Some of its biggest products – Acrobat, Illustrator, InDesign are now entirely developed and managed out of India And Adobe is intensification its capacity in the country by buying office buildings in Bengaluru and Noida.
The plan is to move out of leased facilities and create larger complexes over which it has greater control.
“We have 3,500 people in India now. The new capacity can take that to 6,000,” says Shantanu Narayen, who has led the company as CEO since 2007. The country accounts for a fourth of Adobe’s global employee strength.
India, he says, has done a great job for the company. “It’s innovating, not just doing grunt stuff.”
Narayen’s been having an incredible run. Adobe’s decision to move aggressively to a cloud-based, pay-as-you-go model for its software has seen the company’s stock price zoom over the past two years. The stock is performing better than that of other software companies like Microsoft and Intuit.
Adobe’s Creative Cloud, which includes cloud and mobile versions of its favourite apps like Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro, was expected at launch to have 4 million subscribers by 2015 end. Narayen says the company has “dramatically over-achieved on this.” The current estimate is that the number will touch 5.9 million.
“Adobe is now hailed as a company that completely reinvented the creative process. And anybody who talks about transforming their business has to work with us,” Narayen says.
Narayen was born in Mumbai and grew up in Hyderabad. He graduated in electronics engineering from Osmania University in 1984 and went to the US for a Masters in computer science. He worked in Apple, Silicon Graphics and two startups, before joining Adobe in 1998. In 2011, US president Barack Obama had appointed him as a member of his management advisory board.
Narayen’s most excited now about digital marketing — the use of digital channels to promote or market products and services. “We were the leaders in digital, and what we are seeing now is the fastest and most explosive growth in enterprise software, thanks to digital. Every company is digitally transforming themselves and we are the company that created the category. We invented markets — desktop publishing, electronic document sharing, we played a role in the web, and communication associated with the web,” he says.
Adobe’s digital marketing revenue has crossed a $1 billion. “It was a revenue stream that didn’t exist in the company four years ago,” he says.
Digital marketing, he says, is seen as an over $20-billion opportunity. “Marketing spends are all moving to digital. That’s the only marketing spend where you truly understand what the return on investment is,” he says. That’s because you can track every click, and figure out what worked and what didn’t.