Customer Experience Management Industry

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Key Topics: Adobe’s Shantanu Narayen

Adobe has identified that digital transformation will drive its customer experience improvement. According to its CEO Shantanu Narayen, Adobe;s primary focus in 2019 has been re-imagining the customer journey and developing a cross-platform experience for its customers.


Adobe's Challenge

Adobe's Solution

  • Adobe had to transform its operations model to remain innovative and improve customer experience. Adobe identified that it had to re-imagine the customer journey for the customer.
  • First, Adobe changed its operational model to become a subscription-based business. Within this model, it would develop innovative software much faster, which significantly improved customer experience. Secondly, Adobe focused on collecting data on customer intent to deliver the personalized user experience.
  • Adobe developed a data-driven operating model (DDOM) as the single source of truth on the customer journey including product discovery, trying, buying, use, and renewal. DDOM provides a common portal for evaluating the customer journey, metrics, and goals.

Shantanu Narayen Quotes

  • “Our success has been predicated on the core belief that digital transformation starts by re-imagining the entire customer journey.”
  • "Measuring our progress, measuring our success, and perhaps most challenging of all, scaling the processes and personalizing the journey, not just for one customer, but for tens of millions of customers."
  • "The idea is to give customers the right offer at the right time. Customer engagement, particularly in the subscription business, is about driving lifetime value. At Adobe we like to say -customer- retention is growth.
  • “We decided to turn our multi-billion dollar creative business on its head. [We wanted to be] innovative and offer fast updates, ditch the boxes, and move to a subscription-based business model, and in an entirely new way to reach our customers with creative platforms.”
  • “We’ve built a DDOM dashboard that now is a single source of truth that has democratized [our] data and shifted the discussion … with all stakeholders across the world [focusing] on insights and actions.”


Adobe's Challenge

  • Innovation is growing at an unprecedented scale and directions. Despite the progress, customers are demanding to access multiple products within the same platform. Importantly, customers are interested in having their data on multiple platforms to inform better insights and decisions.

Adobe's Solution

  • To improve customer experience in using its software, Adobe has championed a cross-platform approach. In this pursuit, Adobe partnered with ServiceNow, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and SAP in 2019.
  • Adobe enhanced and launched new products that integrate and promote a cross-platform approach. Among Adobe's innovation in cross-platform customer experience, pivot includes the innovation of the Adobe Experience Cloud to deliver cross=platform workflow integrations and real-time intelligence. Such software innovations result in a seamless and frictionless cross-platform customer experience.

Shantanu Narayen Quotes

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Key Topics: Google’s Sundar Pichai

Some topics in the digital experience/customer experience management technology space that Google's Sundar Pichai focuses on include quantum supremacy, harmful content on YouTube, and Google products.

Quantum Supremacy

  • In a company blog post and an article on Nature, Google researchers made a declaration of being the first to achieve Quantum Supremacy.
  • In his interview with MIT Technology Review, Sundar Pichai was asked why he was excited about this innovation, saying, "Google wouldn't be here today if it weren't for the evolution we have seen in computing over the years..... Quantum computing is one of the many components by which we will continue to make progress in computing."
  • When asked if there were any other technologies he was excited about, Sundar Pichai stated, "For me, just as a person, radically better ways to generate clean, renewable energy have a lot of potential... I would also say AI itself—the next generation of AI breakthroughs, new algorithms, better generalizable models, transfer learning, etc., are all equally exciting to me."

Harmful Content on YouTube

  • According to Sundar Pichai, YouTube recently made notable alterations to the company's hate speech policies. In Q1 2019, it deleted more than 9 million videos to diminish the dissemination of harmful content.
  • YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, has faced widespread condemnation for the supremacist and controversial content being transmitted through the platform.
  • According to Sundar Pichai, one of the ways Google wants to remove harmful content from YouTube is by ranking quality, stating "We, you know, we rank content based on quality. And so we are bringing that same notion and approach to YouTube so that we can rank higher quality stuff better and really prevent borderline content..."
  • The bottom line, according to Sundar Pichai, is that excluding and removing hate content is a complex computer problem. He states, "It's also a hard societal problem because we need better frameworks around what is hate speech, what's not, and how do we as a company make those decisions at scale, and get it right without making mistakes."

