Articles categorized under Perspectives

Empowering Creatives in a Design-led World

Last week I was reading an issue of National Geographic on my iPad. The photography was stunning, the stories were beautifully written and the interactivity let me explore and learn in a completely new way.  I found that moment particularly poignant, as I was the beneficiary of a 125-year-old magazine continuing to put me, its customer, first by investing in the most up-to-date technologies.

National Geographic is doing a wonderful job reimagining its role in the rapidly evolving consumer landscape, and at virtually every company I visit these days I see similar transformations. We are in the middle of an important shift in how individuals and organizations think about the content they distribute and the apps they build.

Over the last few years the industry has been focused on three major technology trends: mobile, social and cloud. During that same period companies have rushed to integrate these technologies into everything they build and everything they distribute. As a result we now find ourselves in a world where publishers, app developers and marketers are settling on a formula for how to best leverage them. And, by definition, are turning the technology innovations of the last decade into the commodities of the next decade.

As this happens we begin to see individuals and organizations searching for a new frontier – one that differentiates their offerings from competitors and enables them to engage with their communities in new ways.  And I believe that frontier is the Experience.

Adobe is lucky enough to work with some of the biggest brands and most innovative companies where design-led innovation is the primary focus. For them, the experience is multi-faceted and runs end-to-end because they recognize that their brand is not just a logo, their design is not limited to an app interface, and their campaigns don’t stand on their own. With design and experience playing a much bigger role in how organizations connect with their customers, the creative community’s role is evolving. This is confirmed by our recent creativity research in which two-thirds of creative pros expect their role will be significantly different within three years, and 77 percent say creativity and design are becoming more important to business.

Creatives’ roles are changing because they are the ones who shape these powerful experiences. They’re no longer just one more “part” of the process – they play an integral role throughout the entire course of development and in a variety of roles. Creatives are now the strategists, the decision-makers, and they are on the front lines every day. At the same time, creatives are asked to produce more than ever and get it done faster than ever, and as the study demonstrates, they live in an increasingly complex and real time world.

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This is the world we envisioned when we introduced Creative Cloud. One that ensured the creative community always has access to the latest innovations and can address the challenges and opportunities in the new design-led world.

So with this as the background, I am excited to announce the 2014 release of Creative Cloud, which delivers on our promise to support the creative community through the changing landscape:

  1. Through our work with this community, we see that creatives are always looking for technologies that allow them to express their ideas in new ways. To support today’s rapid pace of change, Adobe is delivering a milestone release that includes major updates across all of our key desktop apps focused on performance, productivity, support for new hardware and formats, and some Adobe “Magic.”
  1. Creatives are always planning and creating – regardless of where they are. They need to be able to do serious work on mobile because their freshest and most impactful ideas often happen outside of work. In the New Creatives study, we found that nearly early half use mobile to collect inspiration and create content on the go, but find their options on mobile limiting.

Our new family of Creative Cloud connected mobile apps are professional grade but easy to use and extend workflows previously locked to the desktop. We introduced two new drawing apps, Adobe Line (for free form drawing) and Adobe Sketch (for precision drawing) in tandem with Adobe’s first creative hardware: Adobe Ink, a Creative Cloud pen for the iPad, and Adobe Slide, a digital ruler. We also introduced new mobiles apps for creative imaging and photography with the release of Adobe Photoshop Mix and a mobile version of Lightroom.

  1. Lastly, creatives are investing more in collaboration and community. In our study, most creatives say they receive their inspiration from their peers and from social media, which impacts how they interact, collaborate, discover content, get feedback and share work.

To support this new level of connectedness, we’re introducing a new Creative Cloud services experience across desktop, web and mobile. When logged in to Adobe.com, customers will be able to easily access their assets, colors, fonts, community and collaborators.

