Adobe Systems launched Adobe Creative Cloud for India's small and midsized businesses (SMBs) in March this year. The membership-based service provides users with unlimited access to all Creative Suite desktop applications, plus other applications including Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Adobe Muse, Adobe Edge, and Adobe Acrobat.
In an email interview with Umang Bedi, Managing Director, South Asia, Adobe Systems, we discussed how the service is a radical new way in which Adobe offers its tools and services.
It's a shift to software-as-a-service (SaaS) that is similar to the one that Microsoft went through recently with Office 365.
Question: How’s the adoption of Creative Cloud in India? How’s the breakup in adoption between enterprises and SMBs?
Bedi: We have seen a strong growth in terms of customers transacting to purchase Adobe products online, since our Creative Cloud Membership launch in May 2013. As far as SMBs are concerned, thousands of mid-market customers have adopted Creative Cloud for Teams (CCT), since its launch in March 2013 and we are excited with the growth opportunity this segment holds in India. We have also seen strong momentum in the enterprise segment in verticals ranging from design firms, media and entertainment, BFSI, IT and ITeS, print and publishers etc.
Q: How does Creative Cloud attempt to address the challenges associated with employing a cloud service in business?
Bedi: When people hear "cloud" they get visions of running applications in a web browser i.e. it is a SaaS based solution. While that may be the case with other cloud offerings, it's not the case with Creative Cloud. Creative Cloud members download and install their apps as Adobe customers always have. Creative Cloud desktop applications are installed directly on your computer, so you won't need an ongoing Internet connection to use them on a daily basis. An Internet connection is required the first time you install and license your desktop apps, but you can use the apps in offline mode with a valid software license.
Very often, a concern we have heard from in the market is whether users will be able to share files with people who are not on Creative Cloud. With your Creative Cloud membership you get 20GBs of cloud storage. If you place files in your Creative Cloud folder on your hard drive those files will not only be accessible when you're offline, but you can also log into creative.adobe.com and share them. Once you decide to share a file you can email a link to your colleagues or clients and they will be able to view your file in their web browser even if they've never heard of Creative Cloud or the Adobe applications you used to create them.
Additionally, security is also a concern for small businesses. Creative Cloud uses industry-leading encryption technology to protect our members' data. When you use the service and transfer files, 256-bit AES Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption is used for both user authentication and data transfer encryption, helping to ensure that your data and documents are available only to you and the users you authorize.
Q: Does the expectation of regular service and feature updates in cloud services put pressure on the company?
Bedi: We look at this more as an opportunity than pressure. We not only get to rollout the new updates as soon as they are ready and thus cut down on the product release cycle, but also provide the latest and most innovative creative tools to our customers, something for which Adobe is known for. For example, we have recently added Dreamweaver and File & Typekit sync font updates on Creative Cloud.
Q: Adobe Creative Cloud tries to address two important issues in the Indian SMB market — economical subscription pricing to deal with rampant piracy in this segment and support for several Indian languages. Thoughts?
Bedi: Our customers have a profound impact on our visual culture by continuing to reinvent design, art, the web, mobile apps, video, broadcast, and printed content. We envision that Creative Cloud will become the ultimate hub for creative professionals in India, where they can access the world's best tools; store and collaborate across their workplace and showcase their creations. The low price entry point for Adobe's world class tools coupled with the flexibility to choose plans that best suit their needs have resonated well with Indian creatives and we see more and more people joining Creative Cloud every day.
We have a variety of ways by which anyone — individuals, SMBs, enterprises, students etc. can access Creative Cloud at prices that best meet their needs. We have recently introduced single apps under Creative Cloud for teams which highlights our commitment to this market. While it will help address the issue of piracy but that is not our primary objective.
As for the second part of your question, the Indian regional publishing industry is the only print market in the world that is growing in leaps and bounds. This is a very big market for us and we are happy to help this market grow even faster by proving it with the tools that they need to work seamlessly. The built in support for ten Indian languages in InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop has been appreciated by the industry.
Most major regional publishing houses are our clients. For example, Indian media house Malayala Manorama has implemented a complete end to end Adobe technology solution that will allow fast and flexible delivery of content across any platform, including mobile and social networks. Additionally, leading media houses like Danik Bhaskar, Danik Jagran and Rajasthan Patrika are also using our products.
Q: Several other cloud services like Microsoft Office 365 push special initiatives for educational sector — a strategy to drive adoption by creating a user-base that would translate to customers in future. Any such initiatives by Adobe?
Bedi: One of the important segments that Adobe focuses on and is committed to is the education sector in India. Adobe offers huge discounts to the students and teacher community on its Creative Cloud offerings. In fact, Creative Cloud is available for students and teachers at only INR 1000 (US$15) per month. Adobe strongly believes in fuelling creativity at a young age. Students, who are passionate about design and creation, should not be restricted by inaccessibility of the product. We also have a dedicated Education Store for students and teachers to purchase leading Adobe creative and design software.
Every year we also organize our global design competition titled Adobe Design Achievement Awards which recognizes the best work of student graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, animators, digital filmmakers, developers and computer artists.