Adobe CEO: You Cannot Deliver Cutting Edge CX With An Antiquated Infrastructure

abstract image

by Giselle Abramovich

posted on 03-31-2020

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen’s introduction to the first-ever global and all-digital Adobe Summit was truly a testament to the times we’re living in.

Narayen, who filmed his keynote address in his home office, said we must come together as an industry to share best practices, given that digitally engaging with customers matters more than ever before.

“Everyone is having to rethink how they operate, including us at Adobe,” Narayen said. He talked about COVID-19 and some of the ways Adobe has responded. “One thing is for certain,” he said. “Digital is growing in importance. … [It’s] revolutionizing how we interact with each other.”

Rethinking customer experience

Things are changing so fast. According to Narayen, just a few months ago, CX was about delivering delightful, personalized, and relevant interactions in real time. Now it’s about supporting critical needs in an exclusively digital world, he said, pointing to how e-commerce is bringing so many more consumers the products they need, right to their doorsteps. Teams are creating and collaborating with documents from their virtual offices, he said. And businesses are transacting digitally with paperless contracts and closing deals with e-signatures.

“Digital isn’t only changing and reshaping our daily lives—it’s driving the economy,” Narayen said. “As we look around at this new digital economy, I see one constant: It is constantly changing. Remarkably there has been no single way to measure consumer trends in the digital world.”

That’s why, Narayen said, Adobe today launched the Adobe Digital Economy Index (DEI), powered by Adobe Analytics. The DEI analyzes trillions of anonymized and aggregated visits to retail sites and tens of millions of product SKUs from 80 of the top 100 retailers in the United States.

Overall, he said, we’re seeing digital deflation, as falling prices of electronics, computers, and apparel drive up purchasing power online. E-commerce sales are up 25% in the U.S. and 33% in the U.K. over the last two weeks, according to the DEI, which is available now with up-to-the-minute insights on global trends so that business leaders can adjust and adapt their businesses in real time.

“From the way technology is shaping our daily life to the digital behaviors we track online, we’re in the center of a digital revolution that is shaping [Adobe’s] strategy,” Narayen said. “With Creative Cloud we are unleashing creativity for all, enabling anyone, anywhere, to access the tools to build beautiful experiences. With Document Cloud we accelerate document productivity even when your teams can’t meet in person. And with Adobe Experience Cloud we power digital businesses, helping you design and deliver experiences that drive profitability and loyalty.”

It has been more than 10 years since Adobe entered the digital marketing category, Narayen told viewers. During that time there has been an explosion of content and devices, new mediums, and new modalities. New platforms have also emerged. Plus, artificial intelligence (AI) has completely disrupted software. Through Adobe Experience Cloud and Adobe Experience Platform, Narayen said, Adobe is arming companies to transform and compete in this new digital era. Our current environment is only accelerating this need and urgency, he said.

Narayen pointed to a number of trends he is seeing as it pertains to customer-centric business transformation. First and foremost: “People buy experiences, not products,” he said. People just want easy, personalized, efficient, context-aware experiences. That’s the only way to earn their trust and loyalty. Key to that? Merging content, data, and AI to deliver these types of experiences in real time. “Design for brilliance, but wire for intelligence,” Narayen said.

That’s why, he said, Adobe has developed the real-time profile, which unifies hundreds of data points from across the enterprise to give immediate and actionable insights—and have the ability to deliver the experiences customers expect.

As businesses work to architect their systems and processes around the customer, the most successful digital businesses all have something in common: “A strong partnership between the CIO and CMO,” Narayen said.

In the past, he said, CMOs brought in marketing and communication expertise with a strong knowledge of the customer journey, while CIOs understood what it takes to architect systems, unite data, and keep the businesses running. But their interactions were somewhat limited. Today, he said, all of that is changing. “IT is becoming more customer-centric and marketing is becoming more data-driven,” Narayen said. “And leaders are working closer than ever before.”

In fact, he continued, the best CMO-CIO partnerships enable enterprises to deliver compelling customer experiences at scale. It’s critical to align the C-suite on customer-centricity, Narayen said.

Also key to delivering compelling customer experiences: technology. “You simply cannot deliver cutting-edge experiences with an antiquated infrastructure,” the Adobe CEO said, explaining all of the ways that Adobe can help.

Finally, Narayen said, digital transformation is not just about technology. It is also about people, processes, and creating a new DNA for your organization. Narayen pointed to Adobe Summit 2019, when we told the story about how Adobe digitally transformed internally using a data-driven operating model (DDOM). Now, Narayen said, the company has the data, technology, and processes in place to manage customer experiences at scale.

To this end, Adobe has created a blueprint for the industry on how to effectively manage customer experiences: the “CXM Playbook.” The “CXM Playbook” helps companies build a customized plan to become a data-driven experience business.

Digital transformation is the mandate for all companies,” Narayen said. “Leaders across industries are putting a laser focus on customer experience management. That’s where transformation meets growth. Delivering on the promise of CXM today requires integrated applications and services combined with the right talent and the right processes. It requires a broad, open ecosystem, creativity, and a customer-obsessed culture across the entire organization.”

The how

Digital transformation is the mandate for all companies,” Narayen said. “Leaders across industries are putting a laser focus on customer experience management. That’s where transformation meets growth. Delivering on the promise of CXM today requires integrated applications and services combined with the right talent and the right processes. It requires a broad, open ecosystem, creativity, and a customer-obsessed culture across the entire organization.”

The how

Anil Chakravarthy, Adobe’s new Executive Vice President and General Manager, who drives the vision and operations for the company’s Digital Experience business, briefly talked about Adobe’s own digital transformation and DDOM.

“The question I get asked consistently by customers around the world is, ‘How did Adobe do it?’” Chakravarthy said. “Our customers understand the need to transform; their real challenge is how to do it. No matter what industry you are in, it is important to have a blueprint to accomplish this kind of transformation. You need to have a playbook.”

Adobe has identified six key areas of focus, around which the “CXM Playbook” provides customized and personalized best practices:

“Taken together, these six areas of the ‘CXM Playbook’ provide you with a comprehensive blueprint to become an experience business,” Chakravarthy said.

Topics: Adobe Summit, News, COVID-19

Products: