Meet Anil Chakravarthy: Adobe’s New Digital Experience Business Leader

by Digital Europe

Posted on 04-03-2020

As Adobe’s newest Exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent and Gen­er­al Man­ag­er, Anil Chakravarthy dri­ves the vision and oper­a­tions for the company’s Dig­i­tal Expe­ri­ence busi­ness.

Anil brings decades of prod­uct inno­va­tion and indus­try exper­tise to his role lead­ing strat­e­gy, prod­uct man­age­ment, engi­neer­ing, and mar­ket­ing for Adobe Expe­ri­ence Cloud. He pre­vi­ous­ly worked for tech­nol­o­gy lead­ers includ­ing Syman­tec, Verisign and, most recent­ly, Infor­mat­i­ca where he was CEO.

We sat down with Anil to chat about his strate­gic pri­or­i­ties over the next few months, trends, chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties he sees in the mar­ket, his thoughts on the evo­lu­tion of Adobe Sum­mit, as well as how the COVID-19 cri­sis is chang­ing every­thing about life and work today.

Adobe Sum­mit, the dig­i­tal expe­ri­ence con­fer­ence that takes place in Las Vegas each year, has been turned into a dig­i­tal expe­ri­ence. Can you speak to that a lit­tle bit?

The cur­rent health cri­sis is chang­ing every­thing about life and work as we know it. At Adobe, we’re focused on how to best pro­tect and sup­port our employ­ees, cus­tomers, part­ners, and com­mu­ni­ties in the face of this unfold­ing sit­u­a­tion. That’s what led to our deci­sion to trans­form Sum­mit into a glob­al dig­i­tal expe­ri­ence with a keynote, more than one hun­dred prod­uct infor­ma­tion ses­sions, demos and more. We hope we can pro­vide val­ue to our com­mu­ni­ty by get­ting this infor­ma­tion out there; things they can put into prac­tice now to make a dif­fer­ence. The Sum­mit expe­ri­ence went live on March 31 and we’re com­mit­ted to adding addi­tion­al con­tent con­tin­u­ous­ly to help our cus­tomers best utilise our appli­ca­tions, ser­vices and plat­form. (Learn more)

A big theme for us on the Cre­ative Cloud side of the busi­ness is this whole notion of #Cre­ativ­i­ty­ForAll. How do you define that in the con­text of your role and your team?

I have to say that our team def­i­nite­ly embod­ies this notion. The tran­si­tion of Adobe Sum­mit into a dig­i­tal expe­ri­ence is evi­dence of that. They’ve had to turn on a dime but have done a phe­nom­e­nal job of pulling togeth­er an expe­ri­ence that I expect our cus­tomers will find great val­ue in and also enjoy.

To me cre­ativ­i­ty is a skill that is nec­es­sary regard­less of which depart­ment you work in. I am real­ly proud of how our team has ral­lied and shown cre­ativ­i­ty in how we can engage with and sup­port our cus­tomers at this time, even though we can’t meet in per­son. The infor­ma­tion and resources we’ve made avail­able on in a ded­i­cat­ed COVID-19 sec­tion is a great exam­ple. Our CEO Shan­tanu has a let­ter to cus­tomers there, and we have a list of spe­cial pro­grammes we’ve imple­ment­ed across our entire busi­ness. In the Dig­i­tal Expe­ri­ence area, one exam­ple is we’ve made all of our Mar­ke­to and Magen­to online learn­ing con­tent com­pli­men­ta­ry for the next three months and the rest of our learn­ing con­tent for Expe­ri­ence Cloud remains so. We hope that can help our cus­tomers take best advan­tage of our tech­nol­o­gy at a time when dig­i­tal has become even more important.

What have you been focused on over the first 90 days at Adobe?

The first pri­or­i­ty for me has been learn­ing. I’ve spent time get­ting to know our cus­tomers, part­ners, employ­ees, my own team, and more, to get their per­spec­tive on the mar­ket and the oppor­tu­ni­ty. I’ve also been focused on under­stand­ing what is impor­tant to our cus­tomers through a ver­ti­cal lens.

What are your pri­or­i­ties going forward?

Most impor­tant is the well­be­ing of our employ­ees. As I men­tioned ear­li­er, we need to ensure they feel informed, sup­port­ed and safe.

Next is a laser focus on our cus­tomers and mak­ing Adobe a true strate­gic part­ner to them in this time of uncer­tain­ty. We need to help them along their trans­for­ma­tion journey—really dig in to guide them on the “how.” I think we come with an advan­tage in that Adobe trans­formed from box soft­ware to cloud-based appli­ca­tions back in 2008. We have so many learn­ings from our own expe­ri­ence and trans­for­ma­tion – I see a real oppor­tu­ni­ty in help­ing oth­er com­pa­nies nav­i­gate through dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion, espe­cial­ly in terms of draw­ing on the expe­ri­ence we have with our data-dri­ven oper­at­ing mod­el (DDOM). It’s not just about get­ting some­one to pur­chase an Adobe solu­tion. We as an organ­i­sa­tion need to always be focused on how to help cus­tomers realise val­ue, now more than ever.

What have you learned so far?

I’ve learned that dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, and becom­ing a dig­i­tal busi­ness, is a top pri­or­i­ty for our cus­tomers. They are very focused on trans­form­ing the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence – but what that actu­al­ly entails depends on the com­pa­ny. It might mean over­haul­ing the sup­ply chain for one com­pa­ny, and it might be some­thing total­ly dif­fer­ent for anoth­er. But at a high lev­el, every­body cares deeply about their cus­tomers and the expe­ri­ence they pro­vide them.

And it’s not a ques­tion of whether they are going to trans­form or become a dig­i­tal busi­ness. I think every­body I’ve talked with is com­mit­ted to that. Again, it’s the how. What aspect of their busi­ness? Which cus­tomer seg­ments? Which prod­uct areas, if they’re organ­ised by prod­uct? What do they pri­ori­tise? How do you change the busi­ness mod­el? How do you change the inter­nal process­es, capa­bil­i­ties and tech­nolo­gies? It’s a com­plex endeav­our, and as I said before, I think it’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty for us as a com­pa­ny to step up and help guide our customers.

The Adobe CXM Play­book we announced and are mak­ing avail­able imme­di­ate­ly to our com­mu­ni­ty is one impor­tant way we can do this. I’d encour­age every­one to engage there; we believe the Play­book can deliv­er real val­ue right now.

What are some of the biggest mis­con­cep­tions you’ve heard from cus­tomers when it comes to dig­i­tal transformation?

The biggest mis­con­cep­tion is that dig­i­tal is only for 100% online com­pa­nies. The thought is that if peo­ple only come to your web­site, then dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion makes sense because you can have all of your data in one place. There are com­pa­nies that believe because they do busi­ness both online and, at nor­mal times, through phys­i­cal stores, they aren’t able to real­ly bring it all togeth­er into one sin­gle view. But that’s not true, and there are lots of great exam­ples of Adobe cus­tomers who are man­ag­ing cus­tomer expe­ri­ences both online and in-store, and we are help­ing to com­bine the two. The work we’re doing with Adobe Expe­ri­ence Plat­form and the Real-Time Cus­tomer Pro­file speaks to this.

Topics: Digital Transformation, Customer Experience Management, Data Management Platforms, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA

Products: Experience Cloud, Experience Platform