How Adobe is Meeting the Content Needs of the Modern Enterprise – The Six Five In the Booth

By Patrick Moorhead - April 11, 2024

On this episode of the Six Five In the Booth, host Keith Kirkpatrick is joined by Adobe’s Ken Reisman, Vice President of Digital Media for Enterprise, for an illuminating conversation on how Adobe is catering to the evolving content needs of modern enterprises. Recorded at Adobe Summit, Adobe’s premier Digital Experience conference, this discussion delves deep into the realms of innovation, GenAI’s business impact, and what the future holds for Adobe Firefly.

Their discussion covers:

  • The significance of Adobe Summit as a hub for digital experience innovation and what enterprises are seeking to truly leverage the potential of GenAI.
  • Ken Reisman’s insights on the latest innovations and product announcements from Adobe, highlighting the developments he’s most enthusiastic about.
  • The future trajectory for Adobe Firefly amidst Adobe’s expansive innovation landscape and other key takeaways from the event.

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Keith Kirkpatrick: Welcome to Six Five In The Booth at the Adobe Summit. This is Adobe’s Digital Experience Conference, and today I’m joined by Ken Reisman, VP of Digital Media for Enterprise. Welcome, Ken.

Ken Reisman: Thank you for having me.

Keith Kirkpatrick: Well, we had a really great show so far. I just wanted to see if you might be able to talk to me a little bit about some of the innovations that you’re hearing about from your customers, because obviously there’s just so many great things going on.

Ken Reisman: Innovations at Adobe.

Keith Kirkpatrick: Yeah.

Ken Reisman: Yeah. Well, it’s been a really exciting conference. I think some of the big things that we’re really excited about, I think first of all, customers are asking a lot about Firefly services, so that’s a big innovation. It’s Adobe’s Firefly technology now available as APIs, and what makes it really special is that we’re also making available Photoshop and Lightroom APIs, so other APIs from the Creative Cloud. So it’s a very powerful library of 20 APIs, and we’re going to be adding and expanding to that.

In addition, we’ve made available Firefly custom models so that not only can customers use Firefly to create amazing generative content, but they can now train their own models on top of Firefly. So we’re getting a lot of inquiries about that. And then customers are also excited about the innovations with Firefly. We have announced a structure reference and we continue to just innovate on top of the Firefly platforms. So we’re getting just a lot of interest and excitement.

Keith Kirkpatrick: That’s great. Maybe you can dig a little bit deeper into what are some of the benefits that they’re going to receive by some of these innovations, because obviously the technology is powerful, but it seems like you’re doing even more.

Ken Reisman: Right, right. Well, when we talk to customers, there’s some common challenges and pain points that we hear, and I think they relate really just to the nature of how marketing has changed over the last number of years. I think first of all, everything’s moving faster. The shelf life of content is getting shorter and shorter. Social content, after a week, the effectiveness of that content starts to deteriorate. So marketers are looking for ways to just accelerate their campaigns.

The scale of marketing is more than ever before. Marketers need to reach customers across more channels, in more languages, in more different formats than ever before. And then personalization, they need to personalize the experiences to customers. All of that requires a massive volume of content. A massive volume. So I think the real pain point is ultimately how do we create all this content, at scale, quickly, in a way that’s highly personalized and relevant to customers. And Gen AI is really just a revolutionary solution to that.

Keith Kirkpatrick: I think you really hit on something important there in terms of there’s this big pain point, which is multiple, or actually hundreds, thousands, even millions of variations that customers are going to need to create assets for over the next however many campaigns that they run. But I’m curious, are there any specific product innovations that you can dive into a little more just to talk about how this will actually benefit them on a day-to-day basis?

Ken Reisman: Yeah, that’s right. So let me acknowledge first that it’s the one-year anniversary of Firefly.

Keith Kirkpatrick: Yes.

Ken Reisman: So in terms of product innovation, customers are still getting a lot of value and expanding adoption of the Firefly that we released a year ago, which is now embedded in the creative tools. So Photoshop, Illustrator, Firefly on the web, that is one readily accessible innovation that’s available to customers now to start scaling up content and ideation and so forth. What we announced yesterday was Firefly Services, which now makes available, that’s those same models through custom workflows.

So now customers, they can create their own workflows depending on their needs, whatever their use cases are for creating lots of content, whatever their workflows are, really whatever applications they’re using, whether Adobe or third-party, they can use our API’s to automate those workflows in a very flexible way. So I think that now extends the power of Firefly into beyond just the creative teams, to IT, to operations, marketing ops, creative operations, lots of other different types of users in the enterprise as well.

Keith Kirkpatrick: So it sounds like there we’re talking about really improving the efficiency as well as the overall level of productivity within an organization.

Ken Reisman: Yeah, I would say definitely efficiency, definitely productivity. Other benefits that we think are really impactful for customers, speed, time to market is a really big one. Customers don’t want to take six months to launch a campaign or create content. They want to be able to do so in a matter of weeks or days or even hours.

