Since 2011, much has changed in the way the web — and, in a broader sense, digital experiences — has shaped not only how businesses compete, but also our expectations as individuals. I’m honored to share that Adobe has been recognized as a leader in The Forrester Wave™: Web Content Management Systems, Q1 2017.
Having a Leading Web Content Management System (CMS) Is Now Table Stakes.
Today, it’s table stakes for global brands to have a leading web content management system as the backbone of their overall digital-transformation strategy. The fast-paced challenge of delivering uniquely compelling experiences that incite engagement and drive business growth is too demanding. After extensive research, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee — the authors of The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies — noted the pace of digitization will continue to accelerate exponentially. The last thing a business can afford to do is make the mistake of choosing a web CMS that is “good enough” only to realize later, it is not. Having to pause to swap out your CMS because it doesn’t support your business goals or your customers’ expectations can be fatal.
In a world of connected consumers, and a projected 6.4 billion connected “things,” the ability to source the best content, manage it in a way that is both agile and aligned with the brand, deliver it to consumers at the moments that matter most, and continuously optimize this process better than others is a matter of survival.
And, the disruption is not isolated to any one industry. Expectations formed from our most recent experiences with retailers or stays at hotels influence our expectations of all the brands with which we do business. How many times have we all wondered, “Why can’t I apply for a mortgage or renew my driver’s license as easily as I can book my vacation during the holidays?”
While technological categories like “web CMS” help provide guidance on a set of needed capabilities, they also place blinders on crucial components needed to deliver great experiences. So, if having a leading web CMS is only the foundation, what else is critical to consider?
Content Is Still King, and Its Domain Is Expanding.
Regardless of what business you are in, or what device you have in your hand, the experience is only as compelling as the content. We recognized this critical need. Many of the innovations in Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) focus on helping to source the best content to fuel the management part of a web-content management system.
Features such as a template editor make it easier for more people within an organization to compose experiences and share the compositions that are working across regions and brands. We’ve also dedicated a significant amount of time to making it easier to build engaging web mobile web/responsive web as de facto with prebuilt, responsive-design templates and drag-and-drop capabilities. The acquisition of Livefyre in 2016 — now part of Adobe Experience Manager — has made it possible for marketers who need to power content-hungry connections to source user-generated content. For example, Craftsman was able to gather incredible user-generated content comprising do-it-yourself (DIY) projects and inspiration sources from across the web, leading to visitors spending six times longer onsite as well as a 190-percent increase in digital memberships.
It’s not just limited to marketing content either. What began as a need in marketing is now seeping into other customer-facing departments. For example, AEM now supports technical-communication content, which is critical to any business — such as manufacturing and high-tech companies — with complex products requiring post-sales support and knowledge. We have also made it easier to mobilize this content for both consumers and customer-facing employees. Mirum’s store-associate app, for instance, enables communications between headquarters and employees at retail-store locations to provide real-time training and merchandising information that is consistent across online and in-store shopping experiences.
Data: How Does the Network Effect Impact Customer Insights?
As we get better at creating and sourcing the most compelling content, we also must ensure that we understand what people want at each moment of interaction. In AEM, we have made essential analytics and targeting capabilities part of AEM’s core cloud services.
These capabilities are exposed within the AEM user interface, allowing brands to start off simply and quickly in the areas of listening and personalization. When they are ready to extend to richer capabilities, they can expand to the market-leading capabilities of Adobe Analytics — such as Analysis Workspace — and Adobe Target without missing a beat.
But, it’s not only about drawing insights from one’s own brand data. Since Adobe Marketing Cloud now processes over 51-trillion transactions a year, we can harness the collective trends to benchmark what’s happening across industries, helping brands make better decisions regarding where to invest next in their digital-transformation journeys.
Using online shopping as a benchmark, mobile peaked at 26 percent — $1.93 billion — of online sales on Black Friday during the 2013 holiday season. Overall, Thanksgiving Day online sales grew 18 percent, year-over-year, to hit $1.06 billion. We started to see early signs demonstrating the importance of omnichannel marketing, with traditional brick-and-click retailers outselling their online-only competitors at nearly a three-to-one ratio. Average cart spend was holding steady at $139 per completed sale. (Source: Adobe Digital Insights)
Fast-forward to this past holiday season. Black Friday drew in $3.34 billion in sales, while online sales hit $1.93 billion on Thanksgiving Day, and Cyber Monday hit a new record with the largest online sales date ever at $3.39 billion (Source: Adobe Digital Insights). We also began providing our customers and the industry more broadly with the Adobe Digital Price Index (DPI).
Adobe Applies Advanced Science in the Chemistry of Great Experiences.
What’s even more interesting about the prior data is that the team here at Adobe was able to not only report actual results one day later, but also have amazingly accurate predictive models ahead of the holiday shopping season.
The sheer volume of content and data demands the help of machines to process and draw out the best recommended insights or actions to take. Adobe has been quietly innovating in the area of machine learning for some time, and this past November, we introduced Adobe Sensei — advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning focused on tackling the most complex digital-experience challenges. It taps into Adobe’s heritage in creativity, documents, and marketing and takes advantage of trillions of content and data points. For example, smart tags in AEM are already powered by Adobe Sensei.
You and Your Organization Are the Final Elements.
No digital-transformation milestone was ever reached without the vision, imagination, and perseverance of individuals who saw digital as the new frontier. There are many ways to learn more about AEM and engage with the community of brands around the world to learn how they’re driving successful customer experiences using AEM.
Adobe Summit will kick off in Las Vegas (North America) and London (Europe, Middle-East, and Africa) in the beginning of 2017. Adobe Symposium will be coming to India and Australia. The second-annual virtual AEM developer conference, IMMERSE, will be held May 15–19 across three time zones.
If you want to get started and need more guidance, we are fortunate to have a great community of partners — around the world and in your neighborhood — to help you.
Many of our partners, while they have worked several years with marquee brands on optimizing a mature digital-transformation effort, have also learned and are making it easier to get started quickly with AEM. Following are a few of our partners that have specific offerings to help you get started quickly with Adobe Experience Manager:
- 3 | SHARE SWIFT for AEM Sites is everything you need in your phase-one deployment of Adobe Experience Manager, delivering a full implementation of your unique site on AEM in 12 to 16 weeks.
- Accenture has ready-to-use accelerators and connectors to enable faster results and achieve goals.
- Axis 41’s experienced team of AEM-certified architects, developers, and designers works closely together at every crucial point in the implementation process
- INM AEM Foundation reduces the gap to get your AEM project up and running within budget and on solid technology.
- Valtech StarterKit is an Adobe Experience Manager accelerator that will streamline AEM implementations and significantly reduce cost, effort, and duration.
- XumaK Xpress is a service that provides you with a guaranteed price and project timeline, allowing you to launch your digital-experience platform with little to no risk.
Download “The Forrester Wave™: Web CMS, Q1 2017” report to learn more.
Here’s to an exciting 2017 and our collective success in delivering digital experiences that delight and drive business growth! See you at Adobe Summit where we will share the latest innovations in Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Marketing Cloud.