverage the Marketo platform was demonstrated by the linkage of hotel booking service booking.com with business portal LinkedIn. In Adobe's Experience Cloud, account-based profiles can be created that allow analyzing the online behavior of customers, as well as customizing and automatically placing sponsored advertising.
This year, Adobe frequently shared the stage with its customers and partners, since it has internalized one thing: an undertaking such as the Experience Platform will only last if it is addressed as an “ecosystem play”.
Adobe is committed to be at the forefront of the frontend movement and become the new benchmark in customer experience. Right now, there are no obstacles in its way.