Adobe partners with SAP to arrange CIO-CMO ‘shotgun wedding’

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Adobe Inc. and Walldorf, Germany-based SAP AG announced a new reseller partnership on Tuesday that Adobe described as a bridge between the CIO and the CMO.

At the opening keynote of Adobe’s Summit conference focused on digital marketing, SAP was invited on stage to discuss the partnership with Adobe’s top two executives. SAP will resell Adobe Marketing Cloud with its SAP HANA platform and its hybris e-commerce suite. Both Adobe and SAP will be putting marketing dollars behind the partnership, as well as sales and development planning resources. Some integration of the products will bring together analytics from across various digital channels.

In a world where a customer orders something on their smartphone and then expects it on their doorstep the next day, the entire enterprise must work together to solve the problem of meeting expectations, said Brad Rencher, general manager and senior vice president of Adobe Inc. He addressed the partnership with SAP on stage and painted it as an opportunity for marketers to expand their role within the organization.

“This is really bringing together the office of the CMO with the office of the CIO,” Rencher said during his keynote. “What we’re going to do together is joint development. We talk about the enterprise revolution, this is going to help enterprises move at a quicker pace.”

Asked to elaborate on the changing relationship between the CIO and CMO at a follow-up executive panel, Rencher likened it to a shotgun wedding. Over the past two years, digital-leaning CMOs have increased their focus on technology.

“IT was perhaps going too slowly and leaning their own way,” he says. “We understand the marketing solutions we’re delivering play within a larger enterprise and we have to be cognizant of those innovations.”

Product integration between Adobe Marketing Cloud and SAP’s hybris Commerce Suite will let marketers tailor an online shopping experience based on a customer’s attributes. Marketers will gain better visibility into customers finding a brand on web and social channels, according to Adobe. There will also be integration between SAP Customer Engagement Intelligence solution and Adobe Marketing Cloud.

The partnership is about “engaging with customers no matter where they are,” says Vishal Sikka, member of the executive board at SAP. “Big data is dead unless there’s a thread, an activity that brings it to life. That’s where the Marketing Cloud and SAP HANA come together.”

Adobe Marketing Cloud was previously integrated with SAP’s HANA platform. Rencher demoed the capability at SAP Sapphire in May 2013. So the path has already started towards integration and the first users to see benefits are likely those already using both SAP and Adobe products. Users like Ashish Braganza, director of global business intelligence at Lenovo.

“We use the SAP data and we pump it into Site Catalyst,” he says. “It will make getting data out of SAP a lot easier, that’s for one. Finding that blend between SAP and Adobe will make integration of the data more seamless.”

Even though SAP has some cross-over with Adobe’s product portfolio, the partnership makes sense from a customer base point of view. SAP owns the relationship with the CIO and Adobe owns the relationship with the CMO. Now, their partnership sends a cross-departmental peace offering and sends a message the vendors are building open solutions that will integrate with other tools.

But while Adobe gave some lip service to the need for a better partnership between the CIO and CMO, it’s not clear yet how a vendor alliance will help break down organizational silos.

“What’s the governance model?” asks Peter Kim, chief strategy officer at Constellation Research. “Just because we have to share budget and jointly fund a marketing solution doesn’t break down the barriers.”

The Adobe Summit has 5,500 attendees this year, Adobe says, representing 1,100 companies from 33 different countries.

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jackson
Editorial director of IT World Canada. Covering technology as it applies to business users. Multiple COPA award winner and now judge. Paddles a canoe as much as possible.

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