UX Community Day – Recap

Ben Watson posted on his blog a recap of last weeks Partner Community Day on User Experience.

Last week I had the pleasure of hosting Adobe’s first UX Community Day targeted at our enterprise partners in NYC. The day proved to be a hit with the attendees, and even though I felt like we pushed the boundaries of traditional enterprise comfort zones around UX, we still inspired several great discussions and QA periods, and the hallway/side conversations were both inspired and engaging.
We are turning a page with our enterprise business, and that page turn is metaphorical in that our traditional document-centric approach to enterprise solutions is turning into better experiences, more engaging applications and a specific focus on building from the outside in, from the user goals and desires back into the systems we sit on top of and integrate to.

One could, and many do, argue that forms themselves are a customer-facing experience, and that maintaining the fidelity of the form and document is an instrumental part of making great experiences. This is true, but being able to position documents and forms in a broader context that embraces all the elements of a user’s path through onboarding, configuration, service requests and ultimately being able to interact with their communications is fundamental to how and why this is changing in the enterprise. We too cannot solve the problems we solve in silos any longer, its not enough to integrate – we need to motivate, inspire and captivate. This is the journey we, and our enterprise customers are on.

I found many of the presentations, and the panel I hosted, to be very inspiring and I think what I love most about our partners at Adobe is their frank honesty, deep experience and ability to work with us on this journey. My intent is to specifically dig more into the topics that were discussed, such as how social media is changing the enterprise, how UX unlocks the ROI in our systems today, how we can rethink our organizations, skillset and approach in order to maximize our work in this area and more – but for now you can take a look at the sessions yourself and see if you agree that this page has been turned and there is no turning it back.

Congratulations to the Showcase Winners!

We are excited to announce the winners of the third Solution Showcase, held in New York on Aug 25. Once again we were overwhelmed when we received 13 entries for this showcase event. There were some wonderful and stunning entries! Congratulations to the winners:

  • SQLI – RIA CRM Flex add on for SAP CRM
  • SQLI – Tactile HR Application for Retail Stores
  • Pico – ACCS – Advanced Communication Chatting System
  • ALTI – Set on Demand
  • Cognasent/ScanDoc – Mobius – Electronic Medical Record

These lucky winners of the showcase in New York will join the 16 winners of the previous events in San Jose, Washington and Amsterdam.

Partner LiveCycle Solution Showcase in New York

Six months ago we embarked on a global series of Solution Showcase events where Adobe Partners joined us to present their LiveCycle based solution to a panel of judges. We’ve had some real fun with some amazing, remarkable and well designed solutions and frankly, some ugly ducklings but serve-the-purpose solutions. Adobe delivers the message of user-centric design and customer experience management (CEM) so next week in New York the partner community day is dedicated to User eXperience.

At our Showcase event next week in New York we are looking forward to 13 solution presentations from our global partners:

Pro Technology – LiveCycle IBM Connect Pack
Pro Technology / StreamServe – Output Device Mgmt.
Cardinal Solutions – Optimizer
ALTI – Set on Demand
I-Cubed – IP MultiSearch
SQLI – Tactile HR Application for Retail Stores
SQLI – RIA CRM Flex add-on for SAP CRM
Cognizant –  Enhanced LiveCycle RCA Building Blocks
Pico – ACCS – Advanced Communication Chatting System
SINEQUA – 360 Search from a Business Point of View
4Point – Letter Generation Solution
SmartDoc – Technologies Insurance Automation with LC ES
Web Site srl – webTraining 4.0

The lucky winners of the showcase in New York will join the 16 winners of the previous events in San Jose, Washington and Amsterdam:

To get an idea of what the showcase events are like, here is a video of the recent Amsterdam venue:

Come and Find Me!

More than ever, I recognize the truth of Mark Twain’s famous quote, “when I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.” You see, my son has reached the apathetic age of 14.  According to him, I am neither funny nor terribly smart.  Thankfully (again – according to my son) I provide an ample supply of food and access to a vast array of technology.

My son and his generation of ‘assumed network access’ are engaging and interacting in a very different way.  While my wife and I still hurry to get our chores down by 9pm on Wednesday night, so we are ready to watch our favorite show, Modern Family, my son casually hits the DVR or slides out his multi-function, touch screen, always connected, “thing-a-ma-bob” and watches what he wants, when he wants, where he wants.

I, too, find myself slipping into this world.  What with my laptop, BlackBerry and iPad, I am now motoring around the web, consuming content whenever and where ever I please.  I ease my blackberry out of its holster with such ease and skill that even Wyatt Earp would be proud.  But all of this trekking and traversing across the web has to make it hard for a marketer to target me, to find me, to inspire me to take action.  I am not sitting in the living room during ‘prime time’, watching ‘must see TV’ anymore.  I’m on the go.

