Tech Intelligence Bulletin (HG Insights) – Microsoft and Adobe have revealed further details about the Open Data Initiative (ODI) and it’s clear a challenge to Salesforce is in the offing.

As originally announced last September, Microsoft, Adobe and SAP have embarked on a new approach to business data that will help companies transform their customer experiences through real-time insights delivered from the cloud.

The three partners outlined a common approach and set of resources for customers in an initial announcement last September, with the ambition of helping customers create new connections across previously siloed data, more seamlessly garner intelligence, and ultimately better serve brands with an improved view of their customer interactions.

Common data model

From the beginning, the ODI has been focused on enhancing interoperability between the applications and platforms of the three partners through a common data model with data stored in a customer-chosen data lake. This unified data lake is intended to allow customers their choice of development tools and applications to build and deploy services.

To improve that process, the three companies plan to deliver in the coming months a new approach for publishing, enriching and ingesting initial data feeds from Adobe Experience Platform, activated through Adobe Experience Cloud, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Office 365 and SAP C/4HANA, into a customer’s data lake. This will enable a new level of AI and machine learning enrichment to garner new insights and better serve customers.

Challenge to Salesforce

Long established as the maker of content creation tools such as the Adobe Creative Suite, in recent years Adobe has created the software used for marketing campaigns, which rely heavily on the content created via its software. The majority of Adobe’s applications were for marketing professionals vying to reach consumers, but last year’s Marketo acquisition has reinforced its software for B2B marketers.

Meanwhile, Microsoft’s $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016, widely perceived to be the tool of preference of sales executives growing businesses, reveals a key part of the ODI strategy – Both Adobe (Marketing software) and Microsoft (Sales software) are combining resources to challenge Salesforce, the big player in sales and marketing software.

Partner Advisory Council

To accelerate development of the initiative, Adobe, Microsoft and SAP have also announced plans to convene a Partner Advisory Council consisting of over a dozen companies including Accenture, Amadeus, Capgemini, Change Healthcare, Cognizant, EY, Finastra, Genesys, Hootsuite, Inmobi, Sprinklr, and WPP. These organizations span myriad industries and customer segments and believe there is significant opportunity in the ODI for them to drive net- new value to their customers.

“Our customers are all trying to integrate behavioral, CRM, ERP and other internal data sets to have a comprehensive understanding of each consumer, and they’re struggling with the challenges of integrating this data,” said Stephan Pretorius, CTO of WPP. “We’re excited about the initiative Adobe, Microsoft and SAP have taken in this area, and we see a lot of opportunity to contribute to the development of ODI.”

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