CEO’s of Adobe, Microsoft, SAP Announce the Launch of the Open Data Initiative

Sep 24

CEO’s of Adobe, Microsoft, SAP announced the launch of the Open Data Initiative, a new data repository in the cloud dedicated to facilitating collaboration across the global research community. This is an initiative squarely aimed at Facebook and Google, in effect challenging them to provide all customer related data back to the customer. Here is Microsoft’s portal to the Open Data Initiative.

Below are key highlights from a discussion the three tech CEO’s had on CNBC…

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft:

The insight that all three of us had based on the work we’re doing with many customers, such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Walmart, today as customers they’re all excited about this open data initiative. It’s their real insight that led us to do this, how do we work to put them in control of their own customer data, because that’s the real currency.

Any brand out there cares deeply about the continuous improvement of their own customer data understanding. The three of us coming together is going to be central to them feeling in control of their own customer data.

Bill McDermott, CEO, SAP:

There isn’t a CEO in the world that does not want to have a single view of their customer and they have to connect their demand chain to their supply chain and do so in real time. If you think about the consumer whose social, mobile, they’re geospatial, they’re always on the fly, they’re going to shop different companies in all channels, direct to consumer and retail, and you have to make sure that connection point with that consumer is really intimate.

These companies need to be intelligent enterprises because more and more AI and predictive analytics is going to rule how you engage with that customer. Ultimately, what you have to do is fulfill, so now you’re going to see the demand and the supply chain completely integrated and that data will be shared evenly among our companies so the customer is the major benefactor of the Open Data Initiative we announced today.

Shantanu Narayen, CEO, Adobe:

All three of us shared this vision of how do we enable enterprises to put customers at the front of the digital journey. Getting behavioral data, getting transactional data, and getting customer engagement to be the front and center is the most important thing that enterprises can do so that digital is actually a tailwind rather than a headwind.

What Marketo does is add to our offerings in the Experience Cloud of being able to create this unified profile for all customers. The thing that every customer will tell you today is that they want an engaging experience with whoever they’re doing business with, whether it’s financial services, automotive, or retail. Adobe focused a lot more on B2C customers, but the same requirements that were true for B2C customers are now true for B2B customers and that’s what Marketo provides.

Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft:

The name itself should tell everything, it’s an open data initiative. It’s about really unlocking the data that is our customers’ data about their own customers. I think what is foundational here is trust. In other words, ultimately customers will decide.

Also, compliance with their own customers trust in them is also going to be very key, because if you think about it one of the top considerations for anything around customer data is privacy and regulation around privacy. So the most important thing here would be for each vendor to think through how they participate here and ensure that there is more trust in the entirety of the value chain, starting with the end consumer to the brand and to us as software vendors or tech companies.

I think the real challenge is going to be for some who may want to join but their business model is probably not going to allow them to join. I think overall though what we have all anchored on is if we can create an architecture and an incentive system that turns the tide to put customers in control of their own customer data I think the overall economy will be better off.

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