By Justin Trump
For years the industry standard in creative design software has been Adobe and their Creative Suite products. Just over a year ago Adobe released their Creative Cloud. As I talk to many design professionals in the industry, there seems to be either a complete lack of understanding, or some misconceptions about the product and program. Having sold hundreds of copies of the Creative Cloud, I talk about the product on a regular basis.
Here are a few things you might not know about the Adobe Creative Cloud.
1) Traditional Licensing is Ending
If you've purchased any Adobe creative products over the last ten years, you're familiar with their licensing program. You call your reseller, or go on Adobe's website, tell them which products you want, pay a one-time fee, and the software is yours to use. This traditional licensing program is ending. For corporate accounts, Adobe will stop selling traditional licensing April 2014. For non-profit/education customers, it will happen sometime before the end of 2014.
This is significant, because if you don't want to move to the Adobe Creative Cloud yet, you will want to load up on licenses before the traditional program ends. Once that cutoff date happens, your only choice will be to purchase on the Creative Cloud.
2) Non-Creative Products Can Still Be Licensed
One big misconception we see is that people think all Adobe products are now only available through the subscription model. This is not true. Any product that is considered non-creative, such as Acrobat and EchoSign, are still available to be licensed. These products are included in Creative Cloud, but don't have to purchased through the subscription model.
3) Teams Versus Single Apps
In the traditional licensing program, you had a lot of options. You could purchase the Master Collection, Design & Web Premium, Production Premium, Design Standard, or any individual item you want. This is no longer the case for the Creative Cloud. As of right now, you have two choices: Creative Cloud for Teams or Single Apps. The Creative Cloud for Teams is a one size fits all type solution. It includes every creative product that Adobe has to offer and a few products that are only available through the CC (TypeKit, Kuler, Story CC Plus, ProSite, etc).
If this plan is too expensive for you, or it's a bit overkill for what you need, you can purchase a number of items as a Single App. Here's a list of Single Apps available: Acrobat Pro, After Effects, Audition, Dreamweaver, Flash Pro, Illustrator, InCopy, InDesign, Muse, Photoshop, Prelude, Premiere Pro, SpeedGrade, and Story CC Plus.
4) The VIP Program
How you purchase CC now is completely different. You can't just call up your reseller and purchase the license. If you want to subscribe to CC, you have to apply to the VIP program through your reseller and get a VIP ID. You will receive a link from Adobe asking you to accept their Terms & Conditions to complete the process. This ID needs to be referenced on every purchase you make.
I caution you, be careful who your initial purchase is made through. Once that reseller applies for your VIP ID, that ID is attached to that reseller. If you need to make a subsequent purchase, you will either need to go through the same reseller, or ask them to help get it switched to another. Good luck with that.
5) Subscriptions Are Pro-Rated
Once you receive your VIP ID, you establish the base-line for your renewal month. Any subsequent purchase you make will be pro-rated to the initial purchase month. Please note: this only applies when purchasing an annual subscription.
6) Installation Media is No Longer Available
If you've depended on installation media kits before, you will no longer be able to purchase them. Adobe has done this to reduce the amount of illegal copies being created and sold online. You can now only download the products through the licensing website.
7) Free Updates
This is one of the reasons why Adobe switched to a subscription based model. If you are using a CC product, any updates that Adobe releases for the product will now be included. This will eliminate the issue of compatibility for any organization with multiple users.
Under the traditional licensing program, upgrades were an option that you could purchase either upfront on the maintenance plan, or when you were ready to upgrade. This created several problems. What if the contact at company changed, and the new contact didn't know there was a maintenance plan? They would turn around and purchase new licenses when they were entitled to the upgrades for free. Also, some resellers weren't giving a company the discounted upgrade price at the time of purchase, they were charging them the full price for the product. Both of these meant the customer was spending money they didn't need to spend.
8) The Only Thing Cloud About CC is the Storage
This is the biggest misconception I see about the Adobe Creative Cloud. I will say this very clearly. Your software is still installed on your computer. You do not need to be connected to the internet to use the software. Your software is not somehow "streamed" online through a web browser.
The only thing cloud about CC is the storage. You have the option to store your files in Adobe's data centers... if you want to. I've seen a huge concern from users as to the security about cloud based storage. Listen, if you don't feel comfortable putting your files in the cloud, you don't have to use it. You can still save the files on a server or external hard drive. Administrators can disable the cloud storage. The downside is you miss out on some of the collaboration tools Adobe offers, but you can keep your peace of mind.
9) Buyer Beware- The Lure of Promotional Pricing
I have heard a number of times people say, "Well, I can get it for such and such price on Adobe's website". Beware of the promo pricing you see, whether on Adobe's site, or through a reseller. Adobe has lured many users in with promo pricing from time to time, only to jack the pricing up after a year. Also, resellers have offered promo pricing only to hi-jack your VIP ID and make it impossible to switch to a different partner, and charging you significantly more on subsequent orders.
The point here is DO YOUR HOMEWORK before purchasing. Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples when reviewing different offers. Ask your reseller their process for transferring the VIP ID if you want to purchase the next order through somebody else.
10) Adobe CCT Support Calls
This is possibly one of the biggest upsides that people don't know about with the Creative Cloud for Teams. Any time you purchase a Creative Cloud for Teams subscription, every year Adobe will give your company two one-on-one phone calls with an Adobe expert. This will allow your team to ask questions, learn cool tricks, find new ways of doing things, learn a more in depth understanding of products they're not familiar with, and so much more. As long as you renew your subscription, you can continue receiving these support calls every year. Note, this only applies to CCT, it does not apply to any Single Apps or other purchase plans.
What about you? What has your experience with the Creative Cloud been like? What bits of information have you learned that others can benefit by knowing?
About the Author- Justin Trump has sold hundreds of copies of the Adobe Creative Cloud and maintains a website dedicated to helping young entrepreneurs grow.
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