Back in the saddle

I just passed my one-month mark after rejoining Adobe to head up corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions. It’s a unique perspective, having spent 14 years helping build Adobe’s creative business and then going off to lead teams in consumer internet, social and mobile companies before returning here. Adobe is the great company that I remember: incredible innovation, talented people, and the coolest customers anywhere. But it’s a company that has changed in many ways. As I come back in with fresh eyes, I thought I would share some of my observations.

It’s a whole new world when it comes to the creative professional and their work. Back in “the day” in our creative business, we spent most of our energy building kick-ass applications that helped creative professionals move from traditional to digital workflows while navigating the complexities of the desktop Mac and Windows platforms. Our customers were primarily focused on delivering great print or web content. Now with the explosion of mobile, creatives need to make sure their experiences scale to hundreds of smartphones and tablets, not to mention TVs, car dashboards and in-store kiosks. The challenge is staggering, both for creatives and Adobe, but there has never been more demand for compelling content. (That’s a good thing!) And with the advent of powerful mobile platforms, EVERYONE wants to be creative as they capture, enhance and share their daily experiences.

Enter the cloud. With cloud computing, customers are quickly learning (and expecting) to engage with us 24/7 and need our product offerings to go further in addressing a broader range of challenges, well beyond content creation. As a former product manager, I remember the team’s frustration when they were forced to hold back features to fit our 18-month Creative Suite product cycle. It was very difficult to deliver new innovations “off-cycle” due to our delivery and accounting model. (Every desktop software company struggles with this same challenge.) Nothing is more satisfying to one of our talented engineers than getting a new product feature into the hands of customers quickly, and now we can.

But Creative Cloud is so much more than a mechanism for getting new product features in the hands of customers faster. It will be the hub for creativity worldwide and enable you to work when and where you want. It will be where creative communities gather to be inspired by each other’s work and collaborate on projects. Our recent acquisition of Behance, the leading online social media platform for creatives, accelerates Adobe’s strategy to bring great community features to Creative Cloud. You’ll see us begin to integrate Behance with our creative tools in the next few months and in the meantime Behance will continue to be a key showcase for creativity. Check out their awesome blog highlighting some of the coolest creative work out there.

Some customers have given us their perspective on Creative Cloud in the video below and we promise that we’ve only just started. Indeed, all the innovation that we have planned for Creative Cloud will make Adobe MAX, the Creativity Conference, a must-attend event. It’s in Los Angeles May 4-8. We hope you can join us.

Finally, it’s been exhilarating to get involved with a whole new set of customers with Adobe Marketing Cloud. We have long focused on content creation for the world’s leading marketing departments. Now we’re extending that value to helping marketers manage and optimize consumer experiences across every touchpoint, from their websites to the social realm. Last week I attended our Summit conference and spoke to dozens of digital marketing customers about the possibilities as our Creative Cloud and Marketing Cloud come together for better collaboration across teams and agencies. This is really where the creative rubber hits the road, from my perspective – showing the business return from all the amazing content created with our tools.

With my little “walkabout” behind me, I can honestly say that I’m thrilled to be back in the saddle at Adobe and am particularly excited to engage with our new customers and see how many familiar ones are still with us on this journey!