- Adobe has invested heavily in making a set of business software tools that helps companies modernize and digitize the ways they interact with customers.
- The journey started when Adobe acquired Omniture, a web analytics software company, for $1.8 billion 10 years ago. And since then it has made a series of other acquisitions to build out these business software tools.
- Amit Ahuja, Adobe’s VP of ecosystem development, said Adobe decided to create these tools to help its customers get more value out of what they were creating with its digital tools, and help companies shift through massive amounts of customer data.
- Ahuja said that as companies try to digitally transform their businesses, there are two challenges he always sees them face in the process: organization and data management.
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Adobe is famous for its photo editing software, Photoshop, so it’s not the first name people think of when looking for business software. But the Photoshop maker has invested heavily in making business software that helps companies interact with their customers.
The journey started when Adobe acquired Omniture, a web analytics software company, for $1.8 billion 10 years ago. Since then the company has made a series of other acquisitions to build out this set of business software tools, now called the Adobe Experience Cloud.
Amit Ahuja, Adobe’s VP of Ecosystem Development who is responsible for the enterprise software side of the business, said when Adobe acquired Omniture, many in the industry were confused about why a company primarily focused on creative tools had acquired a business cloud software tool.
Ahuja said Adobe decided to expand into a new business because it wanted to help users of its creative tools get more value out of what they were creating. Many of those users — then and now — are professionals working in marketing departments, and a tool that could show how well their content is performing would be a big benefit, Adobe believed.
Also, 10 years ago, it was becoming clear that the most successful businesses were collecting ever greater amounts of data about their customers. And Adobe believed there wasn’t a tool to help automate the data-heavy work that marketing departments would need to do in the new era.
“The role of data was going to become more and more important … as companies collect more data, as companies become more data oriented, we saw that as an opportunity as well to help companies … start understanding the data and being able to optimize what they’re doing,” Ahuja said.
In the 10 years since then, Adobe’s enterprise business has grown exponentially, and last year the Adobe Experience Cloud generated more than $3 billion in revenue.
The 2 big challenges of digital transformation
The set of tools that make up Adobe Experience Cloud include technology from many recent acquisitions, such as TubeMogul, Magento, and Marketo, and provides customers software for advertising, marketing, analytics and commerce.
The unifying theme among Adobe’s enterprise business tools is the mission of enabling companies to provide a better customer experience.
A good customer experience today is not just about having a snazzy website — it’s about reaching customers on mobile, social media, the physical store, as well as emerging gadgets like smart speakers. Creating the best customer experience for each of these channels requires a lot of data, which Adobe’s suite of tools can sift through and make sense of it.
“The notion of doing this manually and having people kind of crank through all that stuff is just virtually impossible,” Ahuja said.
Ajuha sees companies encounter two big challenges as they begin to digitally transform their businesses.
The first is organizational, because companies are often structured in a way that keeps important teams and business units completely separate. Before even thinking about what technology to use, the first step is to look at and adjust the organizational structure, including the company culture, Ahuja said.
“Technology alone is not always just the answer … What do you have to do from a process and organizational design point of view to actually enable you to have a much better overall relationship with your customer, is a hard challenge,” Ahuja said.
The second challenge for companies is learning how to cope with the massive amounts of data they already have and the flood of new data that will start pouring in.
The process is especially difficult for companies with older technology and data that’s dispersed in different locations and formats. And as businesses move from their own internal servers to the cloud, the glut of data increases even more, Ahuja said.
“You fundamentally can’t deliver on the promise of digital transformation and this optimal customer experience unless you have this notion of ‘How do I bring all this data and, and get back out,” he said.
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