Adobe’s India and APAC teams pulled off a resounding success at the second annual Adobe Symposium at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai on May 3-4, with more than 1400 attendees from the best brands coming together under one roof. It was a strong validation of the event, positioning it as the country’s premier digital conference.
Throughout the two days, the technological innovations unveiled generated a great buzz among participants, and there was a deep sense of appreciation for the breadth and quality of speakers and digital strategy discussions.
Adobe’s managing director for India and South Asia, Kulmeet Bawa, kicked off the event, welcoming participants and listing the factors underpinning India’s role as the growth engine of the global economy. Adobe’s president and chief executive, Shantanu Narayan, then took the stage to discuss the strategy for Adobe’s amazing transformation over the past decade. The message was clear: to be successful and gain a competitive edge, make experience your business.
Many of our customers and partners delighted audiences with stories of digital transformation in their organisations. Mobile network operator Idea Cellular’s chief executive, Himanshu Kapania, revealed how the telecommunications sector in India is gearing up to spend USD 100 billion over the next three years – the same amount spent by this industry in the past two decades. This huge investment will change the way India operates.
To engage, acquire and retain customers, Idea Cellular has created 4000 audience segments. Himanshu gave the audience a sneak peek at IRIS (increasing revenue through intelligent segmentation), a program the company has devised to stay ahead of the curve and win market share. He also explained how Adobe Experience Cloud ins enabling Idea Cellular to provide a great customer experience across all digital channels.
Suiting fabrics producer Raymond’s chief executive, Sanjay Behl, enthralled the audience with his vision of the digital’s expanding scope. Raymond, an iconic company widely considered to manufacture the best fabric in the world for men’s suits, is in the middle of a digital transformation, with Behl leading the charge.
The company quickly realised that any of its stores across all four brands (Raymond, Parx, Park Avenue and Color Plus) can only carry about 2% to 3% of all designs, so the company is adopting digital technologies to provide not just information but also to create a sophisticated in-store customer experience. Behl shared digital innovations such as taking a customer’s exact measurements from a photo and a new kind of GPS (“garment positioning system”).
Adobe’s vice-president of strategy, Suresh Vittal, unveiled the new Adobe Experience Cloud, comprising Analytics Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Advertising Cloud. He showcased Adobe Sensei, the next-generation artificial intelligence system powering these solutions through machine learning and neural networks, along with a rich set of predictive capabilities.
Adobe’s president for APAC, Paul Robson, along with Microsoft’s President for India, Anant Maheshwari, announced Adobe’s strategic partnership with Microsoft. They discussed the go-to-market strategy leveraging the power of Adobe Experience Cloud along with Microsoft Azure, Power BI and Dynamics 365 solutions to cater to requirements across the entire customer journey.
In conversation with Adobe’s Suresh Vittal, online retail giant Flipkart’s vice-president and head of analytics, Ravi Vijayaraghavan, discussed how his company is using Analytics Cloud to understand behaviour across both customer and seller channels. To bridge the gap between the customer and seller through analytics, the seller’s listing quality score is used to enable product discoverability and to make search easier and more effective. To enhance the user experience, customer feedback is constantly gathered across platforms and fed to Analytics Cloud for analysis.
It was then my turn to announce the exciting innovations of virtual analyst, asset insights and intelligent alerts within Analytics Cloud, powered by Adobe Sensei.
This was followed by a dazzling technology showcase: demonstrations of analytics, marketing and advertising clouds and their integrations with creative and document clouds, as well as with Microsofts solutions. Thanks to Flipkart, Intel, Asian Paints, ITC Hotels and Kotak Bank for allowing us to use their brand assets for these demonstrations.
After lunch, participants divided into engaging breakout tracks focused on specific sectors such as banking, financial services and insurance; media and entertainment; and retail. Then there was the technology track: programmatic advertising; content velocity; and omni-channel marketing. Several speakers shared their experience of using Adobe Experience Cloud to solve key challenges in the customer journey. Whether it was the use of CIBIL (credit) scores to personalise the user experience or unearthing new competitors, it was great to hear how customers are deploying Adobe solutions to spearhead digital transformation in their organisations.
Adobe’s consulting teams, in partnership with leading Indian retail chain Shoppers Stop, created the Retail Experience Zone. Participants were invited to interact with the latest technologies, powered by Adobe Sensei, while shopping within the store. Some of the technologies on show included augmented reality to power more product information to the shopper; voice assistants for search and discovery of relevant products; and Internet of Things technology to serve up product recommendations. Many participants were spellbound by the accuracy of AI’s predictions and suggestions.
The evening’s locknote speaker was Indian badminton champion and former world number one, Saina Nehwal. She discussed the increasing use of digital technologies in sport for better performance and the growing need for connecting with fans across digital channels.
Comedian and Bollywood actor Vir Das then took the stage and invited Adobe’s engineering talents to showcase their product innovations. The audience was simultaneously amazed by Adobe’s technological prowess and in stitches over Das’s one-liners. The integration of Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa with Adobe Experience Cloud, showcased by principal solution consultant Mark Szulc, won the competition.
This brought the two-day event to a close with thundering applause from the audience as the Adobe team gathered on stage for one last group photograph. Dinner and drinks followed, then an after party, not to mention the Adobe after-after party.
As I return to my home in Gurgaon, southwest of New Delhi, I am convinced of Adobe’s capacity to achieve its mission: changing the world through digital experiences.