COVID-19 has proven that going digital, especially with your Forms, is a must-have. Whether it is a simple COVID-19 declaration form from your employees or more complex forms such as new employee onboarding forms, plain old printed forms are not going to cut it. In fact, printed forms are also arcane. Fillable PDF forms have been around for a while and Adobe Acrobat DC from Adobe’s Document Cloud solution helps to a certain degree. But organizations that truly want to embrace a post covid, modern, digital forms automation solution need to take it a step further.
In this blog we discuss how Adobe Forms, also known as AEM Forms takes on light-weights like Google Forms and does it better. We will discuss 10 features that AEM Adaptive Forms offer and how it helps organizations truly live up to a modern, digitized environment that customers and employees alike appreciate.
Simplicity in creating forms and making them available easily for your users is an essential feature for a forms builder application. In that sense, Google Forms makes it super-easy, with standar fields. But so does AEM Adaptive Forms. And like Google Forms, AEM Adaptive Forms provides easy drag-drop features to add various field types and adjust the layout. But what if your form layout needs to change based on screen size – like on a mobile device vs a large desktop? And what if you have dozens of forms that need to re-use form fields (like say, the address field)? AEM Adaptive Forms makes it simple to create simple as well as not-so-simplistic forms.
With Adobe’s Adaptive Forms, you can build forms that simultaneously suit your desktop user and a mobile user. You can drag-drop simple fields, groups of fields, rich-text fields, signature fields, image and document upload fields and much more with ease. Can Google Forms do that? Google lets you get started real quick, but you hit road-blocks once you start adding features.
“There’s no way that company exists in a year.” ~ Tom Siebel, Founder of Siebel CRM Systems, speaking about Salesforce.com
We all know where Siebel is now vs Salesforce. And it is inevitable where the future of computing is. Technology and services are migrating to the Cloud. Predictions otherwise have proven to be dead wrong.
Customers of Adobe’s Marketing Cloud products – now rebranded as Adobe Experience Cloud (rightfully in our opinion), have stayed with the trend. Adobe’s customers using Experience Cloud products such as AEM and Adobe Campaign – which were traditionally on-premise systems are increasingly upgrading to Adobe’s Cloud hosted services.
There are several advantages to migrating to Adobe’s Cloud hosted solution. The primary advantage is the ability for customers to create a comprehensive, omni-channel digital presence that is contextually aware- regardless of the customer’s journey. The customer can now be on their mobile phone, desktop, a kiosk or a retail center, etc., and brands have the expertise to interact intelligently. The advantages of a cohesive customer interaction cannot be over stated, but these are covered in other articles, and not the current topic for this post.
Adobe Managed Services (AMS) is an Azure or AWS Cloud hosted environment, with Adobe’s technical staff managing the servers on behalf of their customers. This reduces the burden for managing, upgrading and maintaining the core servers while giving customers to focus on application level features.
In that light, Upgrading to Adobe Managed Service (AMS) – which is a Cloud based service unlike traditional on-premise application, makes a lot of sense. However it takes some care before moving in this direction. So here are the 7 common mistakes that are often made by enterprise organizations when moving to AMS, that you should avoid!
Not simplifying your DevOps lifecycle prior to AMS / Cloud Manager Upgrade
If you are like most on-premise Adobe Experience Cloud customer, you are likely using some form of Git repository – GitHub, BitBucket, etc., along with a customized Continuous Integration Systems such as Jenkins.
As your applications grow in both numbers and complexity there is often a need to create custom jobs and processes using these CI-CD tools. While some enhancements to your deployments are well thought of, there could always be add-ons, plugins and fast-forward approaches taken to perhaps, meet some deadlines. Well, this is the time to re-think your deployment processes – lack of which will result in some very expensive project failures.
When moving to Adobe Managed Services, not only do you host your AEM (and maybe Adobe Campaign) servers on the Cloud, but are you also required to migrate your CI-CD processes to Adobe’s CloudManager. As powerful as it is, CloudManager is built with pre-defined pipelines in mind. It is certainly possible to customize the various tasks within a CloudManager pipeline, but it does not necessarily provide the same flexibility as your on-premise Jenkins implementation.
So, one of the first few steps towards a successful AMS migration is to simplify your CI-CD Pipeline.