Creative Cloud, with its ongoing updates, let’s us innovate faster and evolve with our customers. We are creating an ecosystem that supports the modern workflow that creatives increasingly expect – across desktop, mobile and web. In short, the next frontier is all about experience and we will do all we can to make sure Creative Cloud members have everything they need to help shape the next decade of innovation.

“The New Creatives Report” Is Here, and It’s Good News

We all love talking about creativity, but we seldom take time to examine the state of creative professionals themselves. For those of us who chose a creative career, are we happy we did? What inspires and motivates creative professionals to do their greatest work? How do Creatives feel about the pace of change in the industry?

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Today we released some striking research to delve into what really makes the creatives tick. We’re calling it “The New Creatives Report,” and it’s based on a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. creatives – all designers, photographers, illustrators and the like. Some of it really surprised me, and all of it reinforced something that I already believe: creative professionals are taking the reigns on their careers and, with new technology and shifts in the creative industry, have the wind at their backs.

A few top takeaways from those we surveyed:

Creative professionals are creating FOR mobile, and want to create WITH mobile. Seven out of 10 say they create content specifically for mobile, and 87% of those say it’s had a positive impact on their work. They also want to create on mobile devices, with tablets being an up-and-coming device of choice. Survey respondents also said “app development” is the #1 sought-after skill in the upcoming year.

Social media is becoming a top source of inspiration. Gone are the days that we relied solely on museums and trade publications for inspiration. Twice as many creatives see social media as the best source of inspiration compared to more traditional sources. And almost 1/3 cite inspiration and collaboration as their top reasons for participating in online creative communities. And it is interesting to learn that, when it comes to online creative communities like Behance, “inspiration” and “collaboration with others” are valued even more than things like self-promotion or job prospecting.

With opportunity comes great responsibility, and the pressure is on. When we asked, “what keeps you up at night,” the top answer was “pressure to deliver creative ideas and content faster than ever.” This pressure is on top of a lot of change in their roles and the industry: Almost half think their own role will change in the next year, and over three quarters say the industry is changing rapidly with new technologies as the top driving force behind the change.

Versatility and Optimism! 96% of Creatives surveyed are happy in their careers and 88% believe they have a strong influence on their companies and clients. Quite striking, and I’m pretty sure that there isn’t another career out there that would have those kinds of numbers. Creative work is a labor of love.

New Creatives Report - What Motivates You

I’m speaking at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity today. If you’re here, come stop by my session and let me know how our research strikes you – or you can connect with me on Twitter (@scottbelsky) or leave a comment here. Below you can check out the full study, very cool infographic done by Non-Format, and an Adobe Voice piece with more details on the research. And if you’re curious about what Adobe is doing next, be sure to check out our big event on Wednesday. We have some fascinating stuff in the pipeline that my colleagues and I are excited to share…

The New Creatives Report – June 2014
Highlights of the findings via Adobe Voice

The New Creatives Report – June 2014 Infographic

How to Capitalize on the Golden Age of IT Innovation

In May I hosted Adobe’s annual CIO Innovation Forum, partnering with leading Silicon Valley venture firms – including Canaan Partners, Greylock Partners, SierraVentures and Sutter Hill Ventures — to help foster enterprise innovation.  During the event, the Adobe IT team and leaders across the organization were able to learn about emerging companies that are commercializing innovative, market-changing technologies.   The event challenges my team to think differently about the business and spark new ideas for how we can continue to innovate in Adobe IT.   One of the investors kicked-off the event with an inspiring comment:  “We are truly in a golden age of IT innovation.”

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As a serial CIO, with more than 25 years of experience, I couldn’t agree more.  We have reached an inflection point within information technology (IT) where the conversation is moving from cost to value.   IT is no longer focused on back-office infrastructure.  In a digital world, the function has transformed to help unearth valuable data insights and define the future of products.  Given the historical and deep knowledge with big data, security and infrastructure, the IT function plays an integral role in delivering delightful customer experiences across all digital platforms.

