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Customer Story

Adobe Drives Innovation and Massive Savings with Zylo

  • industry: Computer Software
  • founded: 1982
  • headquarters: San Jose, California
  • employees: 29,000+
  • Key Outcomes
    • Unlocked $60M in SaaS Savings
    • Identified and categorized over 2,600 apps
    • Saved over 10,000 hours annually

Adobe Drives Transformative SaaS Management

SaaS applications discovered

standard applications after rationalization


hours saved annually


in cost savings and avoidance

Adobe, the global leader in digital media and digital marketing solutions, is known for its cloud-forward, progressive stance. In just four years, the company experienced unprecedented, massive growth – scaling from $9B to $18B. But as the company grew, so did the complexity and size of its SaaS stack.

Adobe employees use thousands of third-party software titles to perform their jobs and run  its business. In fact, software is Adobe’s third largest expense. When Cynthia Stoddard, Adobe’s Senior Vice President & CIO and member of Zylo’s Board of Directors, realized software spend was growing faster than revenue, she knew it was a problem that needed to be solved.

Stoddard and her team recognized that their inability to see their entire software portfolio and spend was limiting. They couldn’t proactively manage their subscriptions, leaving them at risk and unable to manage software portfolio spend and growth. Even more importantly, it created a poor experience for employees, with no single place for them to get software, and thus perpetuated an ongoing cycle of expensed purchases, sprawl and redundancy.

Establishing Visibility Into Adobe’s SaaS Portfolio & Spending

As a first step, the Adobe team knew they needed to discover and identify all of the software in their portfolio. Before turning to Zylo, they were only tracking high-spend applications that had come through their procurement system. This was a highly manual effort that offered limited insights into usage and costs. In short, it was not a scalable solution. 

“Visibility into our portfolio was table stakes for the success of our program. We could not begin to manage our software if we could not understand the full scope of it,” said Vinod Vishwan, Sr. Director, Head of Business Planning & Operations at Adobe.

The team at Adobe knew more software was being used across the business, but there was no single source of truth for this data. Information on what titles were being used lived in purchase requests and reimbursement receipts, neither of which were easily searchable.

The Adobe team leveraged Zylo’s AI- and Machine Learning-powered Discovery Engine to search Adobe’s finance and travel and expense systems to identify titles in an efficient and scalable way. The team estimated they had about 1,800 titles, but thanks to Zylo discovered they in fact had more than 2,600 titles. 

“Zylo provided the AI we used to identify current titles and categorize them according to functional area, saved approximately 500 hours at the onset of the project and became the backbone of how we divided our software portfolio.” said Vishwan.  

Once identified, these titles were then categorized into functional categories and assigned owners who could then begin the work of optimizing their software portfolio. 

Rationalizing Adobe’s Software Portfolio & Proactive License Management

One of the best ways to reduce software spend is to reduce the amount of titles in use – in other words, the Adobe team needed to rationalize their software portfolio and reduce redundancy and duplicative software. Partnering with business units across the organization, they developed a list of standard software titles for each category of applications and began consolidating and sunsetting non-standard applications.

For example, seven sales platforms were consolidated to one, nine observability tools were decommissioned, and 18 project portfolio management (PPM) tools were eliminated; all producing significant savings and efficiency gains.

To date, the Adobe team has established more than 400 preferred standard titles, identified consolidation opportunities for hundreds of applications, and eliminated several hundred applications.

In addition to optimizing Adobe’s software portfolio, the team also sought to better measure software utilization – understanding the usage of their software and thus the value of each application – to enable proactive license management. 

The Adobe team has realized massive time and cost savings by streamlining end-to-end processes such as licensing provisioning, inactive license reclamation, and chargeback of enterprise license costs. By reharvesting software licenses, Adobe has been able to reclaim more than 20,000 licenses that it would have otherwise had to purchase. The automation that the Adobe team leverages to complete this process has saved, collectively, 10,000+ hours annually or ~1 hour per license.  

“Zylo allows us greater insights into our software usage. We regularly harvest software licenses resulting in millions of dollars in cost avoidance and allowing us to build better strategies for contract renewals and negotiations,” said Ash Rai, Director, Software Asset Management and Vendor Relations at Adobe.

Through their software and license optimization efforts, the Adobe team was able to unlock $60M in cost savings and avoidance and decelerate the growth of their software spend. 

A Software Store: Stronger SaaS Governance & A Better Employee Experience

At Adobe, it had become commonplace for employees and teams to purchase their own software via credit cards. However, tools purchased this way skirted traditional procurement process and thus weren’t properly vetted, introducing unnecessary risk and cost. 

The Adobe team sought to eliminate software purchases made on employee credit cards altogether. To do this, they established the Workspace Store, a software catalog that provides employees with a single avenue to request software. Employees can browse all pre-approved software that’s available to them and if there’s a tool they need that’s not currently available, the team or employee can make the case to purchase it through the appropriate procurement processes. 

“We recognized software proliferation was an employee experience issue. Leveraging Zylo, we created an online software catalog of approved titles where employees can discover and download software in a frictionless way,” said Vishwan. “In addition to providing an excellent user experience, it significantly reduced sprawl over the past two years and created a unified procurement process across our enterprise.” 

By providing a single place for Adobe employees to access software, the Adobe team successfully realized their goal of eliminating software purchases on credit cards and established a methodical and reliable framework for SaaS governance. 

“As the entire industry moves toward the Cloud, managing SaaS will continue to be essential for Adobe. With Zylo, we are able to seamlessly establish software into various manageable categories consistent with our organizational structure. This helps us make users an active partner in the software management and proactive optimization journey, reducing gaps in that experience.” 

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