Adobe Websites on Microsoft Azure: What It Means For You

Adobe is taking their industry-leading customer experience suite to Microsoft’s Azure cloud offering.  It’s been a few weeks since that announcement made the news, and it’s still a big deal.  Here at Perficient, we’re home to award-winning consulting practices in both Adobe and Microsoft solutions, so as the dust begins to settle, it only makes sense that we are working to help our clients understand what this can mean for their business.  Trust me—it means a lot of good things.
It’s well-documented that Adobe is the universally recognized industry leader when it comes to the online customer experience.  In other words, if you’re designing a new website—or upgrading an old one—Adobe is always on your shortlist.  Their combination of fully-integrated content management, analytics, marketing tools and media is all delivered via the cloud.  It’s a solution that stands alone.
Similarly, Microsoft’s Azure platform is a world leader in cloud hosting.  Thanks to Microsoft’s ongoing and huge investment in this technology and their datacenters, Azure offers unparalleled security, innovation, dependability and scalability.  When considering where and with whom to host your new website, justifying anything other than Azure is a tough sell when the facts are considered.  Even Amazon Web Services—and Adobe knows that.
It only makes sense that an organization looking for a best-of-breed solution for their online presence would look hard at putting these players together.  So why now?  And what took this long?

Understanding Adobe and Azure

So the Adobe Marketing Cloud is an integrated suite of best-in-class products that drive your online customer experience.  And Microsoft Azure is, among other things, the best cloud datacenter money can buy for hosting your website.  When you’re building or upgrading a website, these two should really go together like peanut butter and jelly, Lennon and McCartney, Kirk and Spock… you get the picture.  And the only thing that’s kept them apart until now?  Perception.
It’s this simple: Azure is a Microsoft platform, so traditionally when people hear “Azure,” they immediately put walls around it.  Those walls look a lot like a Windows server stack and .NET code base. (The fact that Azure is also the name of Microsoft’s cloud development platform doesn’t make matters any easier.)  Anyhow, that perception makes sense as far as it goes, but it isn’t true.  You can build any sort of architecture on the Azure platform.  We’re talking Java-based stuff like Oracle, or even Linux.
This isn’t a widely-known fact, or hasn’t been until lately, and in business perceptions like this can take a long time to change.  What it’s meant is that organizations looking at Adobe—which is rooted in Java—rarely if ever considered Azure.  That meant Microsoft didn’t have any sort of recommended architectures or specialized Adobe build patterns as a result.  You can expect that to be changing soon.
Now, as we mentioned above, Adobe is rooted in Java, and that means this perception factor for Adobe and Azure was a two-way street.  Just like shops that were looking at Adobe would dismiss Azure because it’s a Microsoft product, those that leaned to the .NET/Windows stack for their internal applications would dismiss Adobe for their public-facing website for similar reasons.  I’ve spoken with many, many clients who in the process of selecting a new web CMS would give this particular fault line an undue amount of attention.

Making it Work For Your Company

The funny thing is, picking a web CMS (or today, an entire online customer experience suite—which is frankly a whole lot more than just a CMS) based on the development language it’s built on is rarely a valid requirement.  This is especially true with the Adobe suite, since Adobe’s is a cloud solution and much of the ongoing CX/design/marketing work—everything but content authoring/editing, and sometimes even that—these days is outsourced to the agencies and systems integrators who do the initial builds.
Let’s say you’re going with Adobe’s cloud solution, then, and you’re choosing to place it in Azure—the Microsoft cloud.  Both are smart choices and the likes of Gartner and Forrester will nod their heads in sage agreement; you have the architecture requirement addressed.  But how much will it cost?
The answer to that is kind of the best part of this.  Microsoft is really motivated to sell Azure.  It’s a big bet for them, and make no mistake, they’re trying really hard to win it.  Cloud hosting these days is insanely competitive, and Microsoft has a great product.  Now they want their share of the pie.
In situations like these, it’s not uncommon to see Microsoft doing lots of incentives—funding architectural design and setup in particular—to help customers defray the cost of moving their architectures to Azure.
When you can get this to work for you, it’s kind of like paying an architect to come in and draw up the blueprint for your home’s remodel or addition, at a very low cost or even free of charge.  You still have to pay for the materials and construction, but having that up-front cost taken care of for you sure looks reassuring when you consider the total cost of ownership.

The Bottom Line

It’s a nice bet when you’re redesigning or upgrading your website for better customer outreach, analysis, and engagement to host it in a place that’s not only more secure but potentially more cost effective.  The Adobe Marketing Cloud in Microsoft Azure presents a compelling path to making this happen.
As we said at the very beginning of this post, Perficient has tremendous depth, skill and experience with both of these platforms.  We have a nationally-recognized, award-winning Microsoft cloud practice with 30 certified Azure consultants, and we’re an award-winning Adobe partner (one of only a handful to earn the Enterprise designation) with a great implementation background (case studies) and top-flight architectural knowledge.
If you’re considering Adobe on Azure—and why wouldn’t you be, at this point?—let us help you.  You’ll be glad you did.

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Rich Wood

Rich Wood has been planning, designing and building enterprise solutions and internet sites with an emphasis on stellar user and customer experiences since 1997. Rich is a National Director for Content and Commerce Platform work in Perficient Digital. One of the rare breed of strategists to truly understand both the business needs of the customer and the platforms that serve them, he is a keen advocate for and accomplished speaker/writer on issues that surround that inflection point. His work has been published on CMSWire, Sitecore and Microsoft partner blogs, and his own LinkedIn page as well as our various blogs here at Perficient, and he has spoken at multiple major conferences including Microsoft's SharePoint Conference 2014. Married and a father of five, Rich enjoys spending time with his wife and family. He is a native of South Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a graduate of Marquette University.

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