Adobe CTO Abhay Parasnis on the Experience Cloud — How the Platform Empowers Enterprises to Forge Stronger Connections With Customers

Image featuring Adobe CTO

TL; DR: Adobe Summit 2017 continued its tradition as a pinnacle annual event for marketing executives to network and learn industry best practices. One of the conference’s most highly anticipated talks was CTO Abhay Parasnis’s keynote on the launch of Adobe’s new Experience Cloud. In it, Abhay explained how the platform empowers enterprises to engage customers, manage data, and improve efficiency. The Experience Cloud takes the concepts of measurement, optimization, and personalization and spreads them across the entire enterprise. Leveraging a vast ecosystem of partners and an intelligence layer built through Adobe Sensei, Abhay was proud to announce how Adobe’s new offering lays the foundation to create richer end-to-end customer journeys.

In the contemporary competitive business landscape, marketers are constantly stressing the value of experience. The idea of user experience has become so prevalent it now has its own acronym (UX) that is being employed by more than just marketing departments. Advertising, sales, executive, and product development teams are all recognizing the significance of how customers interact with their brands and products.

This year’s Adobe Summit was all about zeroing in on the importance of customer engagement and the need to spread the concepts of UX throughout enterprises. And Abhay Parasnis’s keynote announcing the launch of Adobe’s new Experience Cloud got right to the heart of the matter.

Abhay noted Adobe has made a significant investment in its platform to help businesses optimize and personalize consumer and brand interactions across all touchpoints. The Experience Cloud marries the power of Adobe’s Marketing, Advertising, and Analytics Clouds and serves businesses by providing tailored messaging to customers. This personalized approach works to enhance customer journeys toward conversions and helps increase brand loyalty.

Collage of Adobe CTO Abhay Parasnis's headshot and Adobe Experience Cloud logo

In his keynote at Adobe Summit 2017, Adobe CTO Abhay Parasnis discussed the launch of the new Experience Cloud.

In what Abhay calls our “real-time, contextually aware world,” Adobe’s Experience Cloud provides businesses with tools to identify and amplify the right messages to the right audiences. The platform accomplishes this by focusing on three core areas — the language of the business experience, the ecosystem of partners, and the use of intelligence everywhere.

As Abhay put it, “The primary design center of Adobe Experience Cloud Platform is to blend the art of content with the science of data at a massive scale.”

Deep Blending of Content and Data Powered by a Common Language

Adobe’s Experience Cloud provides a single language enterprises can deploy throughout their businesses to measure, optimize, and personalize customer journeys through their touchpoints. Marketing departments have been employing a similar model for years, but, as Abhay noted, the new Experience Cloud takes this language and puts it to use in every facet of a company — from advertising to product development and sales.

As Abhay put it, Adobe’s Experience Cloud “will give you tools of the language to express and extend the model to fit your needs.”

Collage of the Marketing Cloud UI, a consumer making a purchase on a cell phone, and a screenshot of the Analytics Cloud dashboard

The Experience Cloud harnesses the power of Adobe’s Marketing, Advertising, and Analytics Clouds to improve UX.

Enterprises can tailor the platform according to how they want to interact with their customers. This is done by allowing disparate systems, such as content management, loyalty, and analytics solutions, to communicate freely with one another, which dramatically improves efficiency. It’s a single language to optimize customer experience and simplify the workload for enterprises.

According to Abhay, the standard data model is a “rich and expressive language that establishes shared definitions and models such as profiles, caveats, events, and many more.”

Vast Ecosystem of Partners to Innovate & Deliver Mission-Critical Apps

Abhay pointed out Adobe is seeing success with numerous partnerships with businesses that use the company’s cloud to deploy apps to users.

“We are not building this hub to experience business all by ourselves,” he said. “Thousands of partners are already using the platform today to deliver mission-critical applications.”

In this context, Abhay noted Adobe’s offering of two new services to make that a reality — Adobe I/O Events and Adobe Cloud Platform Launch.

Adobe I/O is a platform for developers to create and extend apps based on Adobe’s other products. The new Adobe I/O Events service will allow notifications regarding unique situations — including customers walking into retail locations.

“[Adobe I/O Events is] the one-stop destination for developers to learn, engage, and build on top of this platform,” Abhay said.

The I/O Events platform currently handles more than 700 million API calls a day. Adobe Cloud Platform Launch uses real-time integrations and responsive apps to handle next-generation tag management and gets things running quickly.

“As we build up this platform vision, we are partnering closely with other industry leaders,” Abhay said. “And none more so than Microsoft, [using] a strategic partnership with a shared vision and ambitious agenda to transform how businesses operate in the digital era.”

Microsoft Azure’s cloud platform works in tandem with Adobe’s Marketing Cloud to deliver powerful online experiences to customers by integrating relevant marketing and sales data to create a complete customer profile. The goal is to provide a seamless experience for customers.

Azure is capable of scaling to needs as well as providing reduced resource cost and better risk management while working quickly and efficiently. Regarding the value of this vast ecosystem of partners, Abhay described the benefits as “deep integration at the data layer and lightning fast information at the experience layer.”

An Intelligence Layer That Marries Design with Meaningful Insight

The third aspect of the Experience Cloud is what Abhay calls “intelligence everywhere.” Adobe Sensei is the company’s foray into the artificial intelligence approach, and the CTO sees a future where AI is prevalent.

“From voice assistants to self-driving cars, it’s already changing the world,” he explained, “and it is inevitably going to change each of your businesses.”

Adobe Sensei is an AI learning system with a vast amount of data that flows through Adobe’s existing solutions. Sensei has a deep understanding of how customers work, which allows the design and delivery of compelling experiences.

“It is our belief that Sensei will amplify human intelligence, not replace it,” Abhay said.

Sensei operates according to three domains: computational creativity, experience intelligence, and understanding content. These concepts allow Adobe Sensei to learn intent from facial expressions as well as detect anomalies and give intelligent alerts.

Other services Sensei can be used for include attribution, lookalike modeling, audience tagging, predictive clicking, and budget allocation, among others. It is a state of the art AI created within a common data schema. At the March 2017 Adobe Summit, new features were announced such as fluid experiences, auto targeting, and contribution analysis.

Laying the Foundation to Make End-to-End Experiences Richer

Adobe’s Advertising Cloud has already been used by large-scale, well-known brands, including MGM, Anheuser-Busch, Nickelodeon, Ford, Kraft, Southwest Airlines, and L’Oreal, among others, and the company manages more than $3.5 billion in ad spending every year. This kind of reach is sure to continue with the end-to-end experiences Adobe’s new platform offers.

“Our approach to the platform is all about designing for the future,” Abhay said. “The experiences of tomorrow will require deep blending of content and data, powered by a common language.”

These future experiences are believed to be heavily intertwined with intelligent systems such as Sensei. Engaging one’s customer base through the use of AI and cloud technologies improves the journeys of both the customer and enterprise.

UX has become a buzzword for good reason — optimizing experiences has proven to make good business sense, and, as Abhay noted, Adobe’s Experience Cloud lays the groundwork to make these experiences richer.

Laura Stamey

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