I elaborated on the IT transformation at Adobe’s EMEA Digital Marketing Summit, which brings together marketing and IT decision makers who are looking for ways effectively reach consumers through digital marketing solutions.   On a panel addressing how the Marketing and IT relationship has been reinvented, my fellow panelists and I discussed the convergence between IT and marketing with the ability to take data capabilities in the IT organization and merge it with marketing aspirations.  The Marketing and IT partnership is tighter than ever; both functions are working synergistically to implement and manage digital technology and leverage data insights to provide personalized experiences.

It is an exciting time in IT, from the role the function is playing in developing products and solutions to the new partnerships that are being forged to drive business impact.   I believe there are a number of fundamental tenets that will help IT leaders capitalize on the golden age of IT innovation:

  • Shift to a Services Model:  IT leaders need to shift their organization from a delivery model to an end-to-end services model.    Move from a project management and back-end infrastructure role to taking on the total cost of ownership in developing services that help drive the profits of a company.  With this model IT specialists have an ongoing partnership with the business, product, and marketing organizations and are embedded into those teams.
  • Build New Skill Sets:  The next generation of IT is re-defining the skill set and competencies of people in the organization.  IT Specialists need to have an end-to-end services mindset where they work on smaller teams for longer periods of time and take a “you build it, you run it” approach.  IT specialists also need to think more like marketers, as data is deeply embedded in the process of creating, targeting and delivering personalized experiences to customers.
  •  Think Like a CEO:  The CIO is in the unique position to see the entire spectrum of the company’s operation and business.  As CIOs’ influence broadens, they must think like a 21st century CEO having a strong acumen around running a business (P&L), anticipating customers’ needs, innovating experiences, and understanding the competitive environment.
  •  Entrust the Business:   Leaders need to ensure they are prioritizing the projects that will truly drive business impact.  Entrusting projects/initiatives to other groups or vendors is a very smart and strategic decision.  By doing so, resources are freed up to focus on IT innovation and initiatives that help drive business revenue.

 I am energized by the opportunities that lie ahead in IT.  Never before have I seen the level of partnership and integration across the organization, than I have seen today.  We are breaking down the barriers and silos and forging a new path for the next generation of IT.

Are We Enlightened Marketers?

In the 17th century, England had a water quality problem. The water was dirty, and it made you sick, so people chose to drink less of it – it was safer (and a bit more fun) to drink beer instead. They’d even have a little bit with breakfast. But by the middle of the century, a new beverage came on the scene: coffee. People started to spend a little less time gathered in the pub drinking depressants, and a lot more time in coffee houses drinking stimulants – and when they switched their fuel from beer to coffee, they started talking – fast – about big, important ideas. That’s when the Enlightenment really started to take off.

I told this story today on stage in London at EMEA Summit – which I see as the one of the “coffeehouses” where marketers are coming together to discuss some of the biggest issues facing the industry today. It’s an interesting way to start the conversation, not just because some of the attendees might have indulged in a little pre-Enlightenment lifestyle the night before, but also because I believe that marketing is on the verge of its own big transformation.

Digital is transforming businesses, and it’s challenging marketers at every level. Systems across the business are becoming more connected, moving marketing towards the center of the enterprise and offering more touch points for marketers to connect companies and consumers. And the pressure on marketers is higher than it’s ever been to engage consumers across channels and to demonstrate real ROI for their businesses.

We need new ideas to make that happen, and new ideas don’t normally surface in isolation – they come from being exposed to networks of thinkers who are wrestling with the same challenges we are. But it’s going to take all of us, on a personal level, committing to doing things differently than we’ve ever done them before.

It is harder than ever to work in marketing – but in spite of this, we see some companies that excel where it seems impossible. These are the companies that seem to already be operating with an enlightened approach to digital, and we want to know what’s making them so good. They’re the best of the best in digital marketing, and we hear stories about them all of the time.