Google Products

  • As mentioned by Sundar Pichai, Google has a variety of new innovations that have either just been produced or will soon be produced that would enable search to be more precise and elaborate, such as the introduction of podcasts into Google search, along with an augmented reality and computer vision camera.
  • Sundar Pichai believes that podcasts are a source of attaining information, stating, "By indexing podcasts, we can surface relevant episodes based on their content, not just the title. And you can tap to listen right in search results, or you can save an episode for listening later on your commute or your Google Home."
  • Sundar Pichai states that Google will soon launch a new feature in maps, stating, "We are excited about new features launched in maps, including detailed voice guidance, while walking that will make it possible for people who are vision impairments or are blind to get around more easily."
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Key Topics: Salesforce’s Mark Benioff

Marc Benioff has been on the forefront of innovation and advancement of customer experience of CRM in 2019. Particularly, his focus has been on Customer 360 for the harmonization of multi-platform customer data in order to generate improved insights as well as blockchain for the development of collaboration within trusted environments.



  • In late 2018, Salesforce launched "Customer 360." Under the Customer 360 focus, Salesforce intends to bolster the customer experience by mapping customer data across all their multiple clouds. Customers receive higher data access that can better inform their decisions.
  • Salesforce has been on an acquisition spree over the last six years that has confirmed its position as the global CRM market leader. The acquisitions have brought in multiple cloud interfaces and Customer 360 is Salesforce focus on creating an integrated cloud and user experience for its customers.

Benioff's Insight on the topic

  • In 2019, Customer 360 has been a key customer experience focus topic for Marc Benioff. He has anchored it as a key growth pillar of Salesforce in its quest to have a better customer experience.
  • According to Benioff, Customer 360 will increase user data access, which on analysis with Salesforce's artificial intelligence, intuitive analytics, and visualization platform will deliver better insights to customers.


  • After the acquisition of Tableau, he noted, "Together @tableau & @Salesforce Einstein creates the most intelligent, intuitive analytics & visualization platform for every department, every use case, every user at every company! Accelerating the Customer 360 dream!"
  • On 2019 Q1 Earnings call, he said, We have a powerful vision for the future with our intelligent Customer 360, which gives our B2B and our B2C customers unified 360-degree views of their customers across every touchpoint: from sales to service to marketing to commerce to community and more."
  • On the 2019 Q1 Earnings call, he said, This Customer 360 vision that’s been so well articulated by our product organization is really driving tremendous opportunity at the highest levels in these customers, and we believe every company needs to have this Customer 360 capability. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in—even the federal government—it’s just a tremendous driving force."
  • On 2019 Q1 Earnings call, he said, “We’ve pivoted our entire company into something that we call Customer 360 ... It’s a pretty hard pivot for a company ... we’re so excited about this opportunity ... Because our customers want us to help them take everything they’re doing in regards to their customers—data from their sales systems, service, marketing, customer journeys, commerce, customer-engagement systems, apps they’re building, APIs for developers, all the analytics, the custom applications by industry, the communities, the learning and the reskilling and the employee experience as well—and bring it all together for them.”



  • Since 2018, Salesforce has had an interest in using the blockchain to deliver greater customer experience. Salesforce has identified the blockchain as a tool that will deliver increased customer collaboration within a trusted environment.
  • In 2018, Salesforce joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance whose focus is on using the blockchain to improve supply chains.
  • In the development of the technology at Salesforce, the company's focus has been keen on abstracting the complexity of the technology to ensure that clients will have ease in developing blockchain applications.
  • Salesforce launched its blockchain product in 2019: Blockchain Builder for building Blockchain applications; Blockchain Connect for integrating blockchain with other Salesforce applications; Blockchain Engage for inviting third parties to blockchain application. Salesforce's Block chain developer was initially released to select developers before mass roll out in 2020.

