Industries globally, including in India, are going through a seismic change today when it comes to embracing disruptive technologies like Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Sensing the future requirements, software giant Adobe India is already reskilling employees who have the right pace to catch up with the next wave of technology, a top company executive has stressed. According to Shanmugh Natarajan, Managing Director-Adobe India and Vice President-Products, newer jumps are happening in the field of technology across verticals in the country — be it banking and finance, aviation, hospitality or manufacturing — and reskilling its engineers to help get on top of new technologies is core to the company. “We have the expertise and talent with core algorithmic mathematical background, with right set of engineering degrees. A new skill-set, however, is to be learnt on top of those and Adobe is already doing that with its engineers in the field of research and development,” Natarajan told IANS in a free-wheeling interview at the company’s sprawling campus here.
The global software giant has a massive set-up in India, with nearly 5,500 employees spread across four campuses in Noida and Bengaluru, with one-third of the workforce employed in the R&D work. “The younger generation today is interested in ML, AI and other technologies and I am confident that such talent is already emerging from Indian universities. The new generation has tremendous opportunities in the core learning areas,” emphasised Natarajan, who continues to lead R&D operations for Adobe India. Natarajan joined Adobe in 2008 and has been instrumental in leading development of products like Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash and Lightroom. He has also contributed to the development of several mobile and web products for Adobe Creative Cloud.
According to him, the last five years witnessed a jump in Big Data and AI is the natural next step. “The big data is coming from mobiles, wearable devices and what not, with every click, with every action being recorded. Now is the time to process that humongous amount of data and ML with neural and learning networks and AI will help make sense of that data,” Natarajan said. “ML and AI are going to give industries a seismic jump, not on the scale Internet gave us, but just like Big Data — even bigger. India, in the meanwhile, is set to ride on a faster, deeper and wider AI wave,” he added. The infusion of new technologies aboard Cloud is happening at a great level across Adobe products: Creative, Document and Experience Cloud.
“India is steadily evolving into an ‘Experience Economy’. The competency of delivering compelling digital experiences is now a key barometer of success for progressive businesses. As the creators of revolutionary innovations like Photoshop and PDF, Adobe has set the standard for modern day ‘Experience Business’,” Natarajan noted. Several Adobe products are today being developed in India. “Illustrator is being completely done here, The popular Lightroom is being done here and nearly 80 percent of Acrobat is done out of the country,” Natarajan noted. Riding on the success of its Creative, Document and Experience Cloud portfolios, Adobe achieved a record $2.01 billion revenue in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017 that ended on December 1.
The company’s ‘Digital Media’ segment’s revenue was $1.39 billion, with Creative and Document Cloud achieving accounting for the bulk of this at $1.16 billion and $235 million, respectively. Adobe Experience Cloud achieved a revenue of $550 million, which represents a 18 per cent year-over-year growth. The company’s unified AI and ML platform Adobe Sensei now powers more than 100 capabilities in its products across Clouds. “Innovations like Sensei are a result of our R&D talent in India and across the globe, joining forces to tackle the most complex experience challenges. Adobe India R&D centre stands strong as an integral pillar of the company’s global innovation agenda,” he added. For Natarajan, Experience Cloud is a huge business opportunity that is built on solid technology pieces. “In India, we have made tremendous progress on Creative Cloud across industries. Now with Experience Cloud, any sector that got a large-scale customer data — from the government to aviation, banking and hospitality — will be able to seamlessly deliver experiences to the end users,” Natarajan told IANS.