Today, Abhay Parasnis has joined Adobe as chief technology officer and senior vice president of Platform Technology and Services, as we embark on the next phase of the company’s growth and introduce new cloud offerings. Abhay will drive Adobe’s technology strategy, architecture and innovation roadmap for our cloud services, focusing on service integration, providing a consistent customer experience, and enabling our cloud-based go-to-market strategies.
Abhay brings a breadth of experience leading major cloud and platform initiatives at Oracle, Microsoft, i2 and IBM to Adobe’s leadership team.
Ahead of his first day on the job, we caught up with Abhay to get his thoughts on his new role, his perspective on the future of enterprise tech and background on his experiences.
Why have you decided to join Adobe?
I have interests in Adobe from personal and professional perspectives. As a hobbyist photographer, I’ve had a personal connection to Adobe for some time. I’m passionate about landscape photography and can’t live without Photoshop CC. Most recently, I’ve become a hardcore Lightroom CC user.
On the professional side, I have great respect for Adobe’s successful transition to cloud-based services. Having led similar efforts at Oracle and Microsoft, I know first-hand how challenging that shift is for business, technology and the company culture. I’m energized by the opportunity to continue the journey and help take Adobe into its next phase of growth.
What do you consider the biggest opportunities for enterprises over the next three to five years?
There is a huge market transition underway within the enterprise sector that started on the consumer side with companies like Apple and Amazon. Over the last decade, our personal lives have gone through a digital transformation with ecommerce, online music, mobile devices, e-books, and so much more.
Now, there is an unprecedented opportunity for enterprises to go through a similar transformation – reimagining the business experience and what work looks like day-to-day. I believe people’s professional lives will transform over the next 10 years and Adobe is in a leadership position to drive transformative experiences through its unique, three-cloud strategy. I’m thrilled to be a part of this market transition and help Adobe build breakthrough cloud platforms to transform the enterprise experience.
Tell us a little about your background. Why did you decide to study electronics, telecommunications and computer science?
I grew up in in a city in the western part of India called Pune. It’s a vibrant education hub – much like Cambridge, Mass. – with a strong tech and software presence. This environment certainly played a role in my interest in technology.
At an early age I was a tinkerer — fascinated with making things work with gadgets, hardware, and software. My first PC, the Sinclair ZX81, opened my mind to the possibilities of creative programming and software tools. I spent countless hours (my parents weren’t too thrilled) on my Sinclair creating code and seeing how far I could go with programming to make what I imagined a reality.
This passion led to my interests in studying technology at the undergrad and graduate levels.
Can you share a milestone moment from early in your career?
I started out my career at IBM in India as a software researcher working within the networking software division. I had a lucky break when I was among a few engineers assigned to work on a Java project just as the Java platform was starting to take hold. The exposure I gained from working on internet-based software, at its inception, was invaluable. It showed me how working with bleeding-edge technology can accelerate growth. It’s an experience I have drawn upon in my leadership roles at large enterprise companies as well as in my advisory roles at early-stage start-ups.
You are a named inventor on 20+ patents. Can you tell us more about your work with patents?
Patents certainly play an important role in advancing technology and driving innovation. But I get most excited when patents are used effectively to build software that gets into the hands of users.
The patent experience I think is most relevant to my role at Adobe is my work pioneering one of the earliest internet-based file and folder synching software solutions with leaders at Microsoft. We broke ground on how to provide secure, internet-based collaboration, which has gained great momentum within enterprise workflows today. I look forward to working with the Adobe Document Cloud team and providing the architecture and platforms to continue to scale the business.
Lastly, what are your interests outside of work?
My 10-year-old son has pulled me into the world of Minecraft. While I accept the fact that I’ve become addicted (like countless others), I’m also thankful for the time I have with my son creating worlds together and fighting for resources.
Having spent 10+ years in Seattle, I have become an avid Seahawks football fan. But my Bay Area peers will be relieved to know that I am also a loyal fan of the Warriors basketball team. Yes, I like to pick winners.