Adobe to acquire Workfront for $1.5 billion

Adobe acquires workforce orchestration capabilities, but will Workforce customers be drawn into the Adobe eco-system?

In breaking news, the CX and creative giant Adobe has announced that it will acquire work management platform Workfront. This will add a high-profile collaboration to its Experience Cloud.

Adobe to acquire Workfront for $1.5 billion | DeviceDaily.com

The value of the deal is reported to be $1.5 billion, and it is likely to close between December and next February. Reports say this will be Adobe’s fifth largest acquisition. Workfront had previously been a significant partner of Adobe, and had an integration with the Adobe platform.

Writing in a blog post, Anil Chakravarthy, EVP and GM, Adobe Digital Experience Business, said: “The combination of Experience Cloud and Workfront will bring efficiency, collaboration, and productivity gains to marketing teams everywhere. Workfront’s platform is agile and uniquely architected for the enterprise, with extensive integration capabilities that can be easily configured to meet the varied needs of companies of all sizes.”

We asked Tony Byrne, President, Real Story Group, about the significance of the move. “It makes sense for Adobe, which has been missing out on the increasingly important workflow/operations front in martech,” he said. “For Workfront customers, the deal is less valuable. On the plus side, the platform will sit in a very stable vendor going forward. On the down side, Adobe may focus more on margins and lock-in, and less on stack agnosticism.”

He also speculated that Workfront licensees should brace themselves for potential fee increases upon renewal. “Workfront clients should push back against Adobe architectural precepts giving precedence to an all-Adobe stack strategy that is likely not in licensees’ best interests,” he said.

Chris Penn, co-founder of TrustInsights.ai, told us: “The acquisition is a logical step for Adobe. Frankly, I’m surprised Salesforce didn’t buy them first. Marketing operations and orchestration are the back end of any marketing cloud, and most marketing clouds are disorganized disasters within any organization from a people/process perspective. The Workfront acquisition patches that hole and gives Adobe Marketing Cloud orchestration capabilities that are missing in the other big marketing clouds.”

But he also echoed one of Bryne’s concerns. “The big question is, will Workfront continue to be marketing cloud agnostic, or is it suddenly going to become Adobe-centric?”

Why we care. Given the existing partnership and integration, the move can hardly be a complete surprise, but it will grab headlines with work management a heightened challenge for enterprises.

 

This story first appeared on MarTech Today.

 

 


About The Author

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech Today. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space. He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020. Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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