Their platforms are incredibly hard to extract value out of, even for the largest of organizations. Even with large budgets and dedicated teams, companies frequently struggle to get the value they expect from these alternative solutions.
Ask any CMO (or their procurement department) and they are likely to tell you that Adobe is the most expensive web CMS on the market -- ranging from $250,000 to $1 million and up. Gartner cautioned in 2015, “Adobe's WCM offering is one of the more expensive in the market, sometimes being twice the price of its nearest competitor.”
Forrester states in its 2016 Vendor Landscape that the average cost is $360,000. On top of that, Adobe customers often underestimate the effort and complexity of an Adobe Experience Manager implementation, especially in the initial phases. Adobe looks for companies who have deep pockets and value their entire Experience Cloud, with tools like Advertising Cloud, Audience Manager, Analytics, Campaign, Experience Manager, etc. In fact, Adobe requires a professional services implementation in order to get customers “stood up.”
It’s not just the price tag of any individual Adobe product or professional services offering that should raise eyebrows for companies looking at the bottom line. Consider how Adobe expects multiple products to be sold together to realize the benefit they promise.Case in point: Adobe just announced at their Summit 2018 event the “Smart Layout,” a shiny new AI feature. To play with this new feature, be ready to have the most recent versions of AEM Sites, AEM Assets, Target, Analytics and Audience Manager. That’s a tough pill to swallow for organizations with even the most well-funded digital platform initiatives.
I won’t argue whether or not Adobe is a good product. It seems to be working well for many organizations that can afford both its high costs and the significant investment it takes to buy all their other products.
But still, why do firms look at Adobe? I suspect it’s because the Adobe brand carries a cachet with marketers and designers, and has been well received by industry analysts like Gartner and Forrester. I give Adobe credit for parlaying the value of its brand created on the back of desktop software into something customers will pay a premium for. But seriously, how long should a company wait to recover the sunk costs of AEM?
No CMO got fired for buying Adobe