December 7, 2020

Why Adobe’s Acquisition of Workfront is Bigger Than You Think

By Nicholas DeBenedetto, Chief Executive Officer, LeapPoint

While Adobe’s $1.5 billion acquisition of Workfront may not seem as massive as Salesforce’s $27.7 billion purchase of Slack, its previous $15.7 billion acquisition of Tableau, or even SAP’s $8 billion buy of Qualtrics, it is HUGE in what it enables Adobe to do ahead of the competition. Here’s why.

Connected Work ™.With this move, Adobe is both cementing its stronghold in marketing and advancing its share into the corporate enterprise. While the competition has strengths in other areas – Salesforce in CRM, ServiceNow in ITSM, Microsoft in productivity, and Atlassian in agile product management – work management is the tie that binds and provides Adobe access to the entire enterprise.

MarTech leaders have cited challenges with cross-functional work, which is Workfront’s strong point as it centralizes work across all corporate functions to drive consistency, collaboration and efficiency end-to-end. Although a sizable percentage of its user base serves marketing, Workfront has extremely strong and numerous use cases in almost every corporate function. This purpose-built enterprise capability, as recognized by Forrester, provides corporations with the ability to adopt a single solution to collaborate within their function and across the enterprise.

Over the past few years, Workfront has added two additional offerings to further connect work: Workfront Goals and its iPaaS capability, Workfront Fusion.

Connected Technology. Workfront Fusion is a no/low code integration platform to connect Workfront with other software solutions in the stack. As a result, data can flow between Workfront and Adobe, other non-Adobe solutions like Salesforce, Workday, SAP, Seismic, Sprinklr, and hundreds of other solutions without the burden of copying & pasting, opening or learning how to access data within other systems.

Connected Goals. Workfront Goals allows users to set strategic goals and objectives and align them with the day-to-day work being performed to ensure that the most valuable work gets done first.  Connecting operational and tactical work with the corporate objectives provides the alignment needed to demonstrate performance and quantifiable results.


  The Enterprise Customer Journey

With the addition and connection of Workfront to Adobe’s Creative and Experience Cloud, Adobe is making it easier than ever to leverage the full value of the marketing stack across the enterprise customer journey. This is incredibly important going into 2021/2022 as marketers face tremendous cost pressures to utilize more of what they already have in the stack. According to Gartner’s 2020 Marketing Technology Survey, marketing technology represents 26% of marketing expense budgets, yet brands utilize just 58% of their marketing technology stack’s capabilities.

CMOs who utilize 70% of their MarTech stack’s capabilities by 2022 will achieve 20% better marketing ROI than peers, the research finds. This mounting pressure and clear benefit to connected work explains why 59% of respondents reported a “sharp reversal” from just last year and now say they prefer to “select their technologies using an integrated suite approach instead, relying primarily on a single vendor with multiple interconnected capabilities to satisfy their needs.”

From a brand performance and execution standpoint, the Adobe-Workfront deal has enormous benefit for the future of marketing and its impact across the entire enterprise. With a better-utilized stack and less resources going unused, marketers will have the key data inputs to not only accelerate and hyper personalize content but move towards marketing’s holy grail — the ability to quantify marketing ROI and demonstrate sales attribution.

With Workfront’s automation features tied into Adobe’s Marketo, marketers will be able to know exactly what every campaign will cost even before it’s run.

  Talent Migration

The customer experience will remain paramount, but the rise of the employee experience is underway. Top talent does not want to work for companies where it is difficult to get work done. They want to spend their time on what they do best. When systems are cumbersome, convoluted and not connected, top talent will leave organizations and find a better place to do their thing. Or, as Harvard Business Review points out, they will resist using the technology at all if it’s not supportive and user friendly.

There is a reason why the best and the brightest go to Pixar – a company known for making great films with great people, and they back it up by “constantly trying to use better technology at every stage of production” (2008, Pixar). 

Great employees need great tools. This is especially important for recruiting and retaining the best young talent. According to a survey by The Workforce Institute, nearly 40 percent of younger Millennials and Gen Z employees think outdated processes and technology make their job harder than it should be. Creating a system that connects seamlessly end-to-end will remove the manual burden associated with non-connected systems and give employees the tools they need to execute efficiently beyond expectations.

Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your customers!

  Turbo-charged, Omnichannel Hyper-Personalization

Some people may not like hyper-personalization, but I’d much rather receive an on-point, clutch reminder to buy a six-pack of Corona when I’m shopping for Taco Tuesday ingredients than get another generic LinkedIn message that someone can improve my business by 10x.

Adobe’s Target already provides testing, personalization, and automation at scale to eliminate silos and bring omnichannel personalization to the masses. The new age of hyper-personalization is not just about how fast you can engage digitally, but how well you target the customer segment by connecting contacts to campaigns with the right assets and adjusting accordingly to what the analytics are telling you. By adding Workfront to what they already have, Adobe’s B2B and B2C omnichannel hyper-personalization offering will become even more precise, fast and furious.

  The Future of Work

The competition is heating up for the Future of Work. According to Gartner’s Top Strategic Technology Trends for 2021, (sorry for the Gartner research love fest but they are doing a great job analyzing this market and making their data accessible) the acceleration of digital business requires the hyperautomation of legacy business processes and any company that doesn’t focus on streamlining a “patchwork” of technologies “will be left behind.”

In order for AI, ML and RPA to reach their potential, you need a Connected Work framework to help them take flight and overcome challenges with maintainability, scalability and governance. The acquisition of Workfront not only gives Adobe a better Future of Work runway, it also puts them first in line for takeoff.

Who do you think will make the next move, and what will it be? Whatever it is, the companies that will win are the ones that understand how to harness the immense power of work, technology and talent and bring Connected Work to the next level.

LeapPoint is a digital advisory firm connecting work, technology, and talent to drive unparalleled business experiences and outcomes.  Visit our Adobe + Workfront partner page to learn more or contact us at to take the Leap!


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