Highlights from the First Virtual Adobe Summit 2020


Highlights from the First Virtual Adobe Summit 2020

Charlie Bleau

In April, while many of us were still adjusting to our new normal, Adobe rolled out their annual customer and partner conference online and on-demand. Adobe Summit 2020 featured keynotes from top Adobe executives and over 100 on-demand break-out sessions across six tracks: Content; Data & Insights; B2B; Commerce; Journey Management; and Advertising. As the month of April wrapped up, there were over 425,000 total visits to the online conference, which blew away expectations with the new format. Conference content is still available at no charge on Adobe.com; I recommend checking it out if you haven’t already.

As we’ve done in the past, below are the top 5 takeaways and corresponding client applications based on some of the key themes from Adobe Summit 2020: 

#1 - Data + AI: Delivering Hyper-Personalization at Scale

The Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) was featured centrally at last year’s Summit. Over the past year, Adobe has continued to invest in the platform and has since rolled it out for general availability.

AEP is the data foundation of the Adobe Experience Cloud, providing an integrated platform to manage customer data and segments, with a 360-degree customer view for omni-channel engagement, and a set of tools to analyze all the data being collected to make better decisions. Additionally, through Adobe Sensei AI technology, AEP helps to enable personalization at scale through the integration of the real-time customer profile which continually evolves and refines as more signals and data comes into the platform across customer touchpoints.

AEP addresses the problem that many organizations have with siloed data – data living across disparate enterprise systems. AEP brings it all together into a single platform for customer data management, through native integrations within the Adobe Experience Cloud suite of solutions, and through APIs and connectors to integrate with 3rd party data sources. Adobe is one of the few DXP providers that brings together an enterprise customer data platform (CDP), with a unified customer profile in AEP, coupled with an enterprise leading DMP in Adobe Audience Manager. The full life cycle and customer journey comes to life through retaining and always refining the real-time customer profile, providing more personalized connections with customers. Coupled with Adobe Sensei AI capabilities for identifying resolution and segmentation, AEP provides even greater agility and speed to market for digital marketing customers.

#2 - Cross-Channel Customer Journey Management

 Connecting the customer journey across channels has always been a daunting challenge, especially when bringing together all the different ways customers engage with brands. There are so many places a consumer can interact with a brand and there’s no specific pattern for how to unlock the best place to connect – a challenge for both B2C and B2B brands alike. This is where marketing automation and journey orchestration capabilities for both Adobe Campaign (B2C) and Adobe Marketo Engage (B2B) can help – all built on top of the Adobe Experience Platform (AEP). 

AEP coupled with Adobe Sensei AI technology helps enable more robust automated decisioning, optimized customer journeys, and more precise lead scoring. For both Adobe Campaign and Adobe Marketo Engage journeys, real-time signals process customer engagement to optimize and personalize moments that matter across the customer journey. Adobe Sensei AI will continue to be a focus as part of Adobe’s Customer Journey Management Vision roadmap.  

Beyond integrations with AEM for content/assets and Adobe Analytics, integrations and connectors are provided through a robust service layer. These service APIs continue to evolve, allowing Adobe Campaign and Marketo customers to pass data between Microsoft Dynamics and other external digital marketing platforms.

#3 - AI/ML Continues to Enable Digital Marketers and Data Scientists

By now AI and Machine Learning have become common technology capabilities across all aspects of our daily lives, from our smart phones and voice assistances to smart appliances and other IoT devices in our homes. Over the last few years, DXP vendors like Adobe have continued to invest in AI capabilities built on Adobe Sensei to provide greater agility and speed to market. All of the Adobe Experience Cloud solutions have some component of AI/ML capabilities included, whether it be smart cropping of videos in AEM Assets, or automated targeting of recommended products using Adobe Target.

The greatest challenges around AI/ML have been more around the technology platforms and scalability: access to the right data, infrastructure, having the right talent & people to manage, and ensuring the right data is being used to inform decisioning and benchmark with peers. The Adobe Experience Platform (AEP) addresses these head on.

AEP has now been the focal point of investment in AI/ML capabilities since last year to help bring together the life cycle for the management of data. Sensei technology helps data scientists prepare and analyze data, develop models, operationalize and orchestrate the collection of data.

#4 - Content Powers Omnichannel Experiences 

In order to connect with customers across channels, there needs to be a strong DXP capability at the center that can manage content and assets to help power the experiences your customers are engaging in with your brand. This is a foundational concept that’s been discussed for years now, but it’s only recently that customer data platforms, like Adobe Experience Platform, helped make the connections across the customer journey to enable personalization at scale. With more solutions to these data and technical challenges, the content and assets needed to connect with your customers is especially important (and equally challenging). Recently launched, Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service helps to provide this agility by speeding up the creation of new experiences with integrations across the Adobe Experience Cloud suite. AEM as a Cloud Service is highly scalable, maintainable, and secure.

AEM not only provides the traditional capabilities of a web CMS, it’s also a Hybrid CMS through Content Services APIs that can deploy headless experiences across channels such as SPAs, Voice, Mobile, Social, IoT and more. For marketers, this is even more important as we build hyper-personalized, connected experiences with our individual customers in real-time.  Additionally, tighter integration with Adobe Magento Commerce ensures a seamless e-commerce experience for your customers.

#5 - Experience Driven Commerce is Now

 Finally, and probably most importantly, there is the need for businesses to have a digital-first commerce approach. The pandemic has dramatically impacted businesses across the spectrum, and small businesses and their employees in the hospitality and retail markets are no exception. Many of these businesses are scrambling to go digital and provide online shopping and take-out options to stay afloat. 

Even pre-COVID-19, businesses were feeling pressure from growing customer expectations to build commerce experiences across both the B2C and B2B markets.  Adobe Magento has had a strong footprint with small and mid-market customers and is well positioned given the current situation. Currently two-thirds of all commerce traffic globally can be attributed to mobile, and Magento provides very strong PWA (progressive web app) support to help customers accelerate development and speed to market. For businesses not in the experience or mobile commerce business, the time is now.

Charlie Bleau

Charlie Bleau

VP/Group Director, Technology

Technology and content & experience management strategist with over 15 years experience planning, architecting & developing web applications and web content management solutions


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