It was late 2015 when I first heard about a new initiative within Adobe Engineering. It was not a new acquisition or a new integration, instead there were talks about rebuilding the Marketing Cloud from the ground up. Many of my fellow consultants rolled their eyes and asked why would you want to do that? Not me, I was jumping up and down shouting “FINALLY!”. Don’t get me wrong, Adobe is genius with its company acquisitions and integrating them together. But truth be told, it was clear that these integrations were not organic and suffered from some limitations. No matter how you package it, end of the day Adobe knew that it needed to build a platform to support these capabilities instead of products supporting a platform.
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At the time, the name for the new platform was “Adobe Data Platform” which was rebranded shortly after to a new name, “Adobe Cloud Platform”. The idea is that it will host everything Adobe (Creative, Experience and Document Clouds), enable a suite of I/O services known as Adobe.IO and power Adobe’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities famously known as Adobe Sensei. There was no clear timeline on when this platform will be rolled out or how it will impact the way we use the existing solutions within the Experience Cloud so we waited. The wait was over when Adobe announced at Summit 2017 that they will be releasing a new product built on the Adobe Cloud Platform and this product will be the new tag manager that Adobe will offer for free to any Adobe Client. You might be thinking, but Adobe has an existing tag manager, Dynamic Tag Manager (DTM) formerly known as Satellite, which is free as well. So, is Adobe Launch nothing but DTM 2.0? I asked myself the same question but I was happily surprised to know that Adobe Launch, although compatible with DTM, is a brand-new product built from the ground up. Actually, I think it is disrupting and shaking up the Tag Management (TMS) space with some amazing new capabilities that you will want to know about.
We will save the technical details for future posts while in this post we will concentrate on the value that I foresee Adobe Launch will bring to your organization. I think there is at least 3 worth mentioning:
Adobe Launch comes with a set of out of the box features to enable Adobe Tags (Analytics, Visitor ID, Target and others) as well as a list of non-Adobe Tags such as Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and others. That’s great but what is awesome is that Adobe is giving you, the client, the control to add more tags (now called Extensions) and ultimately customize how you want to use the product.
As much as I would like to see tags move server side, new Adtech vendors and new tags are going to keep popping up. You no longer need to ping the Adobe Product and ask them for a custom tag that will send data to a new vendor. You have the ability to create and develop this tag as an extension and use it within Launch. You can move as quick as your team is able to develop and implement the extension. Adobe Launch is built on open source code and is API super-friendly. As a matter of fact, if you follow the Adobe Launch Extension page you will see new extensions created daily. This is the new App Store for Marketing and Advertising Tags. Keep an eye out for a Softcrylic extension soon!
Yes, a tag manager can be scalable. Here is how:
If you used DTM, you know that you are limited to 2 environments: Staging and Production. Maybe this works for some but the majority of my clients, especially the ones in Financial Services, have 4 – 5 different development environments before even reaching Staging. How do you solve for this problem? Well Adobe is providing the option to define unlimited number of development environments that can be created along with the usual Staging and Production environments. Now you have the option to mirror your development environments within Adobe Launch.
Adobe Launch supports scalability by introducing the concept of component-based publishing where you can group your rules, data elements and extensions into a library and push it through a 4-stage publishing workflow. This enterprise publishing workflow takes into consideration all the libraries being tested, alerts you of any cross-user conflicts along the way and expedites the development and testing cycles.
Given that Adobe Launch is driven by open APIs, this means that you can automate everything about the product. This includes the programmatic deployment of complex implementations without a single click in the UI. This dramatically expedites the deployment lifecycles: deployments that took months before can be configured and deployed within seconds.
Adobe Launch was released on November 8th and will be granting access to clients incrementally over the next few months. If you are interested in getting an early access, you can submit the form here.
So what’s next in store for Adobe Cloud Platform? Following the release of Adobe Launch, I think we will be hearing a lot more about Adobe Sensei.