Will Adobe win by forcing its clients to the cloud?

This week we have Brad Rencher, the senior VP and GM for digital marketing at Adobe, here in Australia pushing the new Adobe Creative cloud. I had the good fortune of hearing him speak about what cloud computing, and especially Adobe’s version, has to offer.

Funny thing is he seemed to be quoting my article of March 24, 2011, where I posed the question, “Why will developers force us to the cloud, and when?

So now they offer a flat fee for their entire creative suite at just $50 per month and tell us it is a 40% saving on buying the whole suite. With this, they offer to store your work in their cloud so you don’t have to worry about storage and backup of your data.

For creative types this is a fantastic offer, as they can sit down at any device in their office or at a client site or at the park and instantly gain access to the entire history of their work. No more looking for which hard drive they stuck that piece of work on.

Of course as this reality unfolds the creative people in our community will join the voices of the technical community asking for faster NBN sooner. Perhaps they have been calling for it for a while so they can upload their work to clients faster. They will not be the last group of business people to be drawn to faster internet speeds.

According to Brad, the uptake of “The Creative Cloud” has been excellent and it is proving to be very popular as the $50 a month fee is a much lower barrier to entry than the full licence cost. This allows people starting out to just get on board and access a very powerful tool set without restrictions.

This levels the playing field between the big creative houses and the micro business in terms of availability of tools. Where is the Adobe print cloud that automatically directs you to the nearest provider of full colour digital printing, or should that be the nearest 3D printer these days?

Brad also mentioned the huge advantage of having only one up to date version of code to support, allowing them to innovate faster as they no longer had to worry about backwards compatibility.

Now my prediction is that the big companies who own a space like this will be able to really focus on feature development at a rate that traditional installed software companies cannot match. This will make them industry leaders that are very hard to topple.

However, not all of their clients will be able to follow them to the cloud due to privacy legislation or sovereignty issues based on where the data is stored around the globe. So there will also be opportunities for smaller competitors to claim a small part of the market share. This may be crumbs off the table to Adobe but it may be a big deal to an innovative small software company.

My suggestion is that if you want to own software and use it for years without upgrade and do not want to be on the software company’s gravy train, paying every month and paying the full price of the software every two or three years, now may be the time to find an up to date version of whatever you want to use and own it.

The alternative is to look for the benefits and innovation your company can get out of either using the cloud solutions or building or selling the alternative products. Any way you look at it, this is an environment of change which is creating opportunities to stand out from the crowd. Doing nothing about it is probably not the right business position.

I would love to hear what people think of the Adobe Creative Cloud. Is it raining on your parade or giving you universal access to build your own future success?

What does the cloud offer you?

David Markus is the founder of Combo – the IT services company that ensures IT is never an impediment to growth.



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