Adobe on a roll (hold the fries)
For the second day in a row Adobe made an important partnering announcement. Yesterday the company said it had teamed with Salesforce.com to produce Adobe Flash Builder for Force.com, which will speed development of Flash-based user interfaces for Salesforce customers. Today Adobe announced that it has concluded acquisition of Omniture, a web analytics vendor based in Orem, Utah for a whopping $1.8 billion.
It seems an obvious strategy to leverage some of Abobe’s ingredient technologies, like Flash, to make a bigger presence for itself in Cloud Computing. The addition of web analytics is very interesting.
At this point in the evolution of CRM, if you are not already a big player the chances of starting from scratch and getting big are nugatory so the strategy has to be to buy. But Adobe’s choice of partnering with a leading CRM company for user interface design and following up with buying analytics is intriguing. With these two ingredient technologies, Adobe appears to be 1) betting on the future importance of understanding customer moves and motivations and 2) clearly understanding that robust simplicity must rule all software interfaces regardless of platform.
If you ask me, these are two good bets. While there are clearly many good analytics products on the market either freestanding or embedded in business applications, my research tells me that regular users are still too confused about analytics to fully leverage them. Ask ten people in our industry the difference between reporting and analytics and you will see what I mean.
My quibble with analytics and analytics vendors generally is that few acknowledge the effort required to capture good data. Too often the MO is to capture large samples and get some averages, a good but not great approach that, in another setting, once left a bemused Benjamin Disraeli to list three categories of lies, “Lies, damn lies and statistics”. There’s no substitute for understanding demographics, biases, attitudes and the like to better predict behavior. Here’s hoping that Adobe gets it and uses Omniture to go the more rigorous route.
Salesforce and Adobe go to market
Salesforce.com and Adobe jointly announced that they have developed a product called Adobe Flash Builder for Force.com. The product enables developers to build powerful UIs for the Force.com platform.
Flash is a good thing. It provides an attractive and powerful UI environment that makes applications more intelligent, robust and fun to use. Salesforce partners have used Adobe Flash for several years and many have already deployed next generation applications using Flash interfaces. Today’s announcement confirms the partners’ decisions to use flash and gives Salesforce further evidence of the openness of its platform strategy.
The press release says in part, “This tight integration (of Adobe and Force.com) enables client-side data management and synchronization between cloud and client, simplifying the development of applications that seamlessly run online or offline across operating systems and devices, while taking full advantage of the proven scalability, security and reliability of the Force.com platform.
This may be reading too much into the announcement but one wonders about the importance of “seamlessly running online or offline across operating systems and devices.” I am assuming this refers to the ability to operate on mobile devices but I need clarification.