How to Get the Best Deal from an Adobe Contract Negotiation

By Chris Vicknair

Director of Client Services, NPI

May 12, 2021

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When it comes to Adobe for enterprise customers, concessions can be hard to come by during negotiations. But is the tide turning? Perhaps.

Clients regularly submit Adobe purchases to NPI for price benchmark analysis. In fact, in the first quarter of 2021, Adobe snagged the number three spot in our top ten list of vendors submitted for analysis (ranked by first year customer spend). It’s no secret Adobe has the most comprehensive product in its category. There are a number of products that are competitive to portions of Adobe’s portfolio, but they are mostly one-offs and don’t offer all that Adobe does “under one roof.” And like most clear market leaders, Adobe’s prices and negotiation posturing reflect its dominant market position.

Recently, however, we’ve seen clients secure concessions that have previously been next to impossible to obtain. Perhaps it’s due to COVID, or maybe the vendor is trying to keep the momentum going on a record breaking 2020 fiscal year. The reasoning is unclear, but the outcome is not – we’re seeing more pricing flexibility. Historically, however, that flexibility isn’t what has driven savings across the Adobe estate. 

Which Tactic Yields the Biggest Cost Reductions on Adobe for Enterprise Customers?

By far, license optimization is the single best way for enterprise customers to reduce Adobe costs (specifically, those products/licenses covered by Adobe ETLA). It’s not uncommon for customers to pay for licenses that are being consumed by inactive users, former employees or contractors; or for users to be assigned multiple valid licenses.

In other cases, too many users in the organization are using a license type that is more robust than what’s actually needed to perform their roles. It’s rare that an entire company needs access to Acrobat Pro. The same goes for Creative Cloud – do all of your users need an all-app SKU or would a single-app SKU be a better fit for certain user profiles?

Most enterprise IT buyers understand these concepts well, and many have deployed SAM tools and processes to help them stave off the scenarios above. But, in many cases, those tools and processes aren’t as effective as they should be (either because they’re immature or not designed to manage SaaS). This is why every customer should periodically perform due diligence to make sure all users are appropriately licensed and any toxic spend across the Adobe estate is eliminated.

Now is the Time to Right-Size Adobe Licensing and Pricing

Historically, it’s been difficult to sway Adobe at the negotiation table – and that’s still true. Material pricing concessions require deep analysis and validation of fair market value targets as well as inspection of annual true-up premiums. These activities should be performed on every Adobe purchase and renewal to ensure companies are receiving best-in-class pricing and terms.

Often, more significant and consistent Adobe ETLA cost reductions can be found by right-sizing license assignments to match actual usage requirements and liberating license currency through SaaS license optimization assessments.

If you’d like to learn more about how to reduce costs across your Adobe software estate, NPI can help.