Adobe Business Catalyst Partner Meeting Debriefing

Adobe Business Catalyst Meeting
Yesterday a group of partners met with Business Catalyst in the Adobe head office in San Francisco. The 5 partners that attended the meeting work closely with other Business Catalyst Partners in different ways, fundamentally to support and train other partners in the community. It would be fair to say that we have a broad understanding of the general issues partners face.

The 5 partners that attended the meeting were:
Brett Stockley (myself) – Pretty Pollution
Jason Tinnin – Simple Flame
Brendon O’Sullivan – Bosweb
Brent Weaver– BCGurus
Phillip Lockwood - Distill Agency

I went into the meeting somewhat skeptical but hopeful, intending to voice as much as I could in the hope some good would come out of that. I’d been in constant contact with Business Catalyst Partners for the week leading up to the meeting and had a sizable agenda I wanted to cover.

The meeting started at 9am and finished at 5pm, however in reality it and carried on late into the night with less formal one on one conversations with key staff and management at Business Catalyst and Adobe. The tone of the meeting from the start was encouraging. There were no excuses, just listening, and a lot of note taking. There were 15 key Adobe and Business Catalyst staff flown in from across the globe for that meeting. I’ve been using Business Catalyst for 7 years now, and this was the first time in a while that I felt anything I’ve been saying was heard. I guess the blinkers were on whilst other major plans were under way.

Obviously a large part of what was discussed was about communication problems, support issues, bug fixes and some key pieces of functionality that is lacking in the system that make all of lives a living nightmare as partners working with our clients. We spoke in depth about what could be put in place to help us as partners. I’ll leave this with Adobe to action suitable solutions and communicate it back to partners.

Entering the meeting I wasn’t quite sure where I stood with Business Catalyst. What was Adobe’s plans for Business Catalyst, how do they see us as partners fitting into the equation, and how does Muse and the Creative Cloud change my business. Do I keep investing in Business Catalyst? Ultimately this was key to me.

This is what I took out of yesterdays meeting regarding Adobes vision:
The inclusion of Business Catalyst in Adobe’s Creative Cloud solution is a good thing! It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for Business Catalyst to be thrust onto the world stage and into the limelight in a major way. If you’re a partner out there wondering what the future holds for you, then start thinking about the opportunities that exist to service the massive influx of work that is just around the corner. Start planning for that now, because Creative Cloud is coming, and with BC's inclusion into CC comes many many new clients looking for Business Catalyst websites. I should also note here that the inclusion of BC into CCM has meant something else that is very close to us all…. Adobe’s commitment, both financial and in reputation to Business Catalyst and to the partner community. Business Catalyst is here to stay. BC Partners are here to stay. Business Catalyst is destined for great things. Being a partner NOW is going to give us all a head start on new partners entering the community over the next 12+months. Adobe has no option now but to make Business Catalyst the most powerful all in one online marketing and web solution for Creative Agencies and small to medium business owners alike.

That’s the good news. And that’s what excites me to no end as a Business Catalyst Partner. But in reality it still leaves me with the same system that we currently have, with all the same problems in the system (backups / imports / SEO / eccomerce issues/ bugs / reporting issues etc). So what’s going to change, and how do we move forward?

Business Catalyst are now more aware than ever of the problems we’re facing, how serious they are, and how important the partner community is. They have heard loud and clear that we need better communication and we will hold them accountable. There is a lot going on at Business Catalyst right now. Development work in preparation of the tsunami of people coming into the system after inclusion of BC into CCM has meant that other development resources were halted. Although there will still be a major focus on Creative Cloud, we’re told we’ll start to see progress again with some critical bugs and flaws in the system being corrected and improved again. I don’t know what those will be, and in truth, with a lot of those things I’m just going to have to grit my teeth and wait for them, I’m sure that some of these things I’m going to have to wait a while for. This stuff is going to take time, I know that, but at least now, BC will be identifying some quick wins and important fixes that will hopefully ease our lives.

Regarding support, this has been communicated too. I’ll leave Adobe to come back to the community about this. However we discussed a lot of options including tiered support, access to bug tracking notes, extra resources, better forum and documentation, a single point for communication for partners and the community. I’m confident that progress will be made here. And I’m confident there will be more attention to fostering the community.

I’ll leave it at that for now. If anyone would like to hear more from me then I’m always happy to share my thoughts and knowledge. You can get me through live chat or by phone as found on the Pretty Pollution website.

Brett Stockley

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