Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to watch our CFO Mark Garrett sit down and interview EMC’s president and COO David Goulden at a Churchill Club event held at the Four Seasons Palo Alto. It was a lively conversation given the duo’s history – Mark and Goulden go back 11 years to when EMC first acquired the company Documentum where Mark was CFO. More than a decade later, the two came together to exchange their thoughts on the Big Data landscape, with their conversation covering everything from the art of successful M&A to the “third platform” as EMC’s strategic focus. According to Goulden, quoting analyst firm IDC, the first platform was mainframes, second was client/server, third is cloud/mobile/social. Platforms aside, there was a lot of discussion about EMC’s federated model, where some acquisitions run as separate companies including standalone sales forces, while other acquisitions are integrated. Mark kept the interview dynamic and drew quite a few laughs. If he ever decides to leave the CFO world, we think he has a future in creating a business talk show and giving Charlie Rose a run for his money! If you missed the event, you can watch the full conversation between Mark and Goulden below.
Results tagged “big data”
That is a big question, of course. We covered a lot of ground, from what is happening now to where it needs to head next.
As Adobe has made our push into Digital Marketing over the past few years, we’ve had an incredible front-row seat to the Big Data phenomenon. A few things stand out as I look at this landscape:
- Big Data has to be actionable. A lot of companies are drowning in data and frozen with “analysis paralysis.” As an industry, we have to be smarter to harness Big Data rather than assume that processing huge volumes of information by itself is the answer.
- Creativity and data fuel one another to build great digital experiences. There is not a single website, ad campaign or app that is great just because of data. But marketers can’t just rely on creativity either. They need to prove the ROI of their investments, and adjust to the signals their customers are sending.
- Personalization is the next big hill to climb. Understanding your customers and giving them what they need (relevant information) in the way they want it (which is different depending on their device, location, etc.) is going to be essential. The smart companies (like ESPN) are already doing this.
- Predictive capabilities are also an exciting new area of innovation. It isn’t enough to know what happened in the past, you need to predict what will happen next and adjust your business to take advantage of it. This is already happening in areas like advertising media planning, but the possibilities to apply this to all of marketing are immense.
In working with forward-thinking customers like ESPN, we’re helping to harness Big Data and make an impact with it. That may be changing a homepage on the fly, based on the content consumers most want to see. Or customizing video based on the device they’re using – short clips on smartphones, longer-form content on tablets and PCs. This is creativity + data in action, the heart of Adobe’s value proposition.
This was my first visit to this Fortune event, and it was packed full of engaging conversations. I left Aspen energized about the great opportunities ahead for Adobe and our customers.
Marketing, at times, can be a blunt object. It can be in your face, intrusive and repetitive. But as more marketing has gone digital, marketers have access to data and insights that allow us to understand our customers better. This brings an opportunity to learn more about our audience and deliver more personalized customer experiences that are better tailored and better timed.
Last week, I had the opportunity to discuss the challenges and opportunities for customer insights and analytics with fellow CMOs John Boris of Shutterfly, and Heidi Melin of Plex Systems, at a Churchill Club talk here in Silicon Valley. A few key takeaways:
- People want personalized experiences – Consumers want to receive information that is relevant to them and they value personalized experiences.
- Collaboration is key – It is now more important than ever for organizations to work cross-functionally. We formed a Marketing Insights and Operations group to be a “single source of truth” for customer data and marketing performance here at Adobe. This group consists of Adobe employees from sales, customer support, global marketing and product marketing, and meets to align all marketing data collected across the company.
- The right data, not just ‘big data’, is a huge opportunity – We use data at every single point in our marketing campaigns to understand campaign effectiveness, mix modeling, media and website optimization, and overall impact and ROI. Developments to customer insights are evolving, and they aren’t slowing down anytime soon. That means big opportunities for innovation. It’s important to know what you’re looking for before you start collecting data to make sure that data is actionable. I like what Fatemeh Khatibloo of Forrester Research, the moderator of our talk, said – “It’s not about big data, it’s about the right data.”
The impact on brands is huge when marketing is personalized for the consumer and online experiences are rewarding, and I believe it makes all the difference. A replay of last week’s talk is below – or you can view it here. Take a look and let us know what you think.
Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen is in Davos, Switzerland this week, chairing the Media, Entertainment and Information Governors Meeting at the World Economic Forum. This blog is cross-posted from the Forum Blog.
We are living in a world of “big data”; every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data that flows to and from smartphones, PCs, tablets, TVs and innumerable other connected devices. As chair of the Media, Entertainment and Information (MEI) Governors Meeting in Davos this year, I’ve been reflecting on what this may mean for our society in the future.
We know more, we do more, we’re more connected. We have real-time access to content and information we never could have imagined. And yet, I’m concerned that lost in this rising tide of data is the essence of what makes us human: Creativity. It goes far beyond the traditional world of art and music. Creativity is the essence of invention and inspiration, and it is what fuels our economy.
Indeed, global research we conducted in 2012 showed that 8 in 10 people feel that unlocking creativity is critical to economic growth and nearly two-thirds of respondents feel creativity is valuable to society. But only 1 in 4 people – a strikingly low percentage – believe they are living up to their own creative potential. Respondents revealed that productivity, not creativity, is what employers currently demand.
How did productivity trump creativity? Macroeconomic conditions have certainly created pressure on companies to produce results. But has more emphasis on technical skills, operational improvements and hard numbers devalued creativity in the workplace? Or does it start much earlier, in our schools, where the race to improve science, technology and math (STEM) abilities in students has overtaken time once spent on “softer” subjects? Are we stifling our children’s imagination?
In a follow-up study we conducted in the United States, nearly three-quarters of respondents said creative thinking should be “taught as a course – like math or science.” We as business leaders should advocate for this type of thinking both in our schools and our companies as we grow our next generation of employees.
Companies like ours who are in the business of content must also take responsibility for encouraging creativity. All of us in the MEI community need to encourage creativity among our young people and in our enterprises large and small. Whether it’s investing in small businesses with big ideas, entrepreneur in residence programs or educational scholarships like the Adobe Youth Voices Creativity Scholarship, we must keep creativity front and center.
We live in an extraordinary time where a treasure trove of content—data, photographs, books, music, video—can be made by and shared with the world. Today, everyone can be a creator. Everyone can share their creations and gauge the impact of that creativity whether it’s financial, cultural or societal. What a gift to us all.