Chief Marketing Officers clearly have a tough job.  An ever increasing number of their customers are thriving, existing and lurking in the web.  So, CMO’s need to find their customers – live where they live – and insert their message in a compelling and emotive manner.  As media budgets continue to rotate to the web, today’s marketer must create, deliver and optimize campaigns that deliver results, increase revenue, enhance customer satisfaction and improve brand awareness – and that enthrall the customer.  The customer experience is the heart; the life pulse of this movement.  When I look at Adobe’s end-to-end assets, we are incredibly well positioned with our technology and our partnerships to help the CMO find me and pull me in.  And if you desire to learn more about Adobe’s role in shaping customer interactions and conversations, then please join us in New York on August 24th and 25th.  We have a rockin’ event planned and would love to see you there:  http://engagewithadobe.com/welcome.html

From Inside-Out to Outside-In

It’s a panicked sense to terror that courses through me. That’s right. And sure, it may seem like an innocuous and mundane task, but I can sense it lurking in the shadows just waiting to spring into attack: purchase order approvals! You see, I have nothing against spending money, particularly when it’s not mine. But I can’t stand the byzantine maze that I must traverse to approve a PO. OK, so I am over exaggerating a bit. But come on, enterprise applications just have to change. Or, perhaps, should we update Ben Franklin’s famous quote: “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and horrific user experiences from legacy enterprise applications.”

The user revolt is on!

Last week, some of the senior leadership at Capgemini paid us a visit in San Jose. It is just terrific to witness the traction of user centric computing. Capgemini’s CTO, Andy Mulholland, is a big proponent of the YOU network. And true to form, the team from Capgemini were heralding the era of outside-in development. Their legacy approach of defining data models and construction of applications from the database out to the user is increasingly coming under fire from customers. It is not uncommon for this approach to lead to misaligned user expectations. Capgemini cited some examples where they built applications from the inside-out and in the end the application missed the mark on customer usability. So, they have moved to rapid prototyping of applications starting with the user experience, ensuring that they capture how the user truly interacts with the application. Once complete, they then wire the experience back into the customer’s IT infrastructure. And that’s how your move from inside-out development to outside-in.

For me, I know that the customer driven enterprise has arrived when a company the size, breadth and depth of Capgemini adopts the outside-in model. The YOU network is here. And the ‘YOU’ is us. We are driving change. We have accelerated our technical proficiency through our adoption of the dearth of smart, connected devices that are infiltrating our lives.  We now wield the power and we are no longer tolerant of applications dictating how we use them.

Give me the URL. Let me hit the application. Don’t you dare burden me with 6 weeks of training! Let the intuitive, alluring interface of the application walk me through a natural process of completing a task.

Ed Van Siclen
Vice President, Technology & Partner Solutions

It’s a Beautiful DAY!

Did you hear the news today? If you didn’t, then take a read about what’s happening here at Adobe…

This weekend I found myself toiling away, fumbling with expanding my home wifi network. As I was extending my WDS architected network (closet case geek), I noticed that I had 13 devices connected to my little router – 13! I swear that I only have 3 PC’s in the house. But then I remembered the Xbox, the Samsung DVD player, the Seagate NAS drive, the HP printer, the AppleTV and the list went on and on. So, I made two startling revelations: 1) I run the IT department in my house and 2) Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.

We ARE connected. Our lives are swelling online, weaving and twining through the fabric of the Internet – we are constantly connected. The shift has happened. And it seems like only yesterday that we impatiently waited for the mesmerizing whir, buzz, garbled beep and connection to the Internet via our US Robotics modem. And now look how far we have come! In a recently published report, it is projected that half of the US population will have a smart phone by the end of the next year.

So, how does this relate to Adobe, you ask? Well, I often find that stringing together separate threads serves to provide focus on a topic and ultimately reveal the answer. So, allow me to continue. During a recent meeting with my friends at Deloitte, one of their top strategists made the complex obvious. He stated that in a constantly connected world companies must establish a customer ‘conversation’. It is no longer good enough for a company to merely be a destination or an online store. In order to ‘thrive’ companies must engage with customers where they are, when they want and how they want.

For me, it has been fascinating to watch Starbucks leverage social media and other online properties to reconnect with their customers – where they exist online — to engage and sustain a conversation with them. I sat on panel a couple of weeks back with Chris Bruzzo, Starbucks’ VP of Brand, Content and Online. Chris has done a masterful job engaging his customers in conversation and community action/goodwill. And the benefit to the brand has been astonishing. Just take a look at Starbuck’s Ideas portal and their V2V initiative. It is very inspirational, engaging and brand reinforcing.

