Adobe and AKQA: Driving change through digital

Monday 10 November 2014

Partnering with AKQA enables us to meet the demands of new all-digital consumers

We are living in times of great technology innovation where a new generation of consumers is rapidly transitioning to an all-digital world. What does an all-digital consumer base mean for businesses, and what are the repercussions for us as technologists? I think we all understand that it means we have to adapt that much faster in order to meet the demands of consumers who expect to interact with brands through their latest and greatest gadget or device on a personal level.

Industries that haven’t seen much change are ultimately the most ripe for disruption. Recent examples where major innovations have turned older technologies on their collective heads include, pedometers, taxi dispatch services and home fire alarm systems. In the past 24 months, we’ve seen major disruption in each of these areas with recent products and services offerings such as Nike FuelBand, Fitbit, Uber, Lyft and Nest. But the one single thing that unifies all of these disruptions is that the user or customer experience has fundamentally changed, and therefore so must we in order to meet the needs of these new consumers.

In some ways we can see this as an end of an era, where we don’t talk about IT in the industry just to optimize our backend processes; we talk about consumer engagement and the interactions we have with the end user. This consumer engagement layer is where we can make the biggest difference, and it’s where we can and must innovate in order to meet expectations and even delight our customers.

There are three main core paradigm shifts that underlie all of these innovations: Open, Cloud and Mobile.


The first core paradigm shift is all about being open and transparent with the source code. Building technology via open software development or open source is what provides transparency to customers as well as certainty and stability. The foundation of open source leads to extensibility, meaning that if a company needs to make a change, the open architecture will allow for changes and for the introduction of new systems. Open source is predicated on efforts by the entire industry on a specification or a standard in public before it’s ever implement so vendor or system changes don’t result in replacing everything you’ve invested in (e.g., training employees, the code you’ve written, etc).


Most people think cloud and think about their data centers and the economies of scale that come with them. Go back ten years and we stored our digital music as mp3 files. Today, people store their music in the cloud. We don’t talk about it as a file and we don’t know or really care how it’s formatted, we just want access to it whenever we choose. The single biggest thing that comes from cloud technology is elasticity. The elasticity enables a fundamental change of how software is being developed and leveraged.


Mobile is no longer just about your device; it’s about your experience. Mobile is growing exponentially while non-mobile is falling flat. If you haven’t eclipsed or embodied the mobile age, you will. Many people think they’ll never be able to do things on a tablet as fast as they can do them with their desktop computer and keyboard, but I promise you, we all will. It’s only a matter of time.

However, the big revolution in mobile is touch, not responsive design. Everything we’ve learned with a mouse and keyboard is irrelevant now. It’s why my nieces and nephews touch the TV screen and expect it to respond like a tablet and they think the TV is broken. It’s very hard to change your digital interactions, which have become so ingrained like a right click, etc. We have to re-envision the experience of a touch user to provide consumers with the kinds of experiences they really want.

To summarize, partnering with AKQA is enabling us together to meet the demands of these new all-digital consumers by providing the right experience, at the right time, on the right device. Embracing these three big, disruptive technology shifts (open, cloud and mobile) is a key part of how Adobe and AKQA are well positioned to help optimize personal experiences for our shared customers.

About The Author

As VP for Enterprise Technology, David Nuescheler leads product innovation and strategy for Adobe’s Enterprise products and brings his vast expertise in Web Experience Management to bear for Adobe’s comprehensive enterprise solution set. Nuescheler drives the Adobe enterprise technology vision and architecture and is responsible for the platform’s user experience and technology incubation.

Nuescheler joined Adobe through its acquisition of Day Software. He joined Day in 1994 and was instrumental in growing the company from a small multimedia agency to a leading enterprise content management software company.

He created the basic concept for the original Communiqué, now Adobe CQ5, and has guided product development to create a truly advanced content management and infrastructure platform. Nuescheler has led various international technical standardization initiatives and is a member of the Apache Software Foundation.

Nuescheler has been awarded for his work in standards and open source on various occasions including being nominated twice for the JCP Spec-Lead of the Year Award, Two Star-Spec Lead Awards and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the "Best of Swiss Web" Association.

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