Here at Adobe, we’re gear­ing up for our annual Adobe Sum­mit. Many of our past atten­dees may be won­der­ing what’s going to be new at Sum­mit this year. One of the things I’m most excited about shar­ing is how we’re look­ing at the future for Adobe Ana­lyt­ics.

The dig­i­tal mar­ket­place has changed dra­mat­i­cally in the past sev­eral years, and that rate of change isn’t going to stop any time soon. Mar­keters need increas­ing agility and speed in terms of their under­stand­ing of cus­tomer inter­ac­tions in order to make their cus­tomers’ expe­ri­ences with their brand awesome.

Not that long ago the term Big Data wasn’t overused (ah, the old days) and a page views as a met­ric was pretty mean­ing­ful on its own.  There were folks in the depths of the IT depart­ment who held the keys to the king­dom as it related to data and, for what­ever rea­son, just couldn’t seem to get it into the hands of the peo­ple who actu­ally inter­acted with cus­tomers. SaaS was bur­geon­ing (some would say it still is), and tools were start­ing to become avail­able to the folks who needed them most: the peo­ple inter­act­ing directly with the customer.

Fast for­ward a few years. The 50+ Web ana­lyt­ics ven­dors are now three or four. There are plenty of chal­lenges still, but the most impor­tant change is that there’s much less stop­ping the mar­ket­ing orga­ni­za­tion from get­ting the insights they need. The over­all dig­i­tal model is start­ing to expand into new types of analy­sis. Touch points aren’t just what we think of as dig­i­tal; we’re incor­po­rat­ing call cen­ter, CRM, and point of sale data. The next wave of mar­keters who are ben­e­fit­ting from this dra­matic increase in the under­stand­ing of their cus­tomer is start­ing to see the ROI of doing so as well as much higher cus­tomer reten­tion rates, opti­mized dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences to divert traf­fic from expen­sive call cen­ter inter­ac­tions, hyper-relevant offers made to cus­tomers based on their buy­ing habits, both online and offline. We’re only see­ing the begin­ning of this trend.

Another thing we’re see­ing is that dig­i­tal ana­lysts are get­ting way smarter. They’ve got­ten their arms well around the dig­i­tal aspect of their worlds, and they’re start­ing to apply much more pro­cess­ing power to their data. Over the last 18 months, we’ve seen cus­tomers who in the past would have required help from a PhD to apply sta­tis­ti­cal mod­els to their data start­ing to do it on their own. We’re start­ing to see new ana­lysts get­ting value out of sta­tis­ti­cal tools in their first few min­utes with the tool. Our machine learn­ing tools in Adobe Ana­lyt­ics became the sec­ond most used fea­tures last year. That’s the fastest adop­tion of a new fea­ture we’ve ever seen, by a wide mar­gin. Need­less to say, we’re invest­ing heav­ily to expand that capa­bil­ity set, build­ing out tools for the quant and for the non-quant in ana­lyt­ics, with the aim of enabling a dig­i­tal ana­lyst to make the leap to pro­vid­ing true data sci­ence out­puts for the business.

The future of ana­lyt­ics is mov­ing toward a model that is easy for the aver­age analyst—and company—to use. The goal is for you to get usable, real-time, easy-to-understand insights from your valu­able cus­tomer data and to expose it through­out the enter­prise in order to make the whole place smarter.

We’ll be address­ing this in detail at the “Future of Ana­lyt­ics” break­out at the Adobe Mar­ket­ing Sum­mit next week in Salt Lake City and in Lon­don later this spring. Join us to learn more and take part in the con­ver­sa­tion around the future of analytics.