Adobe Summit 2016: The Experience Business

18 May 2016Josie Klafkowska

Adobe’s annual EMEA gathering is always a calendar highlight for us.  It’s an opportunity to mix with our partners and clients and to make new friends, but it’s also a big opportunity to share ideas on the trends driving our industry, and the new products and solutions that Adobe are dreaming up to enable our clients to stay on top.  In case you weren't there, here are some of the highlights.


The Experience Business wave of disruption

We are experiencing the 3rd major wave of enterprise disruption since the digital revolution.  The first, the back office wave, was concerned with finance, with HR, with the supply chain.  It was the ERP era when the first digital business ecosystems gave forward-thinking companies the competitive advantage.

The 2nd phase was all about front office. CRM was a huge catalyst in this wave and companies who successfully digitized their customer relationship management came out on top.  This 3rd phase is all about managing both data and content to optimise those all-important one-to-one customer experiences.  It’s about streamlining content for individual conversations and deploying the right technology to drive consumers down the purchase funnel and into on-going personal relationships with the brand.  As Brad Rencher pointed out, ‘having a world class experience is not a luxury, it’s a point of differentiation’.  Ergo, a must!


Four pillars for success

To succeed in this new wave of disruption, Adobe defined four pillars for success:

  1. The Cloud: the global foundation of data and content that will power experience.
  2. Mobile: not ‘mobile first’, but ‘mobile only’.
  3. Data science: Here we will see the most fundamental shift that will take place in the next 20 years, particularly around artificial intelligence.
  4. Ecosystem: An open ecosystem that will help enterprises to quickly take up capabilities and extend them.

To support this final point, Adobe announced the launch of, their new developer / SI programme that will give access to them in a more open and collaborative way in the future.  This is a great move as far as we’re concerned and one that is completely in line with our own collective approach to building digital ecosystems.

Segmentation and Personalisation

As you might expect, almost all the buzz was around these 2 critical differentiators in the marketing mix.

We heard about innovations around Adobe’s DMP that brings logic, organisation and segmentation to your data.  For clients and agencies, Audience Marketplace offers the opportunity to integrate your 1st and 3rd party data and provides a vetted environment in which to build strategic relationships for the exchange and purchase of 2nd party data.  Useful and profitable segmentation is only really achievable once 1st party and 3rd party data are cross referenced so this kind of data automation is already a prerequisite when it comes to meaningful personalisation.

And to achieve meaningful personalisation, marketing technologists must stop thinking about ‘touchpoints’ and ‘devices’.  We need to reach people.  They should be top of mind when we create our strategies and design our content and campaigns, not the channels and devices by which we reach them.


Even analytics is getting sexy!  Well, that’s perhaps a bit strong, but wouldn’t we all agree that saying goodbye to Excel spreadsheets would improve life all round?   With automated audits, life is easier for everyone involved in analytics and means that data can be analysed and cross referenced very quickly across the Marketing Cloud, driving proactive campaign activity.  

However, the one question that seems to hang over most organisations these days is, who owns the data?  How can organisations break down data silos to ensure that they are optimising the riches of the information that they have?


Of course, it’s not just about making the most of data either.  All of this technology is tantamount to useless without widespread acceptance and adoption.  Companies critically need to plan culture change into their technology roadmaps for their investment to succeed.  RBS proved that they are ahead of the game with their Superstar DJs programme that embedded their new content management system, proving that anyone can publish content, regardless of their role, geography or technical ability.  Championing adoption is at the heart of every Cognifide implementation and is key to maximising the return out of your Adobe investment.

Industry trends and analysis

We were excited by the launch in Europe of the Adobe Digital Index too.  This is basically Adobe practising what they preach - let’s make use of all the data.  They are becoming stewards of their proprietary data and now have 13 data scientists on board tasked with trend analysis.  

And what snippets did they share with us?  Well, voice is set to become the new battleground and tech design differentiator; stickiness is still one of the greatest challenges - particularly on mobile; and big data is here to stay.  In fact, they are predicting that data agencies may well soon have a bigger role in client organisations than creative agencies.

But while, analytics, segmentation and personalisation were without doubt the hot topics, it was universally acknowledged that content is the fundamental glue that sticks all of these experience enablers together.  Adobe Experience Manager sits at the heart of the Marketing Cloud and allows companies and brands around the world to optimise their content and integrate every discipline.

Our client, Toby Wright, CTO at The Telegraph talked to a captivated Summit audience about our recent, shared journey building a new authoring platform and richer reader experience.  You can read more about that in Toby’s own words here on


If you’d like to hear more about anything you’ve read here, or you want to talk about surviving and thriving in the Business Experience wave of disruption, get in touch -

Author: Josie Klafkowska
Published: 18 May 2016

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