Covering Disruptive Technology Powering Business in The Digital Age

Home > DTA news > News > Adobe Introduces New ASEAN MD Simon Dale Who Explains Why Adobe is the Original Digital Transformation Company
Adobe Introduces New ASEAN MD Simon Dale Who Explains Why Adobe is the Original Digital Transformation Company
February 11, 2020 News


When Adobe invited Disruptive Tech Asean to a CNY media lunch at W Hotel Kuala Lumpur, we wondered, why? It was a chance to meet Simon Dale, the new Managing Director for Southeast Asia, but we don’t cover design and marketing. So, how do we ask if this would be a good use of our time?

Perhaps we should check with our creative team whether we need to upgrade their subscription on InDesign or Photoshop and see if we could tap Simon up for a discount?

A little research showed that Simon’s background is a stint running MapR’s Asia business, before which he was a veteran at SAP. This got us more interested. Why would Adobe hire a guy firmly rooted in SAP to run their Southeast Asian business? Where’s the fit?

We decided to go along and find out.

We had the chance to speak with Simon and very quickly came to understand why someone that spent 16 years in a company that created the concept of software-driven business re-engineering would make sense to lead Adobe.

Simon explained that Adobe’s business is built on three clouds. Firstly, Creative Cloud, which is the one that made them famous. It’s a B2C business selling great creative tools to creative people.

He also explained that they have the “Document Cloud” – home to the PDF and also electronic signatures, amongst other things. It’s a billion-dollar business globally and is becoming increasingly important at a time where data governance is becoming more stringent while at the same time, digital work practices make data privacy and control ever more challenging.

Simon told us that the third cloud is the “Experience Cloud”. Here is where we had our “Aha!” moment. As Simon explained the history behind Experience Cloud and what it delivers for customers, we realised why it made sense for an ex-SAP and Big Data man to spearhead Adobe’s business. We also immediately saw why Adobe is very relevant to Disruptive Tech Asean readers.  The Experience Cloud delivers the technology that enables real-world digital transformation. Its technology enables companies to build new disruptive business models that meet the demands of digital and data-driven businesses.

While the “Digital Transformation” term has been a little overused, we formed the view that it’s not a bandwagon we have seen Adobe shouting loudly about. Nevertheless, when you drill into what the Experience Cloud delivers for customers, it really is the case that Adobe could shout louder than most about their digital transformation credentials.

Simon explained how Adobe themselves have gone through 10 years of transformation, moving from a traditional software model with sales based on CapEx spend, to a cloud service provider model with sales completely based on OpEx. The stack that Adobe built to provide the foundation to go through their own digital transformation – effectively to transform their creative business – is now what is called “Experience Cloud”.  As Simon describes it, Adobe was “customer zero” for Experience Cloud.

When you listen to Simon explain Experience Cloud, what you will realise is Adobe has the technology to re-engineer entire digital customer engagement models. It’s more than just a pretty webpage, or a new web form – it’s about managing every aspect of a customer’s digital journey, enhancing it, and understanding it so that customer experience and sales can improve. Not a million miles away from an old school ERP discussion, just in a different time and different place, though more at the front of a business where Adobe helps blend imagination and creativity with process and analytics.

To answer wherein the customer journey Adobe can transform a current business, Simon cut to the chase. The industry description for the online customer journey is Acquisition, Conversion and Retention. At Adobe, he told us they break it down further – Discover, Try, Buy, Use, Renew.

It’s a simple breakdown, but the technology stack that can help in each or every part of this journey is significant, data-driven and can be used to rewrite entire online business processes. We look forward to covering this part of Adobe’s business far more proactively in the future.