We wanted to know empirically what it meant to be one of the best of the best, so we looked across industries with our Digital Index research to find out what makes the difference between getting by and being best in class. What we found was dramatic: in the travel and retail verticals, best-in-class marketers posted a 200% higher conversion rate. The best marketers in finance had 50% higher stickiness. (See all Best-of-the-Best Research results)

But as we dove even deeper into the best of the best, we realized something staggering. It’s not just that the best of the best are hitting amazing marks in conversion, stick rate, visit depth or consumption – it’s that they’re getting better at a faster rate than anyone else. They’re actually accelerating the performance curve for everyone. And, when we dug a little deeper into “why” the best of the best are accelerating, we found that theme that emerged from their organizations – the fuel driving their explosive growth – is the maturity of their marketing.

There’s a big difference between age and maturity. If you’ve been at something for a long time, that doesn’t automatically mean you’re great at it. When we think of mature marketers, we see them as deeply fluent in three key areas: products, processes and people.

To be a highly mature marketing organization, you need products that are best in class and that are integrated around data and content. You need processes that span the organization and catalyze change. And you need people with the abilities and competencies to take on new challenges in an era of digital. And you need to work effectively across all of these dimensions. They either enhance our capabilities as marketers, or they create drag on our work that we may not even notice.

To be a best-in-class marketer, you need to be aware of these issues in your organization, and take action on them. But how? It’s not enough to theorize about the “Three Ps.” You want to deconstruct these concepts, understand them, benchmark them – and then plan against them.

In our research, we wanted to call out the gaps that exist between where we are as organizations, teams and individuals – and where we want to be. If we could do that, we could begin to figure out how to put the three Ps into alignment just like the best of the best are doing, and accelerate marketing across the board.

But to get the data we wanted, we had to get creative. The tools to measure what we were looking for simply didn’t exist. So we created the Adobe Digital Marketing Maturity Assessment – a set of 44 targeted questions designed to tease out insights about how marketers rate their products, processes and people. (Check out Adobe’s Maturity Self-Assessment Tool) We tested more than 650 customers around the world, and it generated some incredible data about our industry.

As a whole, marketers feel like we’ve made some great strides in order to respond to the demands of digital – but we still have a long way to go before we can ace this test. The average maturity assessment score was a 2.2 out of 5, and the best-in-class marketers averaged a 3.4. On products, marketers are good with analytics, segmentation and targeting. But we have real gaps in advanced capability in mobile optimization, data integration and automation. On process, we do well with communicating with segments, but we can do better on attribution and efficient content creation. And in people, we have a good handle on strategy – but we need more people trained and skilled to make strategy real. Overall, none of these results are necessarily good or bad. They simply uncover some of the detail in aligning the 3 P’s to get best in class results.

These numbers also show us that the majority of marketing organizations have to work on each of these areas if we want to mature our marketing. It looks like a long way to go to get from a 2.2 to a 5.0 – but it’s a huge opportunity. And a good way to get started is to take a close look at ourselves – what are our strengths, and what do we need to learn from others, in order to become the best of the best?

If you can understand yourself, you can train your sights on the new ideas and new ways of thinking. And when you’ve identified the most fruitful opportunities for you to develop professionally, and for your organization to evolve, you can work your way from average to best-in-class – and drive our industry towards a more enlightened form of marketing.

Lawyer’s Encounter 25 Years Ago Foreshadowed Patent Wars

As an associate, he viewed a so-called troll’s challenge with wide-eyed bemusement.

Note: This op-ed first appeared in National Law Journal on May 5, 2014

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Zak Pullen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early in my career, when I was a law firm associate, one of my clients, a small networking company, received a curious letter. It was from an unknown company accusing my client of patent infringement and “inviting” it to pay a very large license fee.

What made the letter so strange was that the referenced patent had nothing to do with the products made by my client. Stranger still, after some investigation, we discovered the other company was little more than a thinly capitalized shell that appeared to have a single employee — an attorney who had purchased the patent from someone else.

