Committed to open standards

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This article appeared in the 15th October, 2007 issue of CRN magazine.

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Committed to open standards
Keeping up with consumer demands for choice, Adobe has embraced open source technology. Craig McGregor, channel sales director at Adobe, explains where the software vendor is heading with new products and discusses the vendor’s latest technology, including the focus on video and the new Flash Player due out soon. McGregor also explains Adobe’s relationship with the channel and the opportunities for partners.

CRN: What changes in technology has Adobe seen?
McGregor: A fundamental shift over the past year is seeing Adobe really get behind open standards. PDF was submitted as an ISO standard earlier this year, which was seen broadly by the industry as a very positive step. We’ve also committed to open sourcing our Flex development framework.
We just announced that the next release of the Flash Player, which is due out before the end of the year, will support H.264, which is emerging as the defacto video encoding standard. These developments clearly demonstrate Adobe’s ongoing commitments to open standards and providing further choice for our customers.

CRN: Talk us through some of your latest technology?
McGregor: With the release of CS3, we’ve integrated strong web creative tools into a tightly integrated suite of tools for the creative professional regardless of where the content they are producing ends up – print, web or mobile, or a combination of all three. The CS3 launch was the biggest in Adobe’s 25 year history and has created many opportunities for the channel community. We will continue our strong focus on video as we see this as an expanding market and business opportunity. Another area of business that is exciting for us is around the knowledge worker segment and the advancements in our Acrobat technology. Everyone’s heard of PDF, the universal document format that allows knowledge workers to share documents. It’s grown into a platform supporting capabilities such as collaboration and security, even rapid training and e-learning with Acrobat Connect. We continue to focus on the crucial developer community. Adobe FlexBuilder allows developers to create and efficiently build Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) delivered on web browsers using the Flash Player. We continue to see significant uptake of Adobe Flex as a platform for building Web 2.0 experiences and we are also moving to enable Flex applications to run as desktop applications utilising the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) platform for developers.
The final significant area for us is a product family called LiveCycle ES which is a set of products that leverage our Flash and PDF platform to make it easier for business to connect their backend systems with their internal business users and customers.

CRN: What role do your channel partners play for Adobe?
McGregor: Adobe’s channel partners are our direct link to our customer base. Without them we can’t do business in this region. We leverage their customer contacts, experiences and their local market knowledge and coverage. We take this customer feedback and the channel’s knowledge and feed it back into our demand generation activities. We basically do whatever we can to support the channel to ensure their business grows.
We continue to see resellers striving to differentiate themselves by looking at moving away from providing ‘one-off’ point products and towards providing more of a total ‘turnkey’ solution for all of their customers.

CRN: What does Adobe offer to their channel partners?
McGregor: Adobe’s biggest ‘value-add’ to the channel is our end-user customer demand generation programs. As the vendor we see a key component of our role being to drive this demand through marketing campaigns, broad customer engagements and other means. A great example of this was the recent end-user events we ran as part of our Creative Suite 3 launch. We had over 3000 attendees across Australia at these events and we followed up with an extensive post event program directing prospects to our channel community.
Once we have the demand generated we work with our channel, assisting them to close these opportunities and that’s where our people and our channel communications tools become really quite important.
Adobe also offers channel partners the ‘drag through’ of hardware and services when Adobe software is sold.

CRN: What message does Adobe want to get out to channel partners?
McGregor: My final message to our channel partners is that now is a great time to be an Adobe partner in this region. We have new release products across almost all of our key solutions, a loyal and extensive customer base to work with and a local Adobe team committed to the channel’s ongoing success. The last two quarters have been the biggest in terms of revenue in Adobe’s history in A/NZ. We thank our channel partners for their contribution and encourage them to continue to work with us to build on this success for their business in the future.

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