Adobe CEO Is Bullish On Experience Cloud, But Investors Question Loss Of Key Exec

Adobe is betting big on Experience Cloud, which houses all of its marketing, analytics and advertising solutions, as a major growth area for its business.

“All the meetings that [we] have, whether it’s with CEOs, CMOs or CIOs, they’re absolutely reflecting the urgency of digital engagement and an appetite to work with Adobe,” CEO Shantanu Narayen said Thursday during the company’s Q4 and 2018 earnings call.

Adobe’s revenue from Experience Cloud grew 34% year over year to $743 million in Q4, with subscription revenue hitting a record $612 million. New client wins included NBCUniversal, Bass Pro Shops, WebMD and HSBC. Overall Q4 revenue at Adobe clocked in at $2.6 billion.

The Experience Cloud business is operating at north of a $3 billion run rate and is “very clearly a large and growing opportunity for Adobe,” Narayen said. His personal involvement with the unit highlights the opportunity Adobe sees in providing digital marketing and customer experience solutions for enterprise clients.

But investors on the call were skeptical about the January exit of Brad Rencher, who was EVP and GM of digital experience and had set the vision and strategy for Adobe’s digital marketing initiatives since he joined in 2009.

Adobe, however, is in no rush to replace Rencher with just anyone.

“I think the scale and the momentum of that business … allows us the luxury of attracting world-class executives and growing internal talent,” Narayen said. “The direct involvement that I have and the alignment of the entire organization is frankly allowing us to operate at a faster pace.”

Investors were also curious about Experience Cloud’s integrations with ecommerce marketing platform Magento, which Adobe bought for $1.68 billion in July 2018, and B2B platform Marketo, which it paid a whopping $4.75 billion for in September 2018. In the Marketo deal – the biggest in Adobe’s history – it paid almost triple Marketo’s value to enter the B2B space.

Adobe is integrating Magento and Marketo where appropriate and cross-selling Magento to Experience Cloud customers, who want a single point of access for all of their enterprise communications needs as they embark on digital transformation. Adobe did not break out revenue specifically for Magento or Marketo.

“So many of these customers are already customers of other Adobe solutions,” Narayen said. “Having this really unified single message, single sales kickoff … is showing success. Having that one unified [team] running the business is definitely accelerating the integration and presenting a very unified view to the customer.”

But Narayen’s personal involvement and bullishness on Experience Cloud does not negate the other services Adobe provides for creative and digital document solutions, which are still a core focus for the company.

“We see so much opportunity across each of the three businesses, and we’re investing in all three,” he said.

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