An Approach to Adobe Marketing Cloud Implementation: People, Process, Platform In That Order

Digital Marketing | March 13, 2018

Enterprises can take a number of approaches when implementing the Adobe Marketing Cloud. After five years and dozens of enterprise implementations, I contend there is only one right way to approach an Adobe Marketing Cloud implementation.

People, Process, and Platform…in that order.

This is not just an opinion. It is a proven, orderly framework for successfully rolling out Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Here are the fundamentals supporting this approach.

Start with People

When I say start with people, I mean start with the people within the walls of an enterprise.

Some might say start with the end user, the customers interacting with the frontend user experience, though in my judgment they will always be cared for by the end of the project. You cannot throw a stone without hitting an agency subscribing to user-centric design principles, and users get plenty of attention through the frontend redesign effort.

In my experience, the right place to start is with the business users, marketers, and content authors who will ultimately be responsible for utilizing the Adobe Marketing Cloud to drive marketing campaigns and outcomes.

Consider the people first. Who are they? What are their roles? Their motivations? Their goals? What skills and training do they have or need? Do they know anything about Adobe Marketing Cloud? Were they involved in the decision to bring it in?

All of these questions will inform the overall implementation process. They will guide a better understanding of the need and potential for Adobe Marketing Cloud. They will inform understanding of the types of discussions that need to take place during discovery. They will inform the level and type of training needed to ensure successful application of the suite of tools available with Adobe Marketing Cloud.

In addition to these reasons, starting with people promotes overall platform adoption upon rollout. How many people within enterprises have been on the receiving end of an application rolled out suddenly and without much input from business stakeholders? An Adobe Marketing Cloud implementation should never be viewed in this context.

No matter the quality of the user experience design or the standards of development, if the people in the organization are not stoked about Adobe Marketing Cloud capabilities at launch then the initiative will face serious risks.

By focusing on people, the humans living and breathing inside of a thriving enterprise, one can quickly shine a light on the path to a successful implementation of Adobe Marketing Cloud and plant the seeds of ownership and excitement necessary for adoption to flourish.

Consider Processes Next

Having delved into the makeup of the people surrounding an Adobe Marketing Cloud implementation, the next task should be to understand the processes that those people use day in and day out to move marketing initiatives forward.

Organizations approaching a first-time implementation of a digital experience platform (DXP) like Adobe Marketing Cloud must recognize that there are two interfaces. In traditional digital projects, the frontend interface receives all the attention. When implementing a DXP, however, a great deal of attention should be paid to understanding how the business user interface and tools available should be used to support, improve and streamline processes.

In an instance where business processes are considered too late in the overall implementation, you will find an Adobe Marketing Cloud implementation with restricted abilities. The implementation may deliver a positive user experience and stable platform, though it will limit the ability of business users to make use of the tools to drive outcomes. The business will also have missed on opportunities to streamline or automate their way of working.

By giving early consideration to processes, such as campaign management, content workflows and approvals, reporting methods, and lead flow, an organization will speed time to value realization and yield a greater return on investment in Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Address the Platform Last

Only after people and processes are thoroughly understood should the focus turn to the technology, the platform, Adobe Marketing Cloud.

Now an implementation team can really assess how the platform should be set up, configured and integrated to support the business users within the organization, the processes they use to do their work, and the goals they aim to achieve.

When platform implementation decisions happen before considering the people and process, business users often find the tools configured in ways that inhibit function and process. This will lower enthusiasm for platform adoption, and often it results in a rework soon after launch.

In the excitement to launch an initial customer experience on Adobe Marketing Cloud, some teams might get excited to dive straight into the platform, hustling to get a new customer experience launched. This is a mistake. Teams should put priorities in order for a successful platform deployment, and that means putting the platform last. Address people first, then address process, and at last address the platform.

At iCiDIGITAL, we successfully implement Adobe Marketing Cloud following our recommended approach of People, Process, Platform, in that order. We can share our experience and success stories with you. Reach out to hear more about what our implementation plan for Adobe Marketing Cloud means for your business and marketing teams.

Heading to Adobe Summit? Stop by and talk about your plans for Adobe Marketing Cloud. We’ll be in booth #135.

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Mark Kelley is a member of the Executive Team at iCiDIGITAL. In his role as VP of Digital Engagement, he helps enterprise clients align marketing and ecommerce technology with business goals. He works with clients like Ingersoll Rand, NASCAR, and Panera.