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Adobe Brings One of Its Last Legacy Products to the Cloud

Nico Grant

(Bloomberg) -- Adobe Inc. unveiled a cloud-based system to help clients build websites, bringing one of its last legacy products to the cloud almost a decade after shifting to internet-based software.

The new content management system already is being used by some customers, the San Jose, California-based company said Monday in a statement. The software maker announced the service at the National Retail Federation conference in New York.

Adobe is the largest vendor for enterprise customers in a $3.8 billion market for software that builds websites and manages digital assets, according to data from research firm IDC. The company said it’s the first to provide a purely cloud-computing based solution to large business clients. The software maker currently manages 15 billion web page visits per day and more than 50 million digital assets, including images and videos, across its customer base. Wix.com Ltd. and closely held Squarespace are among the competitors in the field.

Companies are increasingly attempting to differentiate themselves with personalized customer experiences, led by websites and marketing materials. Adobe’s “Experience Manager” is also being used to power in-store, interactive screens that retailers have begun using to teach shoppers more about their products.

Adobe has spent almost four decades quietly dominating small patches of the technology industry. While it is synonymous for its creative and design software, led by Photoshop, the company has continually invested in new products to maintain leading positions in areas such as marketing, advertising, and customer experience software. The product expansion fueled a 24% revenue increase last year. Wall Street responded favorably, with Adobe’s stock climbing 46% in 2019.

Chief Executive Officer Shantanu Narayen moved much of Adobe’s product suite to the internet in 2011, leading to years of growing revenue and setting an example followed by other software makers, including Microsoft Corp. For years, clients who used content management systems weren’t ready to change their way of doing things, Loni Stark, a senior director of strategy and product marketing at Adobe, said in an interview. But added pressure on brands to modernize with sophisticated websites and applications have changed their calculations.

Experience Manager’s transition to the cloud “means companies can deliver content faster and be always current on the latest capabilities we’re delivering out there,” Stark said.

Apparel company Under Armour Inc. and mapping company Esri Inc. have begun using the new service, and extolled the quicker uploading times and ease of use.

“There are no servers to manage,” Bill Phillips, an applications manager at Esri, said in an interview. “Our developers can focus on developing our website and helping get our marketing message out there quicker.”

Adobe Experience Manager was previously available as a hosted service, with the software maker managing the infrastructure for clients. But it relied on old-school software that required lengthy download periods for patches and updates, rather than the continuous updates available with internet-based software.

“I think of this as a new beginning, a new decade,” Stark said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nico Grant in San Francisco at ngrant20@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew Pollack, Alistair Barr

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