AEM as a Cloud Service – Adobe’s strategy for experiential dominance

Adobe’s new AEM as a Cloud service on the face of it is the next inevitable step for the experience behemoth in its quest to deliver an experiential revolution through its platform for its customers. Let’s unpack this a little bit more:

AEM-AS-A-Cloud Service

Changes for Customers : 

1) Better integration of their Tech Stack for Marketing and Technology : A key challenge for customers with a growing adobe stack has always been reconciling reality of integrating the solutions into seamless, lean, value enriched user journeys (“THE VISION”). Half the experience cloud is truly a cloud service and half of it is a hybrid / on-prem service: 

         1) Some products were not cloud native : Eg AEM, Campaign Classic etc and some were : Analytics, Target etc.

2) Support models were varying : eg: PAAS for Analytics and IAAS / Hybrid PAAS for AEM via AMS to In-house for Campaign Classic.

This evolution takes them a step closer to the vision of spending less time worrying about upkeep and falling behind and more time using the latest and greatest of the products customers pay for.

2) Quicker and more frequent functionality upgrades: Roll out of product functionality upgrades and patches quickly to customers.

3) Integrated Dev Ops for Customers : This approach necessitates best practice implementations around separation of code and content and agile devops on the customer side, thereby optimizing the Content Creation to Publish process – A major win for the customer.

4) Expect to spend more : The value comes at a price: Depending on their on-prem usage, they could end up spending significantly more as they make this move to the cloud platform. The question they need to ask is, how do they translate this into better measurable value for their businesses.

5) AI : Almost every business today is turning to AI to seek answers to the next evolution of the business. This may be the perfect opportunity to co-locate the insights their users are sharing with them through their actions and to use an embedded adobe benefit of Sensei to drive their business forward.

On a side note, customers should check out Claravine – formerly TrackingFirst which delivers some interesting data governance use cases. This may be the perfect opportunity for getting the foundational elements of their data in order and then leverage it across the board in their experience strategy.

Changes for Adobe : 

1) Better control over their portfolio : Adobe has much better control over the stability and supportability of the entire portfolio with the centerpiece of its platform on the cloud and the ability to deploy patches across the customer landscape.

2) Expanded TAM : This extends their reach to include SMB’s and to deliver more aggressive pricing models and bundles for customers.

3) AI : The availability of more data from their deployments gives them more training data for Sensei. They can use this to solve various problems : Eg: Ideal deployment profiles based on usage. Ideal use cases and data models for verticals etc. It can also suggest data to its sales teams on ideal times to approach their customers for additional licenses based on usage data etc. Using Sensei to really streamline the creative process and to surface tagging and taxonomies will be another hugely useful benefit of going cloud native.

4) Better integration across Experience, Commerce and Creative clouds : The benefit of going more verticalized is the ability to cater to more specific commerce driven use cases as well as to suggest a more efficient / better bundled package for its customers. Another key product that lives on the intersection of creative and experience cloud is Assets. 

5) Introduction of Marketplaces : I expect an introduction of marketplaces within the adobe world similar to its competitors. Partners would be encouraged to deliver Adobe certified packages that can then list for purchases by customers. While this happens already, it is largely unregulated and Adobe sees no benefit from it revenue wise.

6) Closer partnership with Microsoft : Microsoft has grown leaps and bounds due to the remarkable stewardship of its CEO Satya Nadella.  Adobe can really piggyback on Microsoft’s growing Azure portfolio and leverage its Dynamics offering to neutralize the CRM differentiator. An interesting facet of this relationship will be to see how Microsoft’s edge cloud capabilities can be utilized to further segment data from platform services keeping network lag to a minimum while maintaining data security. 

7) Recurring Revenue : More predictability around recurring revenue from licenses and platform support. Their pricing model can get more standardized and flexible. Ability to get in on nascent customers who they can grow with. Great cross-sell and up-sell opportunities around Experience Cloud and Commerce cloud. 

Changes for Partners : 

1) Reduced reliance on Traditional Platform Support :  The traditional source of revenue around platform support will become more and more minimal as business move into this new model. This is primarily due to the inability to quantify value and benefits for customers on what is essentially table stakes.

2) Focus on Product Development : Partners need to put their product hat on and focus on productizing their accelerators and offerings. Infact, it would make a lot of sense to align product and service models with Adobe’s licensing and service models. 

3) Focus on Verticalization : The biggest growth driver for agencies serving adobe customers this year will be championing their move into experiential commerce as this delivers most quantifiable value for their spend. Solutions will need to start becoming more and more verticalized with a need for domain knowledge to augment the actual platform capabilities.

“The only constant in life is change”-Heraclitus