Adobe's 2016 plans for Creative Cloud: Mobility, workflows and enterprise integration
The creative software giant will enhance its mobile offerings, link them with desktop applications via sophisticated asset workflows, develop tools for social marketers and create a single Adobe Cloud for enterprises.
Hot on the heels of Adobe's Q1 2016 earnings figures, which included record overall revenue of $1.38 billion and record Creative Cloud revenue of $733 million, EMEA journalists were recently briefed on the company's plans for Creative Cloud in 2016 and beyond by the VP/GM in charge, Mala Sharma.
Since adopting the subscription model in 2012, Adobe has developed Creative Cloud by integrating services such as cloud storage, file sync, fonts (TypeKit) and photos (Stock), extending the capabilities of its traditional desktop applications into companion mobile apps, and, in 2015, introducing asset-based workflows powered by CreativeSync.
'Assets' are Adobe parlance for format- and resolution-independent descriptions of content items such as bitmaps, vector graphics and video clips. Information on non-destructive edits, renditions for specific apps and devices, and linkages is held in metadata and orchestrated by CreativeSync, enabling multi-device workflows for individuals and more efficient sharing and collaboration for teams.
These developments have helped to generate impressive growth in Creative Cloud subscriptions, which currently stand at just under 7 million following the addition of 780,000 new subscribers in Q1 2016:
"In 2016, as we think about the next step for Creative Cloud, it's really about bringing CreativeSync and asset workflows to the next level," said Sharma.
Enterprises are looming ever larger in Adobe's sights -- and Sharma drew particular attention to their need to deliver "data-driven customer experiences" that are compelling, personal, useful and available everywhere.
To serve the creative side of the customer experience, Adobe recently unveiled the public preview of Adobe Experience Design CC, or XD for short (previously codenamed Project Comet). This initially Mac OS X-based application has been enthusiastically received by the creative community, said Sharma, who noted that the UK -- and London in particular -- is the hottest location in EMEA for UX design.
Other core elements of the CC growth strategy include making CreativeSync assets more widely available, as a cloud-first implementation -- "Google Docs for creativity", as Sharma put it.
In mobile, the focus will move from extending desktop apps to working interchangeably on mobile or desktop. "It's very similar to the experience you may have seen with Lightroom," said Sharma, "where you have Lightroom on the desktop, and on mobile and on the web: imagine the interchangeable work that you could do -- just like you can do with photos in Lightroom -- across our other disciplines like design, video and the web."
Adobe will also concentrate on making its professional-level video tools more accessible to what Sharma called "the YouTuber generation" -- that is, people "who want to quickly get their ideas out there using video". Adobe's video offerings will evolve in a similar manner to its photography and design tools, said Sharma: "You can imagine us bringing this to production, editing, audio, colour etcetera, within the video workflows."
In terms of growing the Creative Cloud market, Adobe is looking to build on existing apps like Adobe Voice, Slate and Post that target "social-savvy youth", social marketers and business communicators who, Sharma said, "have an idea, want to tell a story and want to communicate something with impact."
"You can imagine the next step here could be bringing together all of these applications, with a web app, to allow customers and consumers to create and get their ideas out really quickly and effectively...You should stay tuned for hearing more about this space from May to this summer."
One Adobe cloud to rule them all
As noted earlier, Adobe is increasingly looking to enterprises to fuel its growth. "Probably the biggest opportunity for Adobe is the way we think about solving problems for enterprises, and this is really about connecting the three clouds -- Creative Cloud, Document Cloud and Marketing Cloud -- into a single cloud platform, which is the Adobe Cloud," said Sharma.
"It's about harnessing the power of content and making it relevant through the intelligence of data," said Sharma. This will involve "getting content and data together and creating workflows that cut across the three clouds so that enterprises can deliver relevant experiences to their customers, whether it's in the workflow of making the content, delivering it, or measuring its effectiveness."
"One example that you can expect to see from us is making connections between Adobe XD and Adobe Experience Manager so that as you create the assets, you're connected to a platform that helps you with the delivery, and ultimately through Marketing Cloud enables measurement of that content."