Benioff's Insight on the topic

  • Initially, Benioff wondered whether blockchains would have any benefit to customers. His perception changed when Salesforce launched a survey of 100 customers. The survey indicated that blockchain would enhance B2C and B2B interactions through enhancing collaboration in a trusted environment.


  • On 28 May 2019, Benioff posted "Every Salesforce Trailblazer is now a Blockchain developer & every salesforce app has Blockchain. Just as Salesforce platform went mobile, social, AI, Voice & now blockchain! Blockchain now available natively in Salesforce! Learn Blockchain! #CodeGoals"
  • "That has been so important for our customers because just as we've infused these Einstein AI capabilities across our entire product line and made Einstein Voice and also Einstein Vision capabilities available to every Salesforce app, we're now doing this exact same thing with another critical technology for our customers, which is blockchain," Benioff said.
  • "It's the world's first declarative blockchain service solution and it's built in deeply now into all of our apps," Benioff explained. "It's built natively on our platform, enabling customers to easily create blockchain applications through simple drag-and-drop as they can with every other Salesforce app."
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Key Topics: Microsoft's Satya Nadella

Some topics related to digital experience technology that Satya Nadella focuses on include increasing tech intensity and leveraging conversational AI bots for businesses to improve customer experience.

Increasing Tech Intensity

  • Tech intensity can be defined as the rate of adoption of technology for an organization and its capacity to develop digital capability of its own.
  • It can also be defined as a unification of business techniques and cultural mindset "that rewards the development and propagation of digital capabilities that create end-to-end digital feedback loops, tear down data silos and unleash information flows to trigger insights and predictions, automated workflows and intelligent services."
  • Satya Nadella believes that tech intensity is pertinent to economic expansion, both globally and in a nation. He states that "countries with higher tech penetration rates, or "intensity of use," are much better positioned to build their own technology," which "enables governments to provide better services to citizens, large businesses in those countries to be more competitive, and small businesses and entrepreneurs to be more productive."
  • Nadella writes that for countries to foster tech intensity, they must prioritize table stakes, such as wide access to connectivity, a workforce trained to efficiently utilize technology, and a leadership by example in establishing particular tech abilities that facilitate more efficiency and allows them to offer first-rate services to consumers.
  • Therefore, this means improved services to the customer, who in this case is a citizen, with governments serving as the service providers.
  • Nadella states, "organizations that embrace this approach — something I call “tech intensity” — will not only adopt best-in-class software and services but also build their own digital capability."
  • A case study would be Microsoft's partnership with TD Bank Group (TD) on the Microsoft Azure, of which he says, "Every financial services company today has an incredible opportunity to apply advances in cloud and AI to redefine every aspect of their business from the customer experience to risk management and trading."
  • He further explains the benefits of the partnership to TD in terms of customer experience and increased rate of adaptation to their changing needs by saying, "Our strategic relationship will enable TD to deliver on its vision to build the bank of the future with the power of Azure, our trusted cloud, to quickly adapt and respond to changing customer needs."

Leveraging AI Through Conversational Apps

  • A conversational app on a digital platform, also known as a chatbot, is defined as "a computer program that simulates human conversation through voice commands or text chats or both."
  • It is a feature of artificial intelligence (AI) capable of being installed and employed through via a messaging application.
  • Nadella believes that the online customer conversation contain vital pieces of data that both developers and companies can utilize to their advantage.
  • Nadella has recognized chat as serving as the 'third run-time' as it is a necessary part of managing a platform, behind the web browser and operating system.
  • On his Twitter account, Nadella states, "Seeing AI is an example of how AI can transform everyday life for people with disabilities. The app narrates the world for people who are blind or have low vision, turning the visual world into an audible experience."
  • In an interview with McKinsey, Nadella expresses his excitement about AI technology assisting with inclusivity. He states that Eye Gaze included in the most recent Windows' release, which enables individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, to type using their gaze. Windows has implemented learning tools in OneNote and Word that permit individuals with dyslexia to enhance their reading.