Not architecting around a multi-tenancy platform
It is not uncommon for a large organization to have multiple web properties and web applications within the same Adobe Experience Manager eco-system. Perhaps multiple web applications within AEM that are integrated to both up-stream (like retail POS, CRM) and down-stream systems (like Adobe Target). It is also not uncommon for each of these applications to be de-coupled systems with their own integrations, internal implementation architectures. Well, to gain efficiencies you need to consider moving to common platforms, services and authoring systems such as a common Component library.
Upgrading to AMS and taking advantage of the entire Adobe Experience Cloud eco-system that can track your customer journey end-to-end, requires consolidating siloed systems into a common platform. Sort-of like multiple tenants within an apartment complex. Just like a real estate apartment complex provides common rules and services within which tenants need to work – to reduce costs and gain efficiency, considering applications to be tenants within a platform provides the same advantages.
When upgrading to AMS, re-aligning to a multi-tenant architecture goes a long way in your organization’s ability to map your customer’s journey and take meaningful actions. Multi-tenancy is the mantra for being nimble and manage your customer journey.
Underestimating a Cloud Migration upgrade
I don’t think there is anyone out there who believes that migrating from on-premise to any type of Cloud service is a breeze. That said, AEM, Analytics, Demdex (Audience Manager) and Neolane (Campaign )applications have their own differences between their on-prem and cloud versions. For example, AEM on AMS cannot be an old version of AEM. As of this writing your web application on AEM needs to be compatible with AEM 6.4 SP2 before migrating to AEM on AMS.
Not utilizing best practices of a Cloud platform upgrade
As an organization if you are currently working with a solutions partner with prior experience with AMS, take their advice. If you haven’t, well, it makes sense to work with one who has. Working with an experienced partner with experience makes all the difference between success and failure!
For example –
Choosing between AWS vs Azure for the underlying cloud platform
Factor in the right tag management framework – Adobe Launch vs Adobe DTM
Choosing between Adobe Campaign Standard vs Classic and integration model with AEM
Should you get Adobe Assets or if you should use out of box Digital Asset Management system (DAM) of AEM
What’s a better approach – Lift-and-shift or Re-platform?
Is this upgrade an opportunity to also implement Adobe Audience Manager?
These are all important questions not to be neglected during a AMS migration.
Choosing an improper AMS Level of Service
Adobe Managed Services currently comes in two flavors
We have seen customers buy more than they need and thereby spending unnecessary dollars that could have been used in other marketing efforts. On the flip side, we have also seen customers who have not purchased the right level of service that satisfies their experience roadman. Depending on the maturity of your technical staff, complexity of your application, your roadmap, etc., it is imperative that the right level of service be chosen.
Not re-aligning resources for a Cloud Platform
Migrating to AMS is not just a shift in where your technology is hosted, but also a shift in what technology frameworks to use. A shift in technology or in process, needless to say, requires retraining of your resources.
For example –
Upgrading AEM requires a different skillset than supporting an existing AEM application
Customizing Jenkins as a Continuous Integration platform requires a different skillset than managing Adobe’s CloudManager
Administering Google Tag Manager is quite different from managing Adobe Tag Manager or Adobe Launch
Each Data Management Platform (DMP) Platform, including Adobe’s Audience Manager, has it’s own challenges and technical skill requirements
All these factors require a shift in your resource skill set – either by providing additional training or hiring new staff.
Neglecting to include AMS Support within your end-to-end support model
If you are like any mature organization, your application development staff is not the same as your support team. And support teams work across applications and teams. While your core Adobe related applications move to the Cloud and you have support from Adobe Managed Services, your support staff need to work with Adobe’s staff and processes to make sure you have meaningful support across your own application ecosystem. It is therefore necessary to re-align your processes and application support touch points between your various systems to ensure there is a continuous hand-off during troubleshooting.
And this is just the start. There is more to be aware of! Give us a shout to learn more…
May 21, 2018 is a big day for Adobe. It announced it’s purchase of Magento Commerce for 1$1.6B, and the stock market responded with enthusiasm. Shopify – Magento’s competitor, saw it’s shares sink and Adobe’s valuation go up. An indication that investors see this as the right move. Is a good investment strategy for Adobe, also a good investment for Adobe’s existing customer base? Should customers using Adobe’s Experience Cloud also choose Magento as their Commerce Solution? Is there a synergy between the products now that they are both under the same umbrella? These are some of the questions that customers should be asking and evaluate their choices carefully.
