New Adobe platform addresses need to manage multi-channel customer experiences

Adobe's new platform lets businesses profile visitors, and manage their Web experience.

The rise of the Internet has disrupted the notion that an organization can ever have complete control over their brand.

A customer’s experiences are shaped by an intricate web of interactions. Positive experiences can create loyalty, while negative ones can breed resentment and mistrust.

Gartner Research’s Ed Thompson and Esteban Kolsky have defined customer experience loosely and elegantly as “the sum total of conscious events.” Under this model, consumers will gain their experience of a brand through interactions across multiple-channels, some controlled by the firm, others controlled by taste makers, other customers, and competitors.

It is little wonder that Adobe, whose software tools are used to create and measure online experiences, should want to pursue customer experience management (or CEM) as its latest venture.

“We see [CEM] becoming an enterprise-class problem that traditional enterprise systems, which are based on a system of records, not a system of customer engagement, are unable to answer in this increasingly complex and digital domain,” says Rob Pinkerton, senior director of product marketing for customer experience management at Adobe.

Adobe’s new Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform, announced Monday, is designed to enable enterprises to build and manage multi-channel digital interactions for social and mobile customers.

The new offering helps enterprises bring together marketing and IT to deliver engaging, authentic solutions that increase brand loyalty and bolster competitive differentiation. It is made up of tools such as Integrated Content Review, Web Experience Management, and Customer Communications, designed to provide more consistent and engaging customer experiences.

Integrated Content Review improves the workflow and processes required to create, review, store and rapidly adapt digital content through different target segments, reducing time-to-market for new marketing campaigns and customer experiences. Web Experience Management helps business and marketing professionals create, manage and publish rich content across Web, social, mobile and email. And Customer Communications is designed to improve customer loyalty by centralizing and managing the creation, assembly and multi-channel delivery of personalized, interactive correspondence and statements.

Also part of its CEM lineup are Social Brand Engagement, Selection and Enrollment and Unified Workspace, which are immediately in beta and will be generally released in Fall 2011

The common thread, Pinkerton says, is putting structures in place that enable a company to adapt to new market conditions and opportunities, while ensuring that changes do not undercut IT best practices or make the company otherwise vulnerable. Incorporated in this idea is making the best use of different members of a company.

“The big demand on companies right now is to get faster access and use of all the different rich digital assets that are produced – and scale them,” he says. “That is not what creatives are designed to do. They’re designed to be creative: they are rockstars; they are thinkers. You do not want your creatives spending time trying to figure out how to meta tag something, when to do version control, what to work on next… Also, marketers, and campaign managers of digital assets want to have a better understanding of when things get done, and how things can move more quickly, and not burden the rockstars, but at the same time deliver quickly the digital assets required to be in the marketplace.”

The Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform, Integrated Content Review solution, Web Experience Management solution and Customer Communications solution will be available August 2011.

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