Adobe releases Experience Platform and CDP, iterates Sensei
The company says it's ready to help brands create rich, relevant experiences in real time.
Software giant Adobe globally released what it’s calling the Customer Experience Platform — an overarching infrastructure that encompasses all of its tools for marketers — while also announcing additional features for nearly every product under that umbrella at its annual customer Summit. The company says Home Depot, Best Buy, Verizon Wireless and others have been using the Adobe Experience Platform in beta.
A new overarching platform. Don’t confuse the new Adobe Experience Platform for the Adobe Experience Manager, which is an individual tool that resides under the Adobe Marketing Cloud. The image below shows how Adobe sees the tools as working together, with the Experience Platform subsuming the Advertising Cloud, Analytics Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Commerce Cloud.
“We believe to solve these challenges [facing CMOs], you need a modern cloud-based big data architecture. The solution must be purpose-built with these key ingredients: a data pipeline, the notion of a real-time unified customer profile, and then an AI that ultimately delivers cross-channel experiences,” Adobe’s VP of platform engineering, Anjul Bhambhri, told the summit audience.
Bhambhri elaborated on how the Adobe Experience Platform gathers data about interactions and experiences — tens of millions of events per second — from disparate sources. “It’s coming from our own Adobe solutions, like Analytics, Target, Audience Manager, as well as from other enterprise systems like the ERP systems and the CRM systems,” said Bhambhri. “The platform organizes this data into an experience data model. We abbreviate that as XDN.”
Open and extensible. This XDN, Bhambhri says, is an open standard, developed as part of the Open Data Initiative begun by Adobe, Microsoft and SAP. Though the XDN can be used to drive campaigns with Adobe’s tools, the Platform’s capabilities are also accessible through a set of APIs that Bhambhri says have already been used by thousands of customers to build custom applications.
“For example, a home supplies retailer is using it for in-store notifications. Data leverage the prior mobile and web interactions of the customer,” she said. “A telco company is proactively recommending plan and accessory options using the customer profile, and an entertainment giant, using segments, is engaging customers before, during and after events. At Adobe, we are leveraging the platform internally for consistent views of our customers across sales, marketing and support.”
We’ve got a CDP, too. In releasing the Experience Platform, the company also planted its flag in the Customer Data Platform (CDP) arena, saying the new Platform, along with Adobe Audience Manager, together deliver what CDP-seeking marketers want to achieve.
At the same time, Adobe (similarly to Salesforce) disparaged the current crop of CDPs as point solutions that, “struggle to actually deal with the complex, nuanced technological challenges associated with unifying data and activating it across channels,” Adobe product marketing director Ali Bohra wrote in a post on the company’s blog.
Getting intelligent with Sensei. If you take a good look at the Experience Platform image above, you’ll see one other initiative that crosses the boundaries of the various Clouds — Adobe Sensei, the company’s artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. Executives said they’d developed the next generation of Sensei, which will eventually provide the intelligence layer to connect data and content across the various software tools within the Experience Platform.
The Sensei services now available include Customer AI, Journey AI and Attribution AI. The first helps brands uncover and target segments of users, the second helps them orchestrate and analyze customer journeys, and the third enables brands to see the impact of owned, earned and paid media, so they can better allocate their resources.
Sensei is also powering an enhancement to Adobe Advertising Cloud that search marketers should find of interest. Called Performance Optimization for Adobe Advertising Cloud Search, the feature allows marketers to optimize across multiple bidding strategies and across search engines.
In beta are Content Intelligence Services powered by Sensei, which are aimed at helping brands more efficiently and effectively use their brand assets like images. And coming soon to beta will be Experience Intelligence services, which will help personalize and optimize every customer experience as part of the Experience Platform.
More features. Adobe teased dozens of new features that have been added to its tools, including the ability to see viewthrough data in Analytics, the ability to extend first-party data into social networks and OTT via Audience Manager (and partnerships with Microsoft’s LinkedIn and Roku). Additionally, Campaign now includes in-app messaging as an option for reaching customers. Separately, the company touted the ability to
With so many tidbits, Adobe resorted to encapsulating it all with a slide:
Why you should care. Adobe is undoubtedly one of the larger players within the martech space, and its big acquisitions of Marketo and Magento last year spoke volumes about its ambitions for the future. If you’re already using Adobe’s products, it’s clearly valuable to learn about new capabilities and initiatives. But even if you’re not, all the news out of the summit gives you a window into one major player’s thinking about the ideal ecosystem.