No doubt, with this acquisition, Adobe adds a significant product line to it’s Experience Cloud platform -and fills a long overdue gap in it’s portfolio of offerings. We have seen customers integrate Experience Cloud products – especially AEM and Analytics with SAP Hybris, Elastic Path and also Magento (prior to the acquisition news). Technically, all these eCommerce integrations involve setting up OSGi properties within AEM and deploying the appropriate AEM bundles. However, most realistic, production ready Digital Engagement + Commerce systems require a lot more strategy and implementation effort beyond just connecting the two systems together. The integrations involve two loosely coupled systems with very little context-awareness between the systems. Add to that these integrations cost a lot with prolonged development lifecycles.
With this acquisition, it appears that Adobe is also addressing a key frustration that is inherent to customers implementing a Digital Engagement+ Commerce solution. If Adobe provides a seamless integration between it’s Marketing Cloud products and Magento Commerce – perhaps by expanding Adobe I/O Commerce integration platform specifically for Magento’s own eco-system, it will be a great step in the right direction for both Adobe Customers and Partners alike! However, if the technical integration is very peripheral (like it is currently) and the future integration with Experience Cloud has long implementation cycles, customers are bound to be frustrated. Only time will tell how successful this marriage will turn out!
To evaluate if Adobe Marketing Cloud + Magento Commerce is the right solution for you, just drop us a line and we will bring our experience to your strategy.
Pardon our saucy title, but Adobe’s 2018 Summit was all about increasing a brand’s customer base. Whether it’s enhancing your customer’s digital experience, seamlessly tracking customer/visitor behavior or converting anonymous users to loyal customers, there was a session to cover it. Which is what makes this annual conference a very rich experience in itself for marketers around the globe.
With 332 sessions – ranging from sessions on digital strategy to tactically tying together Audience Manager, Analytics and Campaign into a single solution, there was a session for the techies and business folks alike.
No single person can attend all the sessions. Luckily for Adobe Solutions Partners like Autowoven – the Partner Day provided a huge opportunity to review the product roadmap and vision ahead of time. Many attendees we met had come in groups – with team members attending different tracks and sessions simultaneously – very smart!
Among all the sessions, labs and strategy sessions, there were a few key takeaways:
Adobe continues to emphasize that the (customer) Experience economy, driven by Adobe Experience Manager is the future of digital experience transformation.
A new Experience Cloud ID Service (aka People Service) that can connect real-time analytics, segments and experiences with legacy customer touch points. This is the key for unifying today’s multi-channel, multi-device customer profiles.
Hello Watson, meet Adobe Sensei – Adobe’s AI technology! Adobe predicts Sensei will drive automated experience curation among other tasks.
Migrating to Adobe’s Cloud hosted platforms while taking care of security and privacy, will take the pain away from on-premise hosting.
Let’s talk about how Adobe approached each of the above hot topics:
Also called Customer Centricity or Single Customer View (SCV), a 360-degree view of your customers is probably the single most important aspect of Enterprise Marketing.
The Business need for SCV
Today’s enterprise organizations have a need to understand their customers at a personal, individual level to keep up with customer expectations. Traditional mass-market approaches are proven to be less effective for several reasons:
Today’s customers have access to multiple media and market channels and unless organizations market in all such channels, they will be at a disadvantage.
Customers have more choices today and expect more personalized and consistent experiences
Brands cannot compete on price alone because of low margins, so organizations must compete on experience and better service.
How should Organizations adapt?
To stay ahead of their competitions, organizations need to adapt to meet the business challenge. To become a customer-centric and experience-focussed brands require a new approach to marketing. This involves:
Stop organizing around product lines and break down organizational silos. Personalized, consistent experiences have to follow the customer’s experience end to end, and an organization structured in silos cannot achieve such expectations.
Let Information flow across the organization by breaking down Information Silos.
Get granular in how customer traits are analyzed and segmented
Use real-time and historical context to engage in interactive marketing.
Use Technology tools such as Adobe Audience Manager, Adobe Target, Adobe Analytics, Adobe Campaign and AEM to analyze, segment and target your customers.
An Adobe reference model for achieving SCV
So, how can enterprise organizations implement Adobe tools to achieve the customer-centric marketing approach?
So your friendly marketing executive calls to say he needs a Vanity URL for a page on your AEM hosted site. And you cringe. How do you get this done right without getting penalized by Search Engines? Should you do this at the Load Balancer level? Within AEM Dispatcher configurations? within AEM Publish instance? What about horizontal replication of these configurations? And oh, who’s going to maintain this? It’s not like your Dev Ops team is necessarily twiddling their thumbs waiting for work.
This post will address a few different ways to accomplish Vanity URLs within an Adobe AEM implementation and discuss some pros and cons.