How Adobe’s CIO is turning her team into customer and employee experience orchestrators

How Adobe’s CIO is turning her team into customer and employee experience orchestrators
28 May

Adobe’s CIO, Cynthia Stoddard, is so committed to ensuring employee experiences are as personalised and strong as customer experiences, she’s dedicated one of her team leaders to the task and launched a program to make it happen.

“With all the work being done with external-facing customer experience, linking up channels and personalisation, I believe you need to bring that inside the company and use those same techniques with employees,” she tells CMO.

To do this, Adobe launched a project called ‘advancing the inside’, which takes the same aspects of what the vendor is doing to improve customer engagement, and focuses them on ensuring employees have the same experiences.

“To help, I took anything employee-facing and put it under one of my unit leaders. Then we looked at the types of employees and roles we have, and came up with four different personas – builder, enabler, customer-facing and a communicator,” Stoddard explains.

Cynthia Stoddard
Cynthia Stoddard

“We layered two different dimensions over that: One being new employee, the other being international. So if you’re outside the US, you have different work habits and tools you need. The aim is to marry all experiences within the company to those different dimensions.”

The program is just one example of how the CIO role is morphing from back office to focus on experience, Stoddard says.

“My philosophy has always been that I want to be an enabler, not a roadblock,” she says. “I’ve had people in some roles ask how I’m going to shut down all this ‘shadow IT’ going on outside of the IT function. I’ve told groups I won’t do that.

“We need to enable the business, and if we can put technology in their hands, all the better. We want them to be able to control their destiny.”  

The CIO as experience maker

Stoddard has spent 25 years in tech management, working across transportation, logistics, storage and high-tech companies including Safeway, APL NetApp and Emery Worldwide. Joining Adobe as CIO two years ago, she reports into global CTO, Abhay Parasnis, and is working on projects stretching from data centralisation to cloud services and building self-healing platforms based on artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.

With tech usage and purchasing arguably now belonging to anyone in an organisation thanks to mobile, social and cloud innovation, it’s clear IT doesn’t have as much control over the way technology is utilised as it once did. This is despite the fact IT teams still have to ensure security and simplification.

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