Adobe strengthens data culture by engaging employees
Headquartered in San Jose, California, Adobe is one of the largest software companies in the world with over 18,000 employees and revenue of approximately $7.3 billion in fiscal year 2017. The company’s mission is to give everyone – from emerging artists to global brands – everything they need to design and deliver exceptional digital experiences.
Founded 35 years ago, Adobe is known for its innovation and leadership in digital media and digital marketing solutions. Key brands include Photoshop, Premiere Video Editing, Omniture, Marketo, Magento, Adobe Document Cloud, and Adobe Sensei.
Meeting employees with essential information, where they are
Adobe wanted to make definitions of terms that are part of the vocabulary used for discussing data – housed in Collibra’s Business Glossary – available to the whole organization while they were working in other solutions, such as Tableau.
Adobe created definitions for the business and data terms the company uses and is using Collibra Data Intelligence Platform to house those definitions. Adobe’s leadership understood the value of having common definitions of terms for all employees. With agreed and certified definitions, individuals have a common understanding when a term is used during a discussion about data. Definitions underpin a cohesive data culture and help make the business more efficient, especially in a large organization like Adobe.
Thinking creatively about employees’ needs
Adobe wished to strengthen its data culture further to help its 18,000 employees access these definitions in Collibra without interrupting the flow of their current task. The leadership felt it would be helpful to have the definitions of these terms embedded directly into other solutions, such as Tableau. For example, if someone in the C-suite was looking at a report in Tableau, that individual would be able to mouseover a business or data term and immediately see the definition of that term. They would not need to be trained in Collibra’s software to access the definition or divert their attention away from what they were working on to find the information. Adobe wanted people to be able to get the answer wherever they are.
Building new connections, breaking new ground
To have the definition of terms pop up as a mouseover in other solutions, Collibra would need to be integrated with those solutions. The first project Adobe undertook was to integrate Collibra with Tableau, which is used for much of Adobe’s reporting. Having definitions of terms available directly in Tableau would help executives looking at management information better understand the meaning of the data, tables, and charts they were examining.
Adobe undertook this project before Collibra had connectors with Tableau, and so it had to do this project “from scratch.” Today, Collibra users can use the Connectors to automatically move data back and forth between Tableau and Collibra.
Opening up new approaches to understanding data
Adobe’s approach transfers the metric definitions from Collibra to a MySQL database table. The definitions are then brought into Tableau as a separate data source. This data source can then be used in any Tableau workbook to surface definitions, calculation rules, or any other attributes that are stored in Collibra.
The Adobe team added other useful functionality to this arrangement. They imported the workbook and data source metadata from Tableau into Collibra and provided links from Collibra to the authorization system that would enable the users to request access to the workbooks and data sources on Tableau automatically.
The mouseover functionality also provides links from those solutions back to Collibra Data Intelligence Platform – the data about the data – and how it is used. It describes the structure of a piece of data, its relationship to other data, and its origin, format, and use.
Delivering business value through deeper data understanding
The mouseover data definitions have helped to drive a deeper understanding of data across Adobe. The team has seen an uptick in the number of people who want to dive deeper into the definition and dataset information within the Collibra solution after seeing the mouseover. Today, Adobe has 50 to 100 unique Collibra users per day via this channel. As of the summer of 2018, more than 4,000 unique users had come into Collibra to get information, which is about 22% of Adobe’s employee population.
Moving forward with fresh projects to deepen the data culture
Thanks to the success of the Tableau integration and Collibra Connect, the Adobe team has undertaken other initiatives. They have integrated Microsoft PowerBI with Collibra using a similar technological approach. Adobe has also integrated its customer relationship management system (CRM) with Collibra, so that definitions can be pushed into the CRM. For this project, Adobe uses APIs that reach into Collibra.
Adobe has also created an acronyms glossary for the thousands of acronyms that are used across its businesses. The team scoured Adobe’s Wiki pages and harvested acronyms off of them and pushed them into Collibra. They then re-pointed all of the Wiki pages back to Collibra. As a result, acronyms are being managed consistently and employees are now obtaining the correct meanings for acronyms every time.
Building on this, Adobe created an employee assistant chatbot. Employees can type an acronym into Adobe’s internal chat interface and the chat will look up the acronym and return the full term. Alternatively, employees can type in a business or data term and receive the definition. For example, if an employee types in the term “annual recurring revenue,” the chatbot will come back to the employee with a list of the top search results from Collibra, a link to the entire list of search results in Collibra, and the definitions for each one of the top three search results. The Adobe team built it themselves, using out-of-the-box Collibra API calls.