ENTERPRISES in SouthEast Asia (SEA) are driven by many different reasons to embark on digital transformation projects but they would need to ensure that they have laser-sharp focus on the customer experience if they are to succeed, according to software player Adobe Systems Inc.

Speaking at a media briefing recently, Adobe managing director for SEA V.R. Srivatsan (pic) said companies that aren’t trying to make customer experience the centrestage of their boardroom agenda are at a definite disadvantage in today’s customer centric world.

“Every boardroom is talking about digital transformation and any company which is not thinking about digital transformation and the improving of customer experience [at the same time] as a boardroom strategy is going to fall behind,” he declared.

The San Jose, California-based software maker is historically best known for designing and building multimedia and creativity software products the likes of Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Flash and Adobe Acrobat Reader, as well as popularising the use of the Portable Document Format (PDF).

In 2011, the company began diversifying by moving its products and services into cloud-based technology beginning with the Adobe Creative Cloud. As of today, Adobe has three main business segments: Digital Media, incorporating Photoshop, Creative Cloud, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash Professional and others; Print and Publishing, incorporating licensing technologies such as PostScript and PDF; and Digital Marketing, comprising solutions such as Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Analytics, Adobe Campaign and others.

The company has doubled down on its business by betting big on customer experience and in March announced the availability of Adobe Experience Cloud, as well as a pact with Microsoft announced last September, which will see both companies embracing each other’s products.

Adobe Experience Cloud consists of Adobe’s Marketing Cloud, Advertising Cloud and Analytics Cloud. It is built on the Adobe Cloud Platform, and leverages Adobe Sensei’s machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities, the company said.

Srivatsan said that based on what Adobe has gleaned from its customers, many companies are being driven towards digital transformation as customers expect much more than for a company to simply deliver a great product.

Arguing that the industry is now in the last phase of what Adobe considers to be the three significant phases of technology development in the past three decades, Srivatsan said the first phase was about getting the ‘back office’ – such as enterprise resources planning (ERP) – right, which happened in the 1990s.

The next phase happened in the 2000s, when enterprises were trying to get the ‘front office wave’ – web presence and front facing and transactional applications – correct, he added.

“Today, it’s all about getting the third wave – ‘customer experience business wave’ – right,” he argued. “If you’re not delivering a great experience to your customer today, you’re likely to lose those customers as there isn’t customer loyalty anymore in today’s world.”

Customers today, Srivatsan believes, want to be empowered and respected, and they demand that enterprises deliver services should speak in one voice and make technology transparent to them.

“For example, if my preferred point of interaction is mobile, then a bank, for example, should transact with me via mobile and not other ways,” he said. “Also, the messaging that I receive from the bank should be consistent throughout, regardless of the channels that are used to communicate with me.

“The bank should also delight me at every turn, surprising me with innovative products and services,” he argued, noting that this is what enhanced customer focus is about.

However, Srivatsan conceded that while many companies may know this [in theory], they are struggling to come to terms with how to manage these customer expectations in today’s digitally changing world.

“Adobe has the tools to help people design and deliver exceptional digital experiences,” he claimed.