Because it was rather novel, I discussed the letter with other attorneys in the firm and we concluded it must be a mistake, so I decided to call the other company to clarify things. It didn’t work out as I expected.

Instead, our discussion became increasingly heated (at least on my end) until I said: “There’s no way my client will pay a dime. They aren’t infringing.” To which I heard a calm voice reply: “Yes, they will, because the license fee I’m offering is less than what it will cost them to fight a patent lawsuit. It’s basic economics.”

It turns out I was wrong.

Since that telephone call some 25 years ago, patent trolls have overrun the U.S. patent system, spawning an entire industry of attorneys, technical and damages experts, and causing a significant drain on judicial resources.

Here’s a patent litigation fun fact: In 2012 alone, more than 60 percent of all patent cases were filed by patent trolls. That’s more than 2,900 cases in a single year that required the attention of a frequently overworked judiciary.

More importantly, it’s been an enormous diversion of money and ­resources from innovation and job creation. According to study released in 2012 by Boston University School of Law professor Michael Meurer and lecturer James Bessen, the cost to American businesses in 2011 was a staggering $29 billion. In an era of increasing global competition, this doesn’t bode well for America.

The question is: What do we do about it? We have to attack the economics of patents. What’s notable about the patent-troll problem is that these entities seldom win their lawsuits. But their business model isn’t predicated on going to trial; instead, it is dependent on casting as wide a net as possible knowing that some percentage of companies will pay a license fee rather than incur the cost of litigation.

Today, a company can expect to incur several million dollars for outside counsel, expert witnesses and jury consultant fees to defend a case involving a single patent. If multiple patents are asserted, the costs are significantly higher. In addition, a company’s finance, legal and engineering teams must spend time to support the company’s defense, time better spent on the company’s business.

The lawyer representing the patent troll who told me it was about “economics” was correct, of course. It is about economics — asymmetrical economics. A lawsuit by a patent troll potentially puts at risk a company’s products (in the remote case when a jury finds infringement), but more importantly requires a company to incur the costs described above. On the other hand, the cost to a patent troll is almost negligible.

Although there is some risk that a patent might be found to be invalid during the course of litigation, this happens infrequently. Also, lawyers for patent trolls are usually paid on a contingency basis. Consequently, the patent troll has little out-of-pocket expense but tremendous upside opportunity.

How can we rebalance a clearly out-of-balance system? The real answer lies with Congress. A number of proposed bills are pending in the Senate directed at patent reform and the patent-troll problem.

These bills contain different ­proposals that help address the issue. One of those proposals would require that patent-troll lawsuits against customers be stayed until the case against the company producing the allegedly infringing product is resolved.

Although helpful, however, most of these measures do not get at the root of the problem — the asymmetrical ­economics.

The solution is to change the standard for awarding attorney fees under federal patent law.

The presumption should be that legal fees and expenses will be awarded to the prevailing party. In December, the House passed what is referred to as the “Innovation Act” that provides just this. The Innovation Act is one of those rare pieces of proposed legislation these days that has true bipartisan backing in the House and from the president. At the same time, the Senate Judiciary Committee is working on various patent-reform bills.

Addressing the imbalanced economics in our patent system will be one of the truest tests of reform. Once this happens American companies can get back to focusing on innovation and job creation.

 

If it Quacks like a Duck…

Note: This blog is cross-posted from Mike Dillon’s personal blog. 

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As I discussed recently, the modus operandi for patent trolls is to blanket an industry or market with threats of litigation (or actual lawsuits), while doing little research to determine if the cases have merit. Patent trolls know that some portion of companies will pay quickly to get rid of a case rather than go through the distraction and expense of fighting a lawsuit.  A couple of recent successful cases where Adobe did not settle, are illustrative of how patent trolls operate.

