Adobe Customer Experience Solutions

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Adobe Customer Experience Solutions ("ACES" herein) is a bundle of products including:

  • Web Experience Management, which is essentially CQ5 and the other products acquired from Day Software (plus some enhancements since the acquisition)
  • Digital Enterprise Platform, which is the new name for the formerly-named LiveCycle and CRX platforms.

The remainder of the information on this page focuses on the WEM/CQ5 product only. However, Adobe had now budled the products, so that new customers must (apparently) purchase the LiveCycle/CRX products in conjunction with their CQ5 purchase.

Features

The main elements of ACES are:

  • Web content management. CQ5 provides an end-user-friendly, GUI-style method for building web pages from a palette of components.
    Demo video:
    CQ5 page building video
    Note also the integrated digital asset management management, and the content creation workflow demonstration.

    Admittedly, this is a "Web 1.0" style approach to building a site - e.g. page-by-page - vs. the systematic approach Drupal takes. Nonetheless, this functionality does fill certain needs. CQ5 does also have the notion of Dynamic Content, though it's not clear that it is as robust as Drupal CCK/fields, views, etc.

    There are several similar initiatives on d.o, though none (yet) pull together all this capability in one cohesive set. For page layout, see:

    There is a more comprehensive look at this going on for Drupal 8 as part of the Core Context UX: Page & Component Library effort.

    Workflow is traditionally done in Drupal with the Workflow module in D6 and below, and there are a couple of sophisticated workflow management tools for Drupal 7 available like Maestro and Workbench.

    Note: There is also both a complete WYSIWYG editor for CQ5 content creators, as well as an in-place edit mode, as seen here: Image of CQ5 in-place-editing

  • Social technologies. These include support for blogging, wikis, forums, ratings and comments. Drupal "just does" this. :-)

    CQ5 also provides integration with Open Social.

  • Multiscreen (mobile) support. This provides:
    • In-context content authoring with device preview
    • Automatic device detection & delivery of optimized content (using WURFL)
    • Content re-use between mobile & web sites (note that this implies that the mobile & web sites are different sites, with content sharing/inheritance between them).
    • iPad-optimized authoring tool for content review & approval
    • APIs for native apps (vs. HTML views of content)
    • Integration with Ominture for mobile-specific analytics
    • Integration with Adobe Test & Target (see next)

    Demo video:
    Image linking to video of CQ5 content editing for mobile devices

    Relevant Drupal things include:

    • Various mobile theming initiatives, including responsive themes such as Omega
    • jQueryMobile, along with the Mobile jQuery theme and the jQueryMobile UI module
    • Lots of mobile site building tools, including Mobile Tools module. Though the Mobile Tools module already does it, site builders can alternately do device discovery using the wurfl module, and browser detection using the Browscap module.
  • Adobe Test & Target, an A/B-Multivariate test system. This provides:
    • A WYSIWYG editor for teaser creation
    • Targeting by segment or interest, plus simulation through a GUI (ClickstreamCloud)
    • Drag/drop tools to define segmentation targets & rules
    • Library of segmentation criteria for both anonymous visitors as well as known, registered users
    • External site browser history, geo-location, & observed site preferences for segmentation of users (auth & anon)
    • OOTB integration with Ominiture
    • OOTB with Ominture Test & Target APIs

    Demo video here:
    CQ5 test targeting

    Relevant Drupal modules:

Beyond WCM

In addition to the Day WCM capabilities, the Adobe Customer Experience system includes:

  • Content repository. While technically part of the CQ5 solution, CQ5 is built on the concept of having an underlying content repository that is accessible via Java APIs (JCR 2.0), which enables custom applications to be built that access the repository to connect content with applications. This repository supports:
    • WebDAV, including versioning, access control & search
    • CIFS & SMB for filesystem access
    • LDAP & JAAS for user provisioning
    • RESTful Web APIs.
  • Customer Communications. This is essentially an "online statement" facility for organizations that need to send regular customer communications. This includes capabilities for multichannel demand generation (e.g. marketing campaign managers, group list management, segment-specific content, etc.)

Other information

Company: Adobe
License: Proprietary
Language: Java
Download: None
Online Demo: No demo per-se, but see links above
Pricing/packaging: Adobe bundles the CQ5 WCMS capabilities as a layer on top of the "Adobe Digital Enterprise Platform" (the old LiveCycle products). Pricing is (more or less) per-server, per-"Application", per-user (where "user" is a content creator, vs. a user who registeres to comment on a site).
Sales channel: Sold both direct by Adobe & through authorized Adobe channel partners

Comments

Nice Overview!

Aimee Degnan's picture

Here are a couple of other considerations after recently working with the product suite:

  • They have an open forum, online documentation, and fairly responsive community including Adobe engineering staff. It seems smaller than Drupal's, but that is understandable since its entry cost is much higher than Drupal's :-).
  • The developer download includes many features that may or may not be bundled in the base price when purchasing the product.
  • If your project role must bridge the actual implementation to what has been bought and licensed, you have to keep a close eye on what features and APIs are being used by the developers. This extra overhead is not too bad - the real benefits come from actually being able to review the software before buying what you need. For most Enterprise sites (multi-lingual, rich analytics, rich graphics, commerce, mobile), you probably should be buying everything to leverage all the cool features. :-) Note: suite bundling may have changed since the new ACES re-branding and like any enterprise software suite may change on a case by case basis for clients.
  • Like any of the workflow systems out there, the out of the box examples are good to bootstrap your dev staff to learn how workflow works, but expect to customize to scale to big enterprise needs.
  • Aimee

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