This tectonic shift is electrifying. And, as I mentioned in a previous blog, Adobe is at the center of this movement. We have many of the core pieces to help our customers not just exist but to thrive in this world – from artistic creation to enterprise class RIA tools to analytics to BPM and so much more. And today, we have added another pivotal piece to our customer experience management stack: Web Content Management (WCM). Yep, we acquired Day Software today. WCM provides the ‘voice’ for our customer experience management strategy and customer conversations. Adobe now possess the most complete set of integrated solutions that deliver compelling web experiences from initial design to ongoing communications and interactions with customers, delivering on our stated vision of the web as the hub of the customer interaction. So, look outside, or better yet look online – It’s a beautiful DAY!

To learn more about this acquisition, please visit the following blog post from Rob Tarkoff:

Case Study Iberia Maintenance – with Atos Origin

Watch this video for a case study of how Ibera uses electronic work cards built around Adobe LiveCycle to track work done during aircraft maintenance. Atos Origin build the system called Alexandria that allows Iberia to keep its server infrastructure, database, ERP, and existing document management systems the same while only replacing its previous application with the more efficient Adobe LiveCycle solution to issue work cards electronically.
You can also read the case study here.

LiveCycle Partner Solution Showcase

On 25 August we are hosting the 4th in a series of Adobe LiveCycle Partner Solution Showcase events. These events are a unique opportunity to get recognition for the LiveCycle based solutions that you bring to market. Winners of the showcase events enjoy increased visibility, marketing promotions and joint collateral.

To get an idea what these events are like you can play the video of the Amsterdam showcase below. To submit your solution go here.

Partner LiveCycle Showcase Solutions

Our global series of Partner LiveCycle Solution Showcases offers us a unique platform to discover leading-edge solutions solving distinct business issues, whilst offering a fantastic customer experience.

To share these with the wider community, we have produced joint Solution Briefs with the winning partners of each Solution Showcase.

Here are the first few for you to check out:

This tsunami is gaining speed

While on my annual version of the Griswald family vacation this week in beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea (admittedly no Wally World adventure), I took some good natured teasing from family and friends over the most recent Fourth of July holiday. Evidently, I run with a crowd that doesn’t post Blogs, Tweet, IM or live on Facebook. So, I had to explain the rationale behind Blogs and why I was Blogging. It was one of those explanations that elicited bewildered stares, half hearted interest and a yawn (or two). But trust me, I delivered an impassioned argument.

So I must apologize to my clearly enlightened and tech-savvy reader when I state the obvious: the power and relevance of social media has never been greater. Those of us who ‘live’ in the world of technology cannot escape this reality, and this new reality presents even greater risks and challenges to corporations. Think about it. Today, I don’t just tell a few friends about a bad experience – I tweet, blog, Yelp, and post a note on my facebook page — from my PC, mobile phone or tablet – from my office, home or local Starbuck’s hotspot – all of which can touch thousands of people…in real time. Gone are the days where I only complain to a few close friends about a poor customer service experience. Social media has ushered in a new reality that puts at risk a company’s image, brand, customer loyalty and ultimately their revenue. These colliding dynamics are forcing companies to rethink how they provide an immersive, differentiated and compelling customer experience on-line. And Adobe is in the center of that discussion.

Recently, I visited a large telecommunications company in the Asia Pacific region. I met with the Director of Creativity and Innovation. This person’s charter is to “electrify” (his words) the experience between the company and their customers. For me, the most intriguing aspect of this position was the fact that he was hired by the CEO. Make no doubt about it. Customer experience is a C-level priority. All of this is quite simple and really makes perfect sense when you think about it. Just look at our personal lives: if an application or web experience falls short and doesn’t deliver to our expectations, then we shout NEXT! But if an application enraptures and delights us, then we keep coming back. Corporations are beginning to acknowledge that customers are defining their loyalties and brand preferences based upon the experiences that they receive on-line. In order to survive in this new reality, corporations must accelerate their move from black and white, data centric experiences to high definition applications that customers love to use. Now, this director of “creativity and innovation” literally came out of his shoes when we demonstrated how other companies are leveraging Adobe technology to change the game.

As for further evidence of this movement, I just listen to my family and friend bad mouth a given web experience, vowing never to return again…or when I greet the UPS man at the front door as he delivers yet another shipment from Zappos.com. Now if only my family and friends would truly embrace this galactic Inter-Web thing (the Internet) and start yelping/blogging/tweeting there would be a lot of companies feeling the sting of delivering a woeful customer experience. And this tsunami is gaining speed.