And then one of the things we’ve been talking about a lot ultimately is just increasing marketing performance, revenue. Because when you can create content this quickly, you can start to create variants that are highly personalized and do AB testing in order to drive more relevance and better campaign performance. So the revenue upside is one of the big benefits that we’re talking about with customers right now.

Keith Kirkpatrick: Right. You mentioned something really interesting there, looking at the performance of the asset. It seems though that some of the innovation that you’ve brought to the table is you’re able to get into that in a very granular level, actually looking at various attributes of an asset rather than just the asset itself. Is that correct?

Ken Reisman: That’s right. That’s right. Now, we announced a lot of things yesterday, more than I just covered, and one of the things that we talked about in the main stage is content analytics. So Adobe has now the technology to do very granular content analytics to understand for, let’s say, for an image, not just whether that asset is performing or not, but look at all the attributes of the image that are tagged by AI at a very granular level. The skin tones, the hair color, the objects or the composition of the image.

And then to be able to say what types of attributes are performing well and then feed that back into Firefly generative AI to produce new assets that would be higher performing based on the analytics. So that’s just a whole new way of optimizing marketing performance that we’re using internally at Adobe and some customers are starting to implement, and the returns are very, very real, very significant.

Keith Kirkpatrick: Wow, that’s great and great to hear. So Ken, what’s on the horizon for Firefly as we look forward over the next several months?

Ken Reisman: So we have a ton of investment, a lot of R&D and innovation around Firefly. So beyond the announcements that we just had, customers can expect that we’re going to continue to improve the quality. There will be just continuous innovation around increased resolution of the images, and then also quality in terms of prompt understanding. The ability to semantically understand what the user wants, and to be able to direct the generation more precisely.

We’re looking at speed of generation, which is really interesting because once you can get down to very, very rapid production of images, it really allows for a real-time workflow that makes, we think Firefly is going to become just a revolutionary tool for ideation, just real-time ideation with Firefly as your thought partner. So we can expect that. And then other modalities, and this is anticipated, but can expect that for audio, for video, and for 3D, there’s going to be new Firefly capabilities announced.

Keith Kirkpatrick: Yeah, I’ve seen some previews of those in the past, and that looks really exciting because it sounds like what that will do is enable this whole new level of creativity beyond just working with static images and be hopefully enabling companies to create multimedia campaigns that utilize generative features.

Ken Reisman: That’s right, that’s right. I think we envision interfaces that are multimodal and also where users have very fluid control and are able to direct in a very precise way, the generation for the models in order to get directly from their imagination to the output.

Keith Kirkpatrick: Ken, obviously the features and technology within Firefly are really amazing, but I’m curious, what do enterprises need from generative AI in order to be successful?

Ken Reisman: Yeah, we are hearing a lot from different customers around. They’re so excited about GenAI, many of them are running lots of experiments and pilots, but we hear a few consistent things around what do they need to actually get value and put things into production. So I mean, I think the first thing is they’re looking for technology that can be readily adopted. So technology that can be deployed without too much change management. And I think Adobe, we have a real value proposition there because Firefly is embedded in the creative tools that creative professionals in every company use every day. So it’s one of the fastest ways for companies just to operationalize AI.

I think the second thing we’re hearing is that customers really need the technology to be commercially safe. Before they can deploy something to production, it needs to be cleared by legal, and that means that they need to be assured that the content that’s getting created is not going to violate anyone else’s IP. They don’t want to get sued. So that’s something where Adobe, we have taken a really deliberate approach thinking through a responsible approach to AI, and we’ve trained our models on data that all of it is sourced from data content that we’ve licensed, or it’s expired public domain.

So there’s no risk it’s going to violate, that there’s copyrighted information inside and we’re able to indemnify the output of the models. And I think the third thing we’re hearing a lot, and this was generating a lot of excitement, I cater to enterprise, these are the biggest brands in the world. They don’t need generic content. They need content that reflects their brand. And so the question is, hey, can we train models with our own brand styles and our own brand attributes? And that’s what we announced yesterday with Firefly custom models.

Keith Kirkpatrick: It sounds like what you’re talking about here is taking the power of generative AI and customizing it for a specific customer and their guidelines, their attributes, so they can use it safely without worrying about being sued or running into any other sort of issues that they might have from a legal perspective.

Ken Reisman: That’s right. I mean, we are really trying to look at it from the customer’s lens. How do we take this revolutionary technology but make it deployable within an enterprise environment? And so it’s fast to deploy, we’ve designed it to be commercially safe, and we enable brands to train it on their unique content.

Keith Kirkpatrick: And I think the customers have realized that Adobe has really taken a leadership position on those issues moving forward.

Ken Reisman: They have. I think the responsible approach, it’s probably the thing that’s resonated most with customers. Just in the last couple of days, I can’t tell you how many customers have said we are using a lot of different tools, but Firefly is the only one that’s been cleared by legal to use in production.

Keith Kirkpatrick: Well, Ken, it sounds like there’s a lot of really great things going on here with Adobe and with your customers, so I really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us today.

Ken Reisman: Thank you. Thanks for the questions.

Keith Kirkpatrick: All right, well thanks again for joining us here at Six Five In The Booth and we’ll see you all really soon.

Patrick Moorhead

Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.