Star product: Adobe Creative Cloud Team

By Simon Nias, Wednesday 12 December 2012

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Web-based suite offers low-cost access to Adobe's design apps

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What does the software do?

Adobe launched Creative Cloud in May for individual users and this week announced Creative Cloud Team for workgroups. Creative Cloud is Adobe’s subscription-based online hub that gives subscribers access to its full array of creative tools and services for a single, low-cost, monthly fee.

Subscribers can download the latest versions of all Creative Suite 6 desktop software, its HTML5 design and development products Muse and Edge, as well as its app authoring tool Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, which enables designers to create and distribute apps without having to write code. Members get access to the latest software and features as soon as they become available as well as a raft of online services to sync, store and share files online.

Adobe says Creative Cloud Team is a version of Creative Cloud membership intended specifically for organisations to help teams work better together.

What market is it aimed at?
Creative Cloud Team membership is aimed at teams, workgroups and enterprises.

How does it work?
Creative Cloud Team membership works the same way as an individual membership, with the addition of centralised administration. Adobe says the latter allows quick and easy deployment of new ‘seats’, centralised billing and efficient license management, 100GB of cloud storage per user (versus 20GB for the individual offering) and easy management of virtual workgroups.

How does it differ from previous versions?
Adobe claims Creative Cloud Team offers all the benefits of an individual Creative Cloud membership, but also enables organisations to collaborate with their teams as well as get access to expert support and training.

What is the USP of the product?
In addition to the low cost of the monthly subscription relative to the amount of software and services it includes, one of the main USPs of Creative Cloud is that the range of products, features and services that are included is constantly being updated at no extra cost to the user. So rather than waiting up to 24 months for the next major Creative Suite release and then paying to upgrade, users get access to all the latest developments as soon as they are ready.

"One of the reasons Creative Cloud has been so popular is because Adobe has promised to add new features on an ongoing basis," says John Cole, manager for Digital Media, Northern Europe at Adobe Systems Europe.

In the first three months of its launch, Adobe added Lightroom 4 to Creative Cloud, as well as new features to support contact forms in Adobe Muse and the first exclusive Creative Suite features for Adobe Illustrator. While September saw  the introduction of Digital Publishing Suite, Single Edition and Edge Tools & Services.

Alongside the latest addition, Creative Cloud Team, Adobe has also introduced a major set of new Photoshop features and an update for Adobe Muse.

How easy is it to use?
"Extremely," claims Adobe, which describes Creative Cloud as a "flexible and less expensive way of accessing all the latest creative products and the easiest way to get the latest innovations and features direct to your desktop".

"What we’re really looking to do with the whole Creative Cloud piece is to allow people to create great content from a single source and to deploy that in an effective and device-independent way," says Cole.

What support is on offer?
Creative Cloud Team membership comes with an Expert Support service that allows members to get answers to any technical questions they may have. This works in a similar way to an Apple Genius Bar, where if you need help with anything in Creative Cloud, you can schedule one-on-one time with an expert in that area (support is via phone and web conference and is limited to two incidents per user per year).

A new training library, called Creative Cloud Training, will soon be available for Creative Cloud users. Adobe promises that this will feature exclusive training video created and curated by "best-of-breed" training partners from the US, Europe and Japan. The company adds that this training will be integrated into the Creative Cloud experience, so users will be able to access training services from within the software.

How much does it cost?
An annual Creative Cloud Team membership is available for £53 a month per seat. For existing customers using CS3 or later, a special first year offer is available for £38.12 a month, representing a saving of almost 30% off for their first year.

How many are installed currently worldwide and in the UK?
In the first four months, Adobe reported more than 200,000 paid members of Creative Cloud, 80% of which made a long-term commitment to Creative Cloud by choosing an annual membership rather than a month-to-month plan.


SPECIFICATIONS

Platform
PC, Mac
Hardware
Multicore Intel or AMD Athlon 64 processor; 4GB of RAM; 10.5GB of hard disk space; 1,024x768 display with 16-bit video colour; broadband internet connection
Operating system
Mac OS X v10.6.8 or 10.7; Windows XP with Service Pack 3 or Windows 7 with Service Pack 1
Software
Latest version of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Internet Explorer 9
Price
Annual subscription £53 a month or £38.12 a month for existing customers of CS3 or later for the first year
Contact
Adobe 020 7365 0735 www.adobe.com/uk

ALTERNATIVE

QuarkXPress 9.5
In terms of functionality, QuarkXPress remains the major rival to Adobe’s digital and print content creation and publishing tools. However, Quark has yet to follow Adobe’s lead in offering its core software on a software as a service basis, so users do not have the option to pay monthly. Quark offers a volume discount for enterprise clients, with discounts of up to 15%.

Platform PC, Mac
Hardware Intel processor (Mac); 2GB RAM (1GB minimum); 2GB hard disk space (1GB Windows)
Operating system
Mac OS 10.5.8 or newer; Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 or 3, Windows Vista 1.0, or Windows 7 (32 and 64 Bit)
Software
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 P1 (Windows)
Price
Single-user licence: £799; upgrade from QuarkXPress 7 or 8: £299
Contact
Quark 020 7362 5612 www.quark.com

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