The first case involved a patent troll known as TQP.  TQP is headquartered in Texas and appears to have two employees. One is the inventor of U.S. Patent 5,412,730 (granted in 1995), which TQP claims to apply to certain encryption algorithms used by most current internet browsers. The other employee is an attorney.

Quick question – does anyone else think that something’s amiss when 50% of a company’s employees are attorneys?

Since 2008, TQP has filed patent lawsuits against more than 200 hundred companies ranging from financial institutions to airlines, mobile phone companies, insurance companies, drug stores, grocery stores, energy companies and tech companies asserting that these companies infringe Patent No. 5,412,730.

Given the number of companies that TQP has sued, it wasn’t a surprise to Adobe when we were also named as a defendant. What was surprising, however, was that the law firm representing TQP was Russ, August & Kabat.

Let me see, where have I heard that name before? Oh, yeah, now I remember. This is the same firm that has represented Adobe in a variety of patent related work since 2006. This work included reviewing Adobe’s technology and providing opinions that Adobe did not infringe various patents in cases brought by patent trolls.

In the legal world that’s what we refer to as a “conflict of interest.” A big one.

As a result, we asked the court to disqualify Russ, August & Kabat from representing TQP in the case against Adobe.  The court agreed and given that, among other factors, TQP did not want to bear the cost or complexity of hiring another firm to represent them, especially against someone willing to fight, they dismissed Adobe from the case.  The right outcome for Adobe, but not without cost. We spent $300,000 in legal fees to defend the case. We have since instituted a state court action against the law firm asking for the return of some of those fees.

It’s worth noting that the first time we learned that they weren’t our counsel anymore was when the law firm sued us on behalf of TQP. That’s not how law firms are supposed to behave. But as Glenn Frey would say, “the lure of easy money, it’s got a very strong appeal.”

In another case, a different strategy achieved a similar result for Adobe.

Ingeniador is a company with its principal place of business in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I can find nothing that indicates that Ingeniador actually makes any products.  Instead on its website it claims to be “a worldwide team of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs pioneering leading-edge research in mobile, e-commerce and healthcare technologies.  Ingeniador is proof positive of the globalization of innovation.”

Perhaps some of that is true, but if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…

In 2011, Ingeniador filed lawsuits in Puerto Rico against 16 companies  including Oracle, Microsoft and HP alleging that they infringed on U.S. Patent No. 6,990,629 through use of LDAP, a widely used industry standard protocol for maintaining and accessing directory information over the internet. These cases were all settled or dismissed.

In December, 2012, Ingeniador filed another round of lawsuits against nine companies, including GE Healthcare, Nuance Communications, McKesson Corp. and Adobe based on the same patent. These lawsuits were filed in Texas.  Within 6 months of filing all the defendants, except Adobe, had either settled or been dismissed from the lawsuit.

Adobe chose to keep fighting the case (rejecting several offers to settle) and filed a request to change venue so that a trial would take place in Northern California. We thought this made more sense. After all, if Ingeniador is headquartered in Puerto Rico and Adobe is headquartered in California, doesn’t it make more sense to have a trial in one of those two locations rather than Texas?

The Texas trial judge agreed with us and granted our request.  And, no surprise, within 2 months of the judge’s ruling, Ingeniador decided it had lost interest in pursuing Adobe and agreed to dismiss the case against us.

Again, a good result for Adobe, but this time one which cost the company $700,000 in legal fees.

Two Supreme Court decisions last week may help to reduce the asymmetry that creates an incentive for patent trolls to threaten or sue whomever they wish wherever they wish, regardless of the merit of the case. But, in the end Congressional action is what is needed.

Propel People and Business Forward

This blog was originally posted on LinkedIn. 

