Adobe Inks E-signature Partnership with Microsoft's Cloud

Adobe Sign, an electronic signature service, is coming to the Microsoft Azure Cloud.

Adobe Sign

Microsoft and Adobe announced an expansion of their existing strategic partnership on Sept. 7, bringing the Photoshop maker's e-signature technology to Azure.

Adobe Sign is now the "preferred e-signature solution" for Microsoft's software and services portfolio, including Office 365, the two companies said. In turn, the e-signature service will make a new home on Microsoft's Azure cloud infrastructure platform. Additionally, Microsoft Teams is now the go-to chat collaboration service for Adobe Creative Cloud, Document Cloud and Experience Cloud.

Adobe Sign is part of the Adobe Document Cloud, a digital document service that enables businesses to create and maintain paperless workflows. Notably, Adobe Document Cloud, along with Marketing Cloud and Creative Cloud, already run on Microsoft Azure as part of deal the companies struck nearly a year ago, on Sept. 26, 2016.

For Adobe, already a leader in software used by creative professionals, the deal can help the company reach millions more corporate users. According to company estimates, Office 365 boasts 100 million business users.

Over the coming weeks, new Adobe Sign-Office 365 integrations will enable users to electronically sign documents in Word, Outlook and PowerPoint.

The e-signature technology is also coming to Microsoft Flow, a workflow automation platform that can be used to chain together multiple software-as-a-service applications and online services to complete complex tasks while eliminating manual steps. Adobe Sign will also integrate with Microsoft Teams, helping businesses speed approvals processes that require a user's signature.

Microsoft Teams, meanwhile, will soon interoperate with Creative Cloud and Adobe Stock, a move that will help users trade feedback and iterate on their creative projects faster. Teams is also set to visit Adobe Experience Cloud sometime in the future, the companies said.

"Adobe and Microsoft are working together to redefine what the modern enterprise experience looks like with collaboration, identity, data and intelligence at the core," said Adobe's CTO Abhay Parasnis, in a statement. "Together we will develop integrated cloud services with best-in-class solutions like Adobe Sign and Office 365 that help businesses digitally transform while delivering great experiences to their customers."

Paranis also teased potential opportunities in the artificial intelligence (AI) space.

The Adobe executive said his company and Microsoft "see a future where we can leverage Adobe's massive intelligence repository and apply it to the hundreds of millions of PDF's stored in SharePoint and Microsoft OneDrive to light up new experiences," in a blog post. "The combined power of our technologies will allow businesses to harness their data in new ways, unlocking critical business insights and actionable intelligence."

In November 2016, Adobe took the wraps off a set of intelligent services and framework for creating and delivering digital experiences called Sensei. The technology uses AI, particularly natural language processing, machine learning and deep learning, to help automate mundane tasks for creative professionals and make intelligent recommendations when users search for images.

Sensei can also help marketers fine-tune their campaigns and business professionals perform sentiment analysis and topic modeling on their repositories of digital documents, among other tasks.

Microsoft, of course, is no stranger to investing in AI. In August, the company unveiled Project Brainwave, a system that uses field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) from chipmaker Intel to process AI workloads in real-time.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...