Q&A: How the IBM and Adobe Partnership Will Transform Customer Experience

IBM, Red Hat and Adobe have announced a strategic partnership to enable companies to deliver more personalized customer experiences that instill trust. IBM’s Senior Vice President for Global Markets, Bridget van Kralingen, who is responsible for all of IBM’s global strategic partnerships explains the intent, why it matters for clients, and how trust and technology flexibility can lead to competitive advantage.

What will IBM, Red Hat and Adobe offer together?
The aim is to help our clients, particularly those in heavily regulated industries such as financial services, gain more and faster value from data by enabling them to engage with their customers in ways they couldn’t before. Together we can offer our enterprise clients new ways to accelerate their digital customer-experience transformations and at the same time strengthen real-time data security. To do that, we’re bringing together IBM’s deep industry knowledge and technology innovation, Red Hat’s open standards approach to hybrid cloud and Adobe’s marketing expertise.

Why are IBM and Adobe partnering now?
Today, businesses across many industries, including banking and healthcare, are operating in an “experience first” world. By that I mean a world that puts the human being at the center and creates experiences that make their lives better—simpler, easier, more convenient, more delightful. Creating these experiences involves and creates quite a bit of data. That is why we see Chief Marketing and Chief Digital Officers becoming stewards of critical enterprise and customer information, a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic as ever more customer interactions move online.

However, with data comes responsibility, implications around trust, regulatory and security compliance, and ethics. This partnership is about helping enterprise clients achieve an experience-first approach, while at the same time safeguarding data. As we do that, we drive more thoughtful customer experiences, which translates into more profitable businesses for our clients.

How do you expect this partnership to work in practice?
We want to give clients the flexibility and safety to host, access and leverage data in the environment of their choice. Take financial services as an example. The way these institutions manage, use, share and protect information as they deliver meaningful customer experiences is of paramount importance. They are balancing a desire to deliver unique and compelling interactions while navigating crucial regulatory controls and a vastly complex compliance landscape that can hinder digital innovation.

This is why we established the IBM Cloud for Financial Services, the first cloud in the world to offer the highest security and regulatory compliance specifically for banks and other financial institutions. The IBM and Adobe collaboration means that clients can choose to deploy Adobe Experience Manager from the IBM Cloud for Financial Services or—thanks to Red Hat OpenShift’s open, hybrid-cloud approach—they can opt for any hybrid cloud environment, from multiple public clouds to on-premise data centers.

In practical and general terms, marketing organizations within financial services organizations will be able to easily deploy data-driven marketing for competitive advantage. An asset and investment management firm could personalize content and reimagine its digital experience to unify its global presence—while taking into account the need to achieve regulatory compliance. Content could be localized and customized by region, language and investor types. These kinds of enhancements allow a firm to make faster, data-driven decisions by giving professionals such as wealth managers, brokers and ETF retailers a better view into how clients are interacting with their content, and thus allowing them the ability to unveil the type of information that is most valuable.

What else are IBM and Adobe planning as part of this partnership?
This new partnership expands on the successful alliance IBM Services has had with Adobe over the past two decades. We are logically beginning with financial services—90% of the world’s banks run on technology and services from IBM—where IBM has a deep understanding of the issues regulated industries face and the heightened importance of data security. Of course, IBM is helping enterprises far beyond financial services emerge stronger in the coming months.

The intent is to leverage the partnership with the specialized expertise of our services teams across all industries, using IBM iX, our business design arm, to reimagine workflows with an emphasis on personalized customer and employee experiences. We will scale the collaboration to enable clients across all industries to use data to create customer experiences that instill trust across every corner of their business.