Digital (work) transformation: What it takes to lead

Forrester Wave Leader 2020 Collaborative Work Management Tools

A few years ago, I was sitting with one of our largest customers talking about some of their challenges as an enterprise. These weren’t just problems about missing dates, these were big philosophical questions about achieving real outcomes. The CEO had assigned a GM to lead that effort, and now I was sitting across the table from him on a cold winter day in the northeastern US. “We have to transform the way we operate, from top to bottom.” What he described to me in summary was that this company had to change from doing things one way and producing one result, to doing things a new way for a new result. This was about transformation. I came away from that conversation, and many others like it, with conviction that we had to change our approach to serve this fundamental shift underway.

As a result, Workfront made the decision to evolve our focus from merely “project management” to providing the backbone for digital work across the enterprise—an essential element of digital transformation.

To do this, we knew we’d need to create an enterprise-grade application platform to serve as a system of record for work, connecting processes, collecting data, and providing insights and automation to serve the same function for work as Salesforce does for customer relationship management and Workday does for human resources. In short, we set out to create a new enterprise software category.

Our vision was bold and maybe even a bit ahead of its time. However, we were confident that it was also inevitable. So we set a course and began executing toward this new North Star, while at the same time staying close to our customers and learning from their experiences to ensure our vision stayed aligned with real-world business problems and opportunities.

COVID-19 put a fine and very urgent point on the need for companies to turbocharge their digital transformation efforts—including reimagining how they support and value work. We’ve seen this clearly with our customers. Those whose organizations had adopted work management technology and practices as part of digital transformations were able to shift to a distributed workforce, in many cases overnight, and in most cases, without any disruption to productivity or quality.

Our customers aren’t the only ones who’ve noticed the role Workfront is playing in helping companies pivot and transform their business. This year we were named a Leader in IDC’s MarketScape: Worldwide Work Management and Project and Portfolio Management 2020 Vendor Assessment. In addition, Forrester Consulting conducted a commissioned Total Economic Impact™ study on behalf of Workfront that revealed how we’re helping our customers realize "sweeping productivity improvements,” saving them millions of dollars, including a 285% return on investment over three years.

And last month, The Forrester Wave™ Collaborative Work Management, Q4 2020, named Workfront a Leader. While that recognition is important, we believe the most important finding in the report is captured in these two sentences: “Workfront provides the strongest feature set for enterprise operational ecosystems. Unlike its competitors, Workfront has always taken an enterprise-first approach to CWM.”

Our commitment to building an enterprise application platform for work is not about selling software to big companies. This focus on the enterprise informs our product, platform, and data strategies, and influences our foundational architecture. It defines who we hire and how we invest. And most importantly, we believe this focus is enabling Workfront to deliver a fundamentally different value to our customers: the ability to transform work by digitally connecting people, processes, and technologies across the enterprise, and as a result, become a key element in delivering great employee and customer experiences.