Understanding individuals, not just audiences.

Adobe stitches together 360-degree, real-time customer profiles with Adobe Experience Platform.

Company Logo

Established

1982

Employees: 22,000

www.adobe.com

Thousands of lookups per day

deliver rich customer insights in context to sales and support teams

Products:

Adobe Experience Platform ›

Objectives

Unify siloed data across the enterprise to develop a 360-degree view of customers

Reduce data latency to enable real-time delivery of personalized experiences

Simplify delivery and maintenance of customer profiles for IT teams

Results

Sets the stage for real-time customer profiles to achieve real-time personalization across the business

<1 second response times for 99% of Customer Activity Hub lookups

Thousands of lookups per day, delivering rich customer insights in context to sales and support teams

Simplifies delivery and maintenance of customer profiles for IT teams

“Going forward, we expect Adobe Experience Platform to be a cornerstone for understanding how customers interact with the brand and responding to them with more meaningful customer experiences.”

Joel Huff Director of Engineering, Solution Architecture for Adobe Experience Platform, Adobe

Real-time customer profiles

Gaining clear insights into each customer’s unique interests and needs is the key to delivering personalized experiences that have impact. But for many companies, customer data is trapped in silos throughout the enterprise, and bringing it all together can be daunting. It’s a challenge Adobe is actively working to solve—both for its customers and itself—through the Adobe Experience Platform.

“Our goal is to create comprehensive, real-time customer profiles that satisfy a wide range of business needs—not just a single use case,” says Joel Huff, Director of Engineering, Solution Architecture for Adobe Experience Platform. “That’s the vision at Adobe, both internally and for our customers.”

Leading up to the launch of Adobe Experience Platform, Adobe spent a lot of time making sure the platform would solve the needs of its very first customers—the IT, Marketing Tech, and Product teams at Adobe, known internally as “Customer Zero.” As the data team worked with developers and data engineers, it found a common pain point in the disconnected approach to building customer profiles.

“Teams were spinning up separate customer profiles for each use case, so there was one for audience segmentation, one for product usage, one for CRM, one for email campaigns, and so on,” Joel says. “That works to a certain degree, but it becomes hard to maintain and isn’t scalable.”

With the number of profiles growing over time, teams would soon find their capacity tested—as well as the capacity of the on-premises Apache Hadoop infrastructure used to host the data. In addition, with so much data coming from so many sources, it was difficult to keep data synchronized and up to date.

“Reducing data latency is crucial as we help end users deliver consistent customer experiences in real time,” says Joel. “For example, when a customer opts out of email, marketers want to know right away. They can’t wait 72 hours for the profile to update.”

Now, Adobe Experience Platform gives Customer Zero teams a new way to approach customer data, enabling Adobe to deliver personalized experiences at scale. Gradually moving data into the platform’s Unified Profile Service, they’re laying the groundwork for a 360-degree customer profile that combines everything from marketing activity to product usage to sales and support, with insights from artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“Customer Activity Hub is a big win for sales and support teams. When a customer calls, the support agent now has all the relevant details on hand to keep renewals on track.”

Joel Huff Director of Engineering, Solution Architecture for Adobe Experience Platform, Adobe

C ustomer Zero’s first use case

The Customer Zero teams started with a single use case, calling it Customer Activity Hub. Sales representatives and support agents needed a broader view of customers within the tools they use every day, including CRM, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and an in-house system for Adobe Creative Cloud subscription support, called Hendrix.

“To better serve customers, sales and support teams need to know a lot more than just customer names and addresses,” Joel explains. “They want to see how customers use Adobe products, when they’re up for renewal, and how to help make the overall customer experience better.”

Customer Activity Hub stitches together marketing, product, e-commerce, and financial data directly within Adobe Experience Platform. APIs stream the profile data to CRM systems, where agents can view contract details, product usage, payment status, and even churn risk scores generated by machine learning (ML) algorithms.

“Customer Activity Hub is a big win for sales and support teams,” says Joel. “When a customer calls, the support agent now has all the relevant details on hand to keep renewals on track, even credit card expiration dates. When agents can proactively update credit cards, Adobe can potentially save millions of dollars.”

For Customer Zero teams, the success is in the numbers. Customer Activity Hub fields many thousands of lookups per day, and it responds in less than one second to 99% of those requests. With many millions of profiles, TBs of data, and 99.99% uptime, this first step toward building unified profiles is already proving its value to the business.

As the teams look to extend the real-time customer profile in Adobe Experience Platform, several more use cases are on the horizon. One will drive personalization within Adobe Creative Cloud apps to deliver a great onboarding experience to new subscribers. That includes using ML algorithms to generate in-app tutorial recommendations, helping to drive adoption by giving customers a personalized learning path. The teams also aim to use Adobe Creative Cloud events as triggers for marketing emails in Adobe Campaign—for example, sending a follow-up email when a trial user downloads an app.

“Adobe Experience Platform helps us organize customer data in a holistic way, so it brings value to the entire business, not just a specific project.”

Joel Huff Director of Engineering, Solution Architecture for Adobe Experience Platform, Adobe

More value from customer data

Stitching together real-time customer profiles in Adobe Experience Platform opens exciting new possibilities, but it also requires a different mindset for the teams at Adobe.

“The big change for us is to start thinking about data as a product,” Joel says. “Adobe Experience Platform helps us organize customer data in a holistic way, so it brings value to the entire business, not just a specific project.”

That means designing data schemas in a more generic way, so different systems can use APIs to tap into the data as needed. It involves standardizing naming for categories such as product codes across channels. It also requires reducing data latency to stream data instead of—or in addition to—running batch updates.

“We’re building more trust in the data by making it faster, more accessible, and more visible than before,” says Joel. “Going forward, we expect Adobe Experience Platform to be a cornerstone for understanding how customers interact with the brand and responding to them with more meaningful customer experiences.”

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