Research Strategy:

To identify some of the topics Satya Nadella focuses on, we performed direct searches on platforms with relevant information on him and his take on digital experience management technology such as interviews, news pieces, and opinion articles involving him. We explored news websites such as CRN, business websites like NS Business and LinkedIn, and social networking sites such as Twitter. Additionally, we consulted management consulting firms such as McKinsey & Company, as well as AI reports websites like CB Insights.

For the definition of terms, we searched investing and finance expert websites such as Investopedia. Also, we explored business magazines like Forbes and NS Business for definitions of tech intensity. Both sources are dated earlier than 2019, and they were best suited to provide the definitions as the term was fairly new at the time. The definitions were therefore more elaborate and captured the undiluted essence of what Nadella was communicating.
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Trends: Digital/Customer Experience Management

A current theme or topic that the media is focusing on in the digital/customer experienced management space includes the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve customer service and experience. Other themes include the use of voice to boost customer experience, personalized experience through digital and digital transformation.

Artificial Intelligence and Customer Experience

  • According to Forbes media, artificial intelligence is a digital technology that is infiltrating every industry. It is a technology that allows vehicles to navigate highways without drivers; it also assists doctors with medical diagnoses and also mimics the way humans speak. It has an authentic and exciting way of transforming several tasks that computers can perform and also has a lot of hype.
  • According to Core DNA, one of the digital customer experience topics/trends to watch for by 2020 include the use of artificial intelligence to boost customer experience.
  • According to ZD Net, artificial intelligence and machine learning will trend in 2020. Organizations are currently investing more in AI capabilities to improve customer service/experience, reduce human bias, and increase productivity
  • According to Kyle Kennedy, the president, as well as the chief operating officer, COPC Inc., "AI-powered solutions will find their appropriate place" within the customer service journey to boost personalized customer experiences.
  • According to Randy Wootton, the CEO of Percolate in a recent Forbes publication, about 91% of brands are using "automation and artificial intelligence to improve their customer service programs."
  • A Forbes media article on artificial intelligence and its impact on customer experience is accessible via this link.
  • A ZD Net media article on artificial intelligence and customer experience is accessible via this link.

Digital, Voice and Customer Experience

  • Voice technologies such as voice assistant technology include voice solutions used to make products and services available through headless e-commerce and also boost customer experiences across a broad range of platforms. It consists of the use of voice-enabled speakers. Today, customers can access their bank accounts by using simple voice commands.
  • One of the digital customer experience topics/trends to watch for by 2020 include the use of digital with voice technology to boost customer experience.
  • ZD Net recently interviewed Michael Maoz, the senior vice president of Innovation Strategy with Salesforce (Salesforce is the world's most significant CRM software and services provider). According to Moaz, emotion and voice detection technologies aimed at measuring tone and sentiment, as well as other voice-driven systems are playing a vital role in designing better customer experiences.
  • According to the Forbes media web resource, an American startup is making a voice-enabled digital assistant that helps doctors to take notes as well as fill in electronic documents/records in real-time. Doctors using the platform reveal an average of 76% reduction in the time spent to complete clinical notes.
  • According to CEO Punit Soni, the digital assistant produced by the American startup goes "far beyond" the regular voice-to-text software. It recognizes context and is "becoming more personalized the more doctors use it." The platform (Suki) was born to bring joy back to medicine (boost user experience).
  • A ZD Net media article on digital, voice, and customer experience is accessible via this link.
  • A Forbes article on digital, voice, and customer experience is accessible via this link.
  • A recent Core DNA publication on the future of voice-activated solutions is accessible via this link.

