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Adobe Focuses on Productivity and Efficiency in Summit Announcements

Adobe Focuses on Productivity and Efficiency in Summit Announcements

The News: Adobe made several announcements at Summit, its annual B2B-focused conference, largely focused on new products designed to improve the efficiency and output around content workflows, the ability to activate data within and outside of the Adobe product suite, and the continued enhancement of generative AI models and tools.

The event was notable for its focus on the use of these new tools across the enterprise, driving efficiency, productivity, and creativity in a safe and responsible way. Read all of the individual product news on the Adobe website.

Adobe Focuses on Productivity and Efficiency in Summit Announcements

Analyst Take: I am going to focus on the following key takeaways from the event.

Adobe Announces New Firefly Services

Many organizations use preferred applications to create, modify, and distribute content assets, and they may not be able or willing to sunset them in favor of an Adobe product. Adobe’s announcement of Firefly Services, a set of APIs, tools, and services that let users in creative and marketing teams automate repetitive tasks, enables users to access and use Firefly generative AI-based features and functions within the flow of work, even if they are using other applications. This approach reflects Adobe’s embrace of an ecosystem-based view of workflows and should help Adobe continue to drive utilization of its generative AI services with customers that may be otherwise unlikely to adopt its entire suite of products.

Custom AI Models in Firefly

One of the chief limitations of public large language models (LLMs) is that they are trained on generic, non-specific data. To provide faster time-to-value, Adobe has announced custom models within Firefly that can be trained on their existing assets to ensure brand-specific AI content generation. Further, because the models are only being trained on vetted content already approved by the company, the resulting assets will adhere to brand guidelines.

This approach is critical to deploying generative AI that can deliver a fast time to value, and also ensures that the results will be safe and relevant for brands to use. Although teams still need to review outputs to ensure they conform to guidelines, there are significant time and resource advantages to using models that are specifically trained on content that is on brand, copyright-cleared, and specific to a company and its line of business or industry.

Structure Reference Tool Allows Content Generation Based on Underlying Elements

Another interesting announcement from the Summit is the new Structure Reference tool, which is designed to analyze and use the core structural elements of an image to use as a guide for generating new images. Whereas (for example) the existing Style Reference tool allows users to upload the image of a dog, and then the AI model generates other dogs, Structure Reference will produce new content based on the image’s structure, which includes the image’s composition, lighting, subject’s pose, and other structural attributes. This tool permits creators to generate content or variations of content with similar underlying elements, without restricting the form of the output.

The technology behind this tool is truly astounding; my chief concern with Structure Reference or Style Reference revolves around intellectual property and copyright issues. Organizations will need to ensure there are guardrails or policies in place to ensure that the original image (which may not necessarily be an image included within Adobe Stock) is properly licensed or cleared. The ability to generate hundreds or thousands of images using the core elements of an image may invite scrutiny around the mimicry of a style (which is not legally protected) but could still bring negative attention to the brand.

Adobe GenStudio: Providing More Workflow Flexibility for Content Teams

GenStudio is Adobe’s latest application geared to marketers. It serves as a centralized hub for content creation, campaign management, activation, and insights. You can read my research note covering the product in detail; based on the demos I’ve seen, the product allows non-creatives to access the powerful tools found in other Adobe applications within a single app and interface. Although Adobe positions the product as a way to democratize the creation and management of the content supply chain, I see it as a useful tool to let marketers jump in when needed to handle various elements of the process, when the core functional team members are overloaded or otherwise unavailable.

Other New Feature Sets and Product Enhancements within Adobe Experience Platform

Like other software as a service (SaaS) companies, Adobe is launching a generative AI assistant that, thankfully, is not referred to as a copilot. The Adobe AI Assistant is designed to provide a conversational interface that can answer technical questions and will simulate outcomes, automate tasks, and generate journeys and audiences across Adobe Experience Cloud applications. The goal is to enable users to quickly complete tasks through a more natural interface, thereby speeding workflow and reducing the volume of repetitive tasks.

Another announcement made is of Federated Audience Composition, a new tool that lets brands capture relevant signal data residing in enterprise data warehouses, and then make that data actionable within customer experience workflows while minimizing the need to move or copy data from the original location.

This approach is powerful, particularly for situations in which information is sensitive or otherwise unavailable to be shared due to privacy or security concerns or regulations. In a briefing, Adobe’s Klassjan Tukker, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Adobe Experience Platform, provided a great example of how this could work in a healthcare scenario. Consider a healthcare clinic that wants to send out notices to people to come in for flu shots. Using Federated Audience Composition, the clinic would receive a list of people who were good candidates for receiving flu shot notifications, based on data contained within an electronic health record (EHR) platform, which would contain information such as the date of their last flu shots and any relevant medical issues. The clinic wouldn’t receive any private data but would be able to see the signals indicating that a given patient meets the criteria for receiving a flu shot.

Finally, Adobe announced that its Journey Optimizer is now able to be focused on B2B markets, enabling buying journeys that are specific to these types of buyers, which are typically made up of a variety of users, influencers, approvers, and purchasers. The ability to provide a unified view of these groups will help marketers more effectively develop campaigns that address each buying persona’s needs and roles, thereby providing more personalization and relevance to each interaction.

Providing Access to Tools in Microsoft 365 Partnership

Adobe is leaning into the idea of providing technology to workers within the flow of work, using any application with which they feel comfortable or familiar. As such, the company announced a partnership with Microsoft to enable Adobe Experience Cloud workflows and insights, and Dynamics 365 data to be accessed and used with Microsoft Copilot and apps such as Outlook and Word.

This approach fits in well with Adobe’s ecosystem focus by letting customers access their core technological capabilities when and where they want, thereby reducing friction and enabling more seamless workflows.

All told, the announcements from the late March Adobe Summit appear to be largely good news for the company’s enterprise customers. As Adobe may be seeing more pressure from competitors such as Canva, which may be making a move upmarket, Adobe’s strength will largely be rooted in its ability to deliver its technology in a safe, reliable, and intuitive fashion, thereby making it easy to adopt across an entire organization.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other Insights from The Futurum Group:

Adobe Announces GenStudio, Its GenAI-First App for Marketing Teams

Adobe Posts Solid Q1 FY 2024 Quarter on $5.18B in Revenue

Adobe Delivers Digital Experiences via E-Commerce and Workflow Apps

Author Information

Keith has over 25 years of experience in research, marketing, and consulting-based fields.

He has authored in-depth reports and market forecast studies covering artificial intelligence, biometrics, data analytics, robotics, high performance computing, and quantum computing, with a specific focus on the use of these technologies within large enterprise organizations and SMBs. He has also established strong working relationships with the international technology vendor community and is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and events.

In his career as a financial and technology journalist he has written for national and trade publications, including BusinessWeek, CNBC.com, Investment Dealers’ Digest, The Red Herring, The Communications of the ACM, and Mobile Computing & Communications, among others.

He is a member of the Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP).

Keith holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Magazine Journalism and Sociology from Syracuse University.

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