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Microsoft & Adobe Get Serious

ms-adobeToday Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with Adobe making Azure the primary cloud platform for Adobe while integrating Marketing Cloud with Dynamics365, its combined CRM/ERP solution.

It’s all too easy to dismiss partnerships as little more than marketing ploys. For example, Oracle announced a ‘major’ partnership with Salesforce a couple of years back, and this was followed by Adobe announcing a ‘major’ partnership with SAP. Neither of these (like countless others) delivered much tangible value. But this partnership is more intriguing because it has the potential to be strategically significant for both Microsoft & Adobe by plugging obvious gaps in each firm’s product portfolio.

Microsoft has great productivity tools, data management and analysis platforms and robust business applications, but little in the way of marketing technology. Adobe has great Digital Marketing tools but a somewhat disjointed data and analytics story and no CRM or business applications of its own. Together, at least on paper, they have a digital transformation platform that can compete with Salesforce and Oracle head-on, while giving Adobe in-roads well beyond the marketing department. Similarly, Microsoft can rapidly close its CX gap with Salesforce & Oracle and get a foot in the marketing department.

Though this partnership is presently limited to Dynamics365, it should rattle cages at current Microsoft technology partners like Sitecore and an army of smaller ISV’s. Rumors of a potential Microsoft takeover of Adobe, which have been circulating for a while, now have fresh fuel.

Both sides tell us that they have already done a lot of integration work and gone so far as to plan a go-to-market strategy and combined channel initiatives. Of particular interest to Digital Clarity Group is the work the firms are now jointly undertaking to build a shared semantic data model to provide a platform for developers to create advanced analytics and AI capabilities.

The proof of how deep this romance goes will be measured over the coming year as customers are brought on board. In the meantime, it is certainly one to watch. Should Adobe & Microsoft follow up with a collective approach to eCommerce (something both sides of this deal lack) along with some market traction, things may get kind of interesting in the world of CX and CRM technology.


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