Digital Transformation

  • One of the digital customer experience trends to watch for by 2020 includes the implementation of digital transformation by companies to boost customer experience. At least seven trends to boost consumer/customer experience will revolve around the topic of digital transformation.
  • According to Randy Wootton, the CEO of Percolate, through a recent Forbes publication, there is some hype around artificial intelligence-powered automation in a manner that is white-hot "and overblown." However, "there are also real signs of [digital] transformation."
  • According to Forbes, by the end of 2019, two-thirds of global CEOs would be focusing on digital strategies aimed at improving the customer experience of their brands, while about 34% of companies have already undergone a digital transformation to boost customer experience.
  • "Digitization" (digital transformation) of the healthcare experience can simplify the consumer's experience. This insight is credited to Geeta Wilson, the founder, and CEO of Consumer Society. Obviously, the linchpin (the important thing) in this digital transformation is a modernized "way of thinking about health data."
  • A Forbes media article with about 40 statistics on digital transformation relative to the customer experience is accessible via this link.
  • A Forbes media article on the relevance of digital transformation in boosting customer experience within the healthcare sector is accessible via this link.
  • A recent ZD Net media article on digital transformation and customer experience is accessible via this link.

Digital and Personalized Experience

  • Personalized experiences through digital innovations such as AI and machine learning, increased bandwidth, and the tracking of consumer data are topics that will continue to trend in 2020.
  • According to ZD Net, customers are "expecting highly personalized experiences" from companies. One of the reasons companies are increasing their investments in AI is to boost customer experience by promoting personalized experiences.
  • AI helps in the design and provision of personalized offers as well as promotions. About fifty-three percent (53%) of consumers are ready to grant retailers access to track their shopping data/behavior within and outside stores so that they can get personalized offers and promotions.
  • Forbes has some recent articles on digital and personalized experiences. According to Kyle Kennedy, the president, and chief operating officer, COPC Inc., "customers still want that personal interaction." This personalized interaction is achievable through the use of digital technologies such as AI.
  • According to Randy Wootton, the CEO of Percolate, "personalized, real-time customer service" is quickly becoming mainstream. Randy Wootton has been a leader as well as a strategic innovator within the marketing technology industry for more than 20 years.
  • A Forbes article on the personalization of healthcare through digital to boost consumer experience is accessible via this link.
  • A Forbes media article on digital and personalization relative to the customer experience is accessible via this link.
  • A recent ZD Net media article on digital, personalization, and customer experience is accessible via this link.

Research Strategy

The research examined current themes/topics in the digital/customer experienced management space, that specifically relate to technological innovation. Resources reviewed include Core DNA web, Forbes, Future of Work (FOW) Media, ZD Net, and other publications. Core DNA is more than a customer experience platform. The company delivers media content vital to "digital executives and digital agencies" via email every week. Forbes is an American business magazine that is published bi-weekly.

FOW media is a publication that focuses on the future of work. It publishes articles on how people work at the moment, and what is expected in the future. FOW is relevant to people, technology, as well as data, are driving things. The study has included only insights identified to be trending now and will remain in focus by 2020. The study consists of only insights that appear across a plethora of resources. It also includes the comments of industry executives. In line with regular conventions, words added to a quotation to improve clarity have "square brackets around the changed form." The study includes only current themes or topics that several media publications currently focus on in the digital/customer experience. Various media resources verify these themes or topics as topics that will remain trendy beyond 2020. The study assumes that more media coverage will continue to discuss themes identified to have an impact on the customer experience industry in 2020 and beyond.

From Part 04
  • "Seeing AI is an example of how AI can transform everyday life for people with disabilities. The app narrates the world for people who are blind or have low vision, turning the visual world into an audible experience."
  • "The online customer conversation is "perhaps one of the most important pieces of data" for businesses and developers to harness"
  • "Organizations that embrace this approach — something I call “tech intensity” — will not only adopt best-in-class software and services but also build their own digital capability."
  • "One of the things I am most excited about is AI technology helping with inclusivity. For example, in the latest release of Windows, we have something called Eye Gaze, which allows anybody who is suffering from ALS [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis] to be able to type just with their gaze. We have learning tools inside of Word and OneNote that allow anyone with dyslexia to improve their reading."
  • "The necessity of tech intensity in today’s digital world.."