Adobe’s growth to be fuelled by AI

  • Business
  • Saturday, 06 Apr 2019

Adobe Inc, one of the world’s largest software companies, is speeding up its digital transformation agenda as the company commits itself to introduce more data-driven and artificial intelligence (AI)-backed technologies in the global market.

Ubiquitously known for its flagship product – the image editor Photoshop – Nasdaq-listed Adobe endeavours to offer businesses and individuals an enhanced digital experience across its diverse range of information technology (IT) solutions.

Adobe chairman and chief executive officer Shantanu Narayen says the company will continue to innovate at a faster pace, by integrating its product offerings and “infusing” greater AI features into them.

He believes that Adobe’s greater focus towards data- and AI-related products will be its key growth driver, moving forward.

Shantanu spoke at the Adobe Summit 2019 last week, the world’s largest customer experience conference.

The conference, held between March 26 to 28, gathered over 16,000 industry leaders and speakers to share ideas and best practices around customer experience management.

Adobe’s AI technology is powered by Adobe Sensei, which was first launched in late 2016.

Adobe Sensei activates AI and machine learning features across all Adobe products to dramatically improve the design and delivery of digital experiences, drive real-time decision making and accelerate tasks and workflows.

In the Adobe Summit 2019, the California-based company unveiled its next-generation Adobe Sensei, which makes the AI and machine learning capabilities widely accessible to any business, including to those that lack or only have limited data science resources.

Now in the 37th year since its establishment, Adobe is more than just Photoshop.

The company’s products have expanded widely and are mainly classified into three groupings, namely the Creative Cloud, Experience Cloud and Document Cloud.

The Creative Cloud offers Adobe’s clients apps and services for video, design, photography and the web.

Among the products under the cloud are Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and Lightroom.

The Experience Cloud comprises solutions for marketing, analytics, advertising and commerce, with products such as Audience Manager, Experience Manager and Analytics. According to Adobe, the solutions under the Experience Cloud are “all integrated on a cloud platform for a single experience system of record”.

Meanwhile, the Document Cloud consists of the commonly-used Adobe Acrobat as well as Adobe Sign.

Adobe posted a strong financial performance in the financial year ended Nov 30, 2018 (FY18), as the company made significant investments across its product portfolio, entered new markets and made strategic acquisitions.

Its revenue hit an all-time-high revenue of US$9.03bil in FY18, which represents a 24% year-on-year growth, surpassing earlier forecast. Adobe envisions the positive momentum to continue, with stronger financial results in FY19.

In an exclusive interview with StarBizweek, Adobe executive vice-president and general manager of digital media Bryan Lamkin (pic) says the IT company plans to diversify its product offerings within its existing segments.

“If you look at the Experience Cloud, we are clearly betting big on business-to-business and commerce-related solutions and products. For the Document Cloud, we are focusing a lot of our energy on collaboration and on mobile.

“Meanwhile, under the Creative Cloud, we still have work to do in providing application offerings on our key services. We are also investing in screen or experience design, where we have our new product Adobe XD to allow our clients to design and prototype user experience for web and mobile apps.

“Augmented Reality (AR) is also another area of investment.

“We are not going to become a 3D modelling company but we can adjust 3D models and make them photo-realistic for AR experience or even video,” he says.

Currently, Lamkin guides Adobe’s Creative Cloud and Document Cloud businesses.

Over the years, Lamkin points out that Adobe’s capital expenditure trend has skewed more towards research and product development compared to distribution and manufacturing.

This is largely due to the greater digitalisation of its products, from selling software items in boxes to offering them for sale online.

Adobe’s continued innovation and unique product offerings compared to other industry rivals are the key factors that have made the company appealing to its clients, says Lamkin.

“Not only our revenue, but also our customer base has expanded dramatically over the years. If you look at the customers that are joining the Creative Cloud and Document Cloud today, more than 40% of them are brand new to Adobe.

“Overall, the company is growing well above 20% every year, with each of our businesses growing by greater than 20%.

“We have also identified huge available market opportunities for Adobe that we will likely achieve, as long as we continue to make investments to innovate and grow,” he says.

Moving forward, Lamkin says the Asia Pacific region will continue to be one of Adobe’s fastest growing markets. Currently, Australia and New Zealand are the biggest contributors for Adobe within the Asia Pacific region.

“The demand for our products from Asia Pacific is coming up very strong, driven by our digital transformation agenda.

“We also see the emerging markets catch up really quickly for our products,” says Lamkin.

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