While attending Adobe’  Digital Marketing Summit this Spring I was fortunate to be able to listen to an interview between Robert Redford and Adobe’s CMO, Ann Lewnes.  I must admit that I was somewhat star struck and drawn in by his charisma.  However, I did not expect to be struck by his words of wisdom.    Since the event, I have reflected on a theme that was threaded throughout the conversation — being creative by taking advantage of opportunities and embracing risks.   Robert Redford was very succinct on his thoughts around risk by saying, “not taking a risk is a risk,” and he went on to explain how taking a risk is what propels you forward.

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This resonated with me and triggered my thoughts around how as a leader of the functions focused on attracting, developing, rewarding exceptional people – my team is at the center of  propelling Adobe’s people and business forward.     We have entered the next generation of HR – what we refer to as People Resources at Adobe   – which requires agility and constant adaptation to truly enable employees and the organization to reach the greatest potential.   With this continuous evolution comes risk.  We need to shift our mind set to ‘fail forward’ and ‘fail fast.’  In order to allow people to do their best work, we need to challenge the status quo and iterate quickly when it comes to the way we attract, develop, reward our people and build the environments that promote health and wellness.   I believe these changes to our function are reflective of the opportunities that lie ahead in the profession focused on people.  The threat is not recognizing that change is required.

I find I am constantly pushing myself and my team to think differently and to challenge what we have done in the past.  Each of the leaders across the team are now committed to work on or investigate at least one “1.0” project at any given time.  That is a project that is not fully vetted, may have some inherent risks, but is intended to help our people and the organization reach the greatest potential.   This approach gives us the license to be creative and push the boundaries of what we have in-place today.  Of course it’s not always easy, it’s not always comfortable, and it often requires some form of risk taking.  But we know it results in the best environment for people to be successful.     We have taken this 1.0 approach with a number of People Resources initiatives to date and continue to identify areas where we can quickly execute, iterate, and learn from our mistakes.

Scaling with Technology

Adobe is a global company and we continue to expand through organic growth and acquisitions.  Our 4 hour new employee orientation program across multiple global offices was not scaling with our growth or setting our employees up for success.   We decided to take advantage of innovations in technology and launch a virtual New Employee Success (NES) program.   Through Adobe Connect, we are able to engage consistently and in real-time with employees around the globe through an interactive 90 minute webcast with the ability to show videos, slides, web links, and foster discussion among participants.  Given the scale of this program, we knew there would be some technical glitches in the early days as we introduced the program for the first time.  But we kept pushing forward, fixed the problems, and looked for ways to improve the virtual orientation.  Since Jan. 2014 approximately 250 new employees in North America have participated in our NES program and have found it to be a valuable experience as they launch their careers at Adobe.  We plan to roll-out the program to EMEA and JPAC later this year and will build upon our 1.0 implementation.

New Approach to Performance Management

In 2012 we made the bold decision to abolish the traditional performance review and introduced what we call Check-in at Adobe.  We knew that this was the right decision for our people, and would save approximately 80,000 hours of our managers’ time, but implementing this new approach was a learning process.  What started out as a 1.0 initiative in 2012 has evolved today into a performance management approach that is embraced across the company globally and has piqued interest from other industry leaders.  One of the greatest learnings from this experience is to accept the unknown when making a decision that is right for your people and your business.  Learning-as-you-go is powerful and in fact you can become more agile and receptive to new ideas when a program is not thoroughly planned out.

Centralized Employee Resources

To help enable Check-in, we decided to establish a centralized resource function for employees called the Employee Resource Center (ERC).  The ERC has been established for fielding questions across a range of areas including performance management, career coaching, building managerial capabilities, wellness, and more.  We initially introduced the ERC in North America in 2013 and are poised to launch the function in EMEA and JPAC this year.   We are certain that the ERC will look different in each market and that demonstrates success.  It shows that we are learning from our experiences, iterating, and improving upon our 1.0 implementation.

