Apr
27
2021
--

With Workfront, Adobe combines automated workflow with customer experience

Five months ago, Adobe purchased (for $1.5 billion) Workfront, a company that helps build marketing department workflows. Today the company is officially announcing how it intends to use it. As marketing executives try to balance mapping strategy to the creative process while building customized experiences, a marketing workflow tool would fit neatly into Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), and that’s where it has landed.

Alex Shootman, who was CEO at Workfront and is now VP and GM of Adobe Workfront, told me they see the tool as the system of record for the marketing department inside of AEM. While there is more than a hint of marketing in that explanation, the data from Workfront’s workflows acts as a record of the creative process.

As part of Adobe, the company has built hooks into Experience Manager and Creative Cloud to enable marketing’s creative work to move through an organized and auditable process, leaving a data trail that lets management know exactly what happened — a marketing system of record.

Shootman says having this system of record in place allows marketing teams to do several things. For starters, it lets them connect strategy to execution. “If you think about a CMO, he or she and their team is developing the key priorities for decisions for the year or for the quarter [and this helps them] take those key priorities and make sure that they are driving the activities within the marketing organization,” he said.

He says that involves connecting the people, processes and data within marketing into a single system where teams can iteratively plan on the work as changes arise. That’s where Workfront comes into play.

Brent Leary, lead analyst at CRM Essentials, says the approach makes a great deal of sense. “Creating enough personalized content at scale to stay connected with customers as their needs evolve over time is a team sport. That calls for tighter collaboration throughout the creation process, and Workfront within the AEM brings a sophisticated project management capability to the creative process,” Leary said.

During the pandemic, that became imperative as the majority of sales moved online. That increased the need for speed and agility. Having this workflow tool in place inside the Adobe Experience Manager means it’s not only allowing marketing to build customized experiences for its customers, it also enables them to automate the workflows behind those customizations.

The way this could work in practice is a marketing team creates a campaign and maps it out in Workfront. From there, creatives get assigned tasks and these tasks show up in Creative Cloud. When they complete the assignment, it automatically goes back into Workfront where it will be reviewed, eventually get approved and get published to the Digital Asset Management (DAM) tool where it will be available for use by the entire marketing team.

When it comes to acquisitions, it’s hard to know how well they’ll turn out, but Workfront seems particularly well suited to the Adobe ecosystem, a tool that can help bring a missing workflow automation component to the entire creative process, while allowing marketing execs to see exactly how their strategy played out.

Apr
27
2021
--

Adobe launches a new, simplified digital asset manager

Adobe today announced the launch of a new asset management tool, Adobe Experience Manager Assets Essentials. That’s a mouthful, but while the company didn’t necessarily simplify the name, the idea here is to give teams that work with lots of digital assets an easier-to-use management experience in the Adobe Experience Cloud than Adobe’s current enterprise-centric asset management tool can offer.

In addition, Adobe is also launching the first tool to integrate this new experience: the Adobe Journey Optimizer. This new tool is meant to help users leverage their customer data to build out customer journeys and figure out the best ways to deliver messages and content along that journey.

“The push towards digital content and building these richer, engaging experiences — customers expect it,” Elliot Sedegah, director of Strategy and Product Marketing, Adobe, told me. “Almost every interaction that you go along, you expect a rich experience. And not only at that point of just having richer material, like images or video, etc., but you expect it at every point of interaction with that customer. So that customer, if you think of it, isn’t just interacting with a brand, but our customers, they think of it as a customer journey. So using the same content, from awareness to conversion to post-sale and loyalty — they expect that same story to maintain. And it’s getting increasingly hard to get to all the different touchpoints.”

Image Credits: Adobe

Like with similar products, the idea here is to create a centralized, collaborative space for content creators and the teams that use their work. In that respect, this new tool isn’t necessarily all that different from other shared online file management services. But Adobe is also leveraging some of its unique capabilities. It’s using its AI smarts and Adobe Sensei platform to help users organize and tag their assets, for example, to make them more easily searchable. And the new tool is integrated with Adobe Asset Link, so creative professionals can search, browse and edit these assets directly from Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and XD without having to switch context.

As Sedegah noted, not too long ago, it was mostly the creative teams and marketing that were involved in the content creation and management process. But today, this group also includes sales teams and customer support, for example, and the pandemic only accelerated this process.

