Workfront Review 2019

May 2, 2019

11:49 am

Workfront Logo
  • Established: 2001
  • HQ: Lehi, UT, USA
  • Best suited for large companies
  • Workfront Fusion takes “codeless” approach to integration and automation
  • Restricts access to project data by user license type

Great project management software that centralizes your team's work, creating an “operational system of record.”

Workfront is not for everyone. If you're a small team looking to get up and running quickly with project management software, then Workfront may not be the best choice – you can't even get started without talking to a salesperson. Nearly every other option we've looked at doesn't have that kind of delay for small teams, letting you sign up and start working within minutes.

That's not to say that Workfront doesn't have its appeal for smaller companies, however. It offers features such as single sign-on that other project management services don't typically offer in the lower tiers. The starting 2GB per user storage limit is not too bad, either. The question for smaller teams is whether they need a quick and easy solution, or want to go through a more formal set-up process with Workfront.

  • No public pricing
  • At-a-glance time budget feature for calendar
  • Good task filtering features

What is Workfront?

‘Built for enterprises’ – that's the first thing that comes to mind when looking at Workfront. This tool is all about helping large companies connect disparate teams using numerous digital platforms to get work done. Workfront says it also caters to smaller teams, but it's clearly built with large companies in mind, given the depth of its resource management capabilities – and the fact that Workfront customizes (some might say restricts) what you see based on your role within a company.

What makes Workfront particularly interesting, however, is its focus on centralization. It wants to be a company's “operational system of record.” That means taking in data from the company's various online tools, and putting them together to get work done in one spot. The key part of that aim is Fusion, a drag-and-drop tool for integrating third-party services with Workfront.

In This Guide:

Workfront Features

Workfront has all the basic features a team needs, and makes them available right up front. Unlike other services, Workfront doesn't appear to hold back on features like task dependencies, Gantt charts, and other basic planning features. Instead, it holds back larger enterprise features in its lower tiers (things that most small teams don't really need), and offers less file storage per user as well as lower limits on API access. As you go up in pricing, those limits increase. Workfront also has a well developed task filtering system to help you find what you need quickly, and it offers a good range of automation tools. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have built-in chat, but that’s par for the course with most project management software.

Workfront Fusion

Workfront CalendarEvery project management tool out there wants to integrate third-party software to get work done. Few, however, are working so thoroughly at it as Workfront is with Fusion. Part of Workfront's focus with Fusion is creating a single “operational system of record,” which is just a fancy way of saying “putting all your data in one spot.” Fusion integrates with third-party tools, such as your customer relationship management tool and your supply-chain management solution, to make it easier for teams to access the information they need. Fusion supports more than 100 third-party integrations. It also reduces the need for coding and dealing with application programming interfaces thanks to its drag-and-drop interface.

Focused interface based on roles

Workfront restricts what users see based on what they need to do inside a project. Employees making requests of project teams, for example, don't see the nitty-gritty task lists and resources. Instead, they get to make requests to specific teams, and then see high level overviews of how those projects are progressing. Smaller businesses may find this approach strangling, but again, this tool isn't really meant for them. Large enterprises, meanwhile, will appreciate the feature, since getting overloaded with information in a large organization is always a problem.

Time budget

This is a small feature, but such a helpful addition. At the top of the weekly calendar view, there's a bar graph indicating how much of your work week you've already spent on project tasks, and other related events such as team or client meetings. The more stuff you throw at your calendar, the more that bar fills up. There's also a free vs. scheduled time numeric breakdown beside the bar graph to get a more concrete sense of what your week looks like. Keeping a good eye on the graph should reduce issues of over scheduling and taking on too many tasks in a given week.

Workfront Video Overview: Performance Management in Action

This video from Workfront shows the basic workflow of the project management software, from request for a marketing asset to delivery from the design team.

Workfront Pricing

Workfront does not make its pricing public. Instead, it only shows the features available for all four of its pricing tiers, and encourages prospective customers to speak with a customer service representative. This is yet another sign that Workfront is all about the enterprise, since smaller, more agile teams prefer to sign up for a service and go. For those companies, tools such as Basecamp or are better suited.

Given Workfront's lack of pricing data, all we can do is break down the features available within each pricing tier.

The bottom tier is called Team, and as its name suggests, it's designed for a single team. This level offers Workfront's basic features, such as the ability to plan and assign work; project templates; programs and portfolios; custom forms and logic; AI-enabled team and project scheduling; document review and comments; ad hoc approvals; dashboards, various reports, project agile views, productivity app integrations, and timesheets. The third-party integrations at this level are pretty good, with key services such as Slack and Outlook. What you don't get, however, are integrations for Jira, Salesforce, or Adobe Creative Cloud, document webhooks, and REST API access. You do get some basic enterprise tools, such as encryption at rest, single sign-on, and customized branding. Each user also gets 2GB worth of storage.

Next up is Pro, which is designed for a single department. This offers the same features as Team, but adds business case, AI-enabled department and global resource scheduling, resource planning, interactive media review, a desktop proofing viewer, approval workflows, and unlimited proofs. You also add those notable integrations missing from Team, such as Jira and Salesforce. This is also where you can get access to Workfront Fusion, but at an additional cost – Fusion is not included for free in any of the plans. You also get REST API access with a limit of 1,500 requests every 24 hours per license, and 15GB of storage per user.

The Business tier suits up to 10 company departments. It adds alignment scorecards, a portfolio optimizer, global demand management, an increase in REST API access, and 30GB of storage per user.

Finally, there's Enterprise, which can cover an entire company. This gives 60GB of storage per user, unlimited REST API access, and support for audit rights and whitelisting for Internet Protocol addresses. It also offers 24/7, 365 support, and a one-hour promised response time.

Workfront Verdict

Workfront is a solid choice for large teams that need to restrict views based on roles, and want to pull in as much data from other corporate tools as possible. It also has a pricing tier for smaller teams, but you can't get up and running as quickly as you can with other solutions.

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Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has worked as a technology industry reporter and critic for more than ten years. He’s written for PCWorld, Macworld, TechHive, Yahoo, Lifewire, and The Huffington Post. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, security software, and browsers.