Big Data Offers Big Opportunities for Retail, Financial, Web Companies

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-10-29 Print this article Print

Adobe is playing in the same world as IBM with its digital marketing strategy. Adobe restructured last year to focus on two things: digital media and digital marketing. However, not everyone is convinced Adobe can move into these new markets.

"Adobe has a good relationship with digital media agencies, but no depth in analytics," Hayman said.

Not so, said Brad Rencher, Adobe's senior vice president who runs the company's digital marketing business, which relies on the foundation of Adobe's Omniture analytics technology.

"When I think of IBM, I think of big--bigger but not necessarily better," said Rencher. Adobe's highlight is a digital marketing suite of technologies a CMO will use."

Rencher said a key part of the Adobe strategy is predictive analytics.

"Adobe is playing in the big data world--we're in the cloud," said Rencher. "The challenge for our customers is there's so much data it's easy to get lost in it all." However, he said, "Data is the franchise. It's the underpinning of everything we do."

The Adobe Online Marketing Suite, powered by Omniture, offers an integrated and open platform for online business optimization, a strategy for using customer insight to drive innovation throughout the business and enhance marketing efficiency. The suite consists of integrated applications to collect and unleash the power of customer insight to optimize customer acquisition, conversion and retention efforts as well as the creation and distribution of content.

"Today's leading organizations know that to stay at the forefront of the digital enterprise transformation, they must establish meaningful and lasting connections with their customers," said Melissa Webster, an analyst at IDC. "This is especially challenging, given the multiple channels through which customers now interact with businesses."

Adobe runs massively parallel software as a service (SaaS) offerings through about 23,500 servers and networked devices in 19 data center co-location sites. Adobe captures more than six trillion transactions per year for its more than 5,000 digital marketing customers. Collectively, these transactions represent more than 27 petabytes of data, the company said.

"Historically, all Web analytics have reflected data from the past which has been to a certain extent like driving a car using only the rear-view mirror," said Ken Seiff, executive vice president at Brooks Brothers. The new predictive marketing capabilities from Adobe are helping the clothier forecast revenue, he added.

Meanwhile, big data remains a new field within IT—one with a lot of potential but nowhere near mature enough to accomplish all that it can. The next few years will help determine its future.

"To make big data more manageable, I believe that all the technology and the practitioners have to become more enterprise-ready," Brust, the consultant said. "The technology is very raw and hard-core. It needs to become more friendly and more manageable with standard enterprise data center technologies. Otherwise, the skill set is impossibly hard to find and fund and SLAs [service-level agreements] are rather very tough to maintain."


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