Image Credits: Adobe

“[Our customers] have been forced to rethink their business models, rethink the way that they engage with customers — and it essentially accelerated this digital-everywhere process of the experiences customers get, the agility that customers expect from businesses, and then the number of people — and how they work — leveraging that content.”

So while Adobe’s enterprise asset management tools worked just fine before, the company’s users were telling it that it needed to do a better job at creating tools that made its asset management technology easier to use by more teams.

The first tool to integrate this new asset management experience directly is the Journey Optimizer. “That was a great opportunity for us to rethink that user experience that our customers wanted to deliver — and then make it easier for that person to do,” Sedegah said. “So as you’re building out a content journey — or maybe you’re designing a piece of content that’s going to get sent to maybe a customer as they engage with a brand — the digital assets appear right there for that author to use.”

Next up for integration is Workfront, the work management platform Adobe acquired last year. There’s an obvious synergy here between Workfront’s abilities to manage the planning, review and approval stages of a project and an asset management system like this.

The long-term strategy, though, is to integrate this experience across all Experience Cloud applications.

Nov
09
2020
--

Adobe acquires marketing workflow startup Workfront for $1.5B

Adobe just announced that it is acquiring marketing workflow management startup Workfront for $1.5 billion. Bloomberg first reported the sale earlier today.

Workfront was founded back in 2001, making it a bit long in the tooth for a private company that has raised $375 million, according to Crunchbase. (It’s worth noting that $280 million of that was secondary money raised last year.)

The acquisition gives Adobe more online marketing tooling to fit into its Experience Cloud. This one helps companies manage complex projects inside the marketing department (or elsewhere in the company, for that matter).

Suresh Vittal, VP of platform and product for Adobe Experience Cloud, said that the two companies often work together and encounter one another’s sales teams. As the pandemic has played out, it began to make more sense to bring in-house this kind of tooling that works well in a distributed environment, and over the last several months the deal came together.

“The new normal distributed marketing team, distributed experience delivery teams, people having to work remotely — we started to see new use cases emerge around the idea of work management, around the idea of content velocity, around the idea of providing compliance and governance capabilities so no asset escapes the organization, and it goes through this process of passing through creative and the marketing teams and getting out there and really representing your brand in the right way,” Vittal explained.

Workfront CEO Alex Shootman sees the deal as a way to accelerate the roadmap while working with a much larger company. “We are barely scratching the surface of marketing and we could grow tremendously, just by having that great kind of integrated relationship,” he said.

Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research, says the acquisition will help Adobe customers manage the complexities of marketing project management. “Scheduling and managing work had gotten orders of magnitude more complex for enterprises, and Adobe is accounting for that with the acquisition of Workfront, providing better tool support for the new future of work,” Mueller told TechCrunch.

Workfront’s 960 employees will become part of Adobe and become part of the Adobe Experience Cloud. Shootman will continue to run it and report to Anil Chakravarthy, executive vice president and general manager of the digital experience business at Adobe.

Workfront’s customers include Home Depot, T-Mobile and Deloitte, and the two companies share 1,000 common customers among Workfront’s 3,000 total customer base. In fact, it has APIs that connect to Adobe Creative Cloud and Experience Cloud, two parts of the company’s product family that marketers frequently access.

As Adobe battles Salesforce, SAP and Oracle in the marketing automation space, it’s been using its checkbook to acquire additional fire power in recent years. This acquisition comes after Adobe spent $1.6 billion for Magento and $4.75 billion for Marketo in 2018. That’s almost $8 billion for three companies in less than two years, even as it builds out parts of its Adobe Experience Cloud in-house. Combined, it shows just how serious the company is about making headway in this valuable area.

Customer experience has always been an essential element of online and in-person transactions, making sure the customer feels good about the interactions it has with a brand. It not only keeps them coming back, but it encourages them to act as ambassadors on behalf of a company, something that has incredible value.

Conversely, a bad experience can lead to the opposite impact, causing a prospective or even loyal customer to abandon a brand and speak badly about it to friends online and in person. Adobe hopes that by bringing another marketing tool into the fold, it can help its customers increase the likelihood of a positive online customer experience. This one should allow marketing personnel working at a company to move marketing projects through a workflow from idea to delivery.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of Adobe’s fiscal year. Per usual, it will be subject to typical regulatory scrutiny.

Powered by WordPress | Theme: Aeros 2.0 by TheBuckmaker.com