Since the Digital Marketing Summit, I continue to reflect upon risk-taking and enabling the success of the company.  I certainly had not anticipated that Robert Redford would influence the way I think about People and Places at Adobe!  It reinforced that being open to creativity and new perspectives can happen at any time, you just need to be open to thinking differently; be open to change and taking risks.   As a team at Adobe we are continuing to determine how we can make an impact and propel our people and business forward and ultimately this will continue to re-shape the People and Places function.

What are your experiences in taking risks to help propel your people and business forward?

 

 

A marketer’s guide to more effective personalization

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Image via VentureBeat post

What do rogue animals crossing a chaotic highway and rapid-fire mouse clicks have in common? More than you may think.

When I was visiting India a couple of years ago, I made sure to keep my wits about me whenever I crossed a street since pedestrians, bicyclists, all kinds of vehicles, and, of course, livestock all share the road. Few traffic laws exist, and even fewer are obeyed. No one on the road is paying attention to anyone other than themselves, much less the color of the nearest traffic signal. It’s chaotic and, yes, a little frightening.

But digital marketers go through something similar every day on the job. The digital signals from our online visitors fly at us from all directions as we do our best to decipher who each visitor is and what they are looking for. We’ve got to keep our eyes wide open and react quickly, lest we become the next roadkill: an irrelevant brand.

*Note: This is an excerpt from a guest post on VentureBeat. Read the rest of the post here.

Adobe Launches Year in Review App

Today, we released a new 2013 Adobe Year in Review app that provides an interactive recap of Adobe’s highlights last year.  As CFO, most of the documents I oversee aren’t all that exciting – 10-K’s and 10-Q’s are important, but they aren’t bedtime reading. With this app, produced using Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS), I’m finally able to tap some of the cool technology we provide to our customers to tell our own business story.

Adobe Year in Review App

The Year in Review app highlights our performance in 2013 and our vision around Creative Cloud and Adobe Marketing Cloud— including the new connections we’re making between our content creation technologies and our digital marketing solutions.

The app includes video and interactivity to bring the numbers and data to life—along with providing information about Adobe’s strategy, exciting customer case studies and our efforts with corporate social responsibility programs.

Because this is a mobile app, we’re also able to engage our stakeholders wherever they are, including customers, employees, partners, investors and analysts. Additionally, because the app is integrated with Adobe Analytics, part of Adobe Marketing Cloud, we’ll be able to see how the content and interactivity is resonating with our stakeholders.

Download the Adobe 2013 Year in Review app from the iTunes App Store.

Marketing Reinvented

We’ve all heard it:  The future of marketing is digital. Get on board or get left behind. So what’s holding marketers back?

Adobe just completed a survey of more than 1,000 US marketers to explore how they’re evolving in the digital age, where they need help and what their priorities are going forward. We’re releasing the results today at our Digital Marketing Summit in a new report called Digital Roadblock: Marketers Struggle to Reinvent Themselves.

The change marketers are facing today is pretty incredible:  64% expect their role to change in the next year; 81% in the next three years.  But can marketers really afford to wait that long? I don’t think they can.

If we’re truly operating in the “Age of The Customer” as Forrester’s David Cooperstein calls it then we need to market to the customer in the places they’re increasingly headed, and in the ways they’ve come to expect.  That means personalization and seamless experiences across mobile devices and social networks.  And, of course, all of this means embracing and better taking advantage of data.

The good news is marketers recognize this.  Our survey goes on to say that 76% of marketers agree they need to be more data-focused to succeed. Digital/social marketers (47%), data analysts (38%), creatives (38%) and mobile marketers (36%) are listed as the key roles companies need to invest in over the next 12 months.  Yet while over half agree that marketers should take more risks, 65% say they’re more comfortable adopting new technologies once they become mainstream

“The time is now to take the leap to digital,” says Cooperstein. I couldn’t agree more.

Marketers need to move fast. We need to have courage and take smart risks. And we can’t wait for someone else to shape our path, we need to do it ourselves. Let’s reinvent marketing.

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Adobe

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