Workfront: a solution for our new world of work

Front cover of an IDC MarketScape report on a desk

Work as we know it has changed—how we work, where we work, what we work on. Figuring out how to adapt to and thrive in this new world of work is top of mind for organizations worldwide. It’s top of mind for us too. We are all navigating a new work landscape together, looking for best-in-class solutions that power remote teams, enable collaborative work, keep productivity high, and align what everyone is working on to business goals and outcomes.

The emerging theme in this time of uncertainty is connection—of people, of data, of every facet of work flowing through the enterprise. Workfront knows how to navigate disruption through connection. We know how people work. We see it up close every day. We help thousands of teams in thousands of organizations worldwide reimagine how they approach work and transform how they do work.

We’ve observed a growing imperative across all organizations and all industries to shift from team-based task management to a holistic work management approach that spans the enterprise and adapts to not just changing market forces, but pandemics as well. These first-hand observations have driven Workfront’s mission and direction for the last decade, a vision that is being validated by the analyst community and a new report from big-three analyst firm IDC Research titled IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Work Management and Project and Portfolio Management 2020 Vendor Assessment. In a crowded software landscape, nine vendors met the stringent inclusion requirements of this inaugural report and Workfront came out on top.

As a recent addition to Workfront’s leadership team, and former customer, I have a frontline perspective to offer on the market conditions that necessitated this new category—and the reasons Workfront has emerged as its leader.

A new world of work—and a brave new category.

According to the report, IDC’s new designation of work management as a distinct category from project and task management was driven by several factors, but two in particular stood out:

IDC recognizes what businesses have rapidly come to terms with—team-based task management and traditional project management approaches aren’t well suited for the complexities of how work is done today. We need adaptive, flexible approaches. Configurability and seamless integration are essential. This is where Workfront excels.

Seamless integration.

“Organizations seeking robust, collaborative, and dynamic work management tools and a quick onramp for general, foundational project and portfolio management capabilities can use Workfront for speed of adoption and implementation as a common system of record across groups.”

—IDC Research

At Workfront, we aren’t trying to push everyone onto a single platform to do everything. We know our customers need to be able to work in solutions across multiple platforms. We believe in letting people work natively where they need to work. And rather than asking people to change their practice, we offer the ability to connect disparate systems together, with Workfront serving as a digital backbone that connects people and work and aggregates data.

We don’t do this in a hyper prescriptive way because our solution can flex up and down, scaling across work type, teams and divisions, locations and geographies, while offering the ability to control access, permissions, and visibility.

Configurability and ease of use.

“Key differentiators for Workfront include ease of use and adoption, with interaction, design, and collaboration tools applied to the context of work to help enable higher adoption rates; work management (end-to-end management of the work life cycle, including structured and unstructured work); configurability to multiple use cases and workflows; mixed methodology support,” etc.

—IDC Research

Work today isn't departmental. The whole company has to come together to execute on organizational goals and initiatives. But we also know that different departments and teams work and communicate differently—and they need to be able to.

A configurable work management solution allows IT to think in terms of sprints, epics, and features, while empowering marketing to approach their work in terms of campaigns and programs. Both can be brought together on a platform that connects all facets of work while accommodating different ways of planning and executing. Each team can customize forms, workflows, and visualizations, from Kanban boards to Gantt charts, but they’re still powered by the same configurable, extensible, unified platform underneath.

Adaptive, flexible approaches.

“Workfront … is gaining market attention and revenue with adaptive approaches to work collaboration and coordination and its strength for other areas, particularly marketing … Workfront's land-and-expand approach has enabled the organization to grow significantly, and to evolve its way from initial team-centric deployments to cross-functional execution with increasingly large enterprises.”

—IDC Research

For each industry, company, and team, work has its own heartbeat. A work management solution should adapt to that rhythm rather than try to force the work to march along to an external metronome. It should be market, vertical, and team agnostic—giving any work group in any industry the necessary visibility, control, and collaboration to execute against high-level strategies.

This means more than taking an existing process and powering each step digitally. Effective workflow automation should drive key decision points, inputs and outputs, handoffs and tradeoffs—with the understanding that interim tasks and steps will ebb and flow between these touchpoints. Having this kind of flexible workflow that’s not overly prescriptive allows companies to adjust, teams to grow and improve, and markets to change, without needing to call in the consultants to reconfigure and reengineer everything every time you shorten a review cycle or bring a new team into a certain phase of your workflow.

The ability to scale across teams, divisions, and locations without losing sight of the fact that there are individuals sitting in teams and departments doing this work is critical. They need to be able to work their own way while remaining connected to larger strategic outcomes that span the enterprise.

An enterprise work management solution for thriving in a new work landscape.

“As work ‘modernizes’ and organizations rely increasingly on a broad range of resources for creating and leveraging digital assets and digital innovation, the increasing complexity and criticality of competitive organizational execution demands ease of access and visibility into progress, prioritization, and execution of work.”

—IDC Research

Workfront’s mission is to serve the enterprise as a whole—a growing necessity driven by the increasing interconnectedness between teams and departments in today’s work landscape. But that doesn’t mean companies have to roll out a new work management solution throughout the enterprise all at once. They can start with a single team or department and grow from there.

The reason Workfront tends to expand both vertically and horizontally within organizations is because it’s a solution for improving work execution, streamlining operations, driving lasting change management, and helping customers achieve their most important business goals despite uncertain times and rapidly changing market forces.