Adobe announced yesterday it’s shelling out $1.5 billion to acquire work management tool Workfront, cementing a longstanding partnership between the two companies.
Together, Adobe and Workfront can spin a tale of coupling a Forrester Wave™ Leader digital asset manager (DAM) and a work management tool that can handle all the planning and collaboration aspects of content production workflows. Using the tools in tandem, brands can build more efficient content creation processes and feed marketers’ ever-growing demands for personalized content.
From a marketing resource management (MRM) perspective, Adobe’s entering a crowded field of MRM vendors that couple content production workflows with a DAM. But Adobe has a leg up thanks to its sheer scale and existing presence in enterprise tech stacks. This acquisition is interesting because it shows that the complex processes underlying content collaboration and production aren’t easily built from scratch — Adobe would rather go the acquisition route. And it marks a new marketing cloud entrant into the marketing operations space; Adobe joins SAP, SAS, and HCL Unica as a marketing cloud investing in MRM.
On the DAM side, Adobe’s investment continues a trend of market consolidation, which we detailed years ago. This will benefit buyers because it means Adobe will be better suited to support the entire content lifecycle. It allows it to better compete with other DAM-MRM combos like Aprimo, which was also a Leader in our most recent DAM and MRM Forrester Wave evaluations. Moving upstream means Adobe will be able to better tell a story around content ROI, understanding what resources went into creating the content so that the performance of that content is put in context.
What remains to be seen is whether Workfront will shift its focus to support content development and marketing use cases, perhaps at the cost of its sizable developer and nonmarketing customer base. As a collaborative work management tool, Workfront offers capabilities that span far beyond marketing use cases today. And while Adobe mentioned Creative Cloud in the announcement, it sounds like the initial stages of the acquisition will align specifically with Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Experience Cloud — but we’d expect Creative Cloud to come into play, as it’s an essential suite for many content creators.
The deal is expected to close in Adobe’s fiscal Q1, which starts in December. If you have questions in the meantime, feel free to set up an inquiry with Steph for MRM questions, Nick for DAM questions, or Margo for collaborative work management questions.