Integration automates customer-facing processes
To accommodate growth, Workfront’s finance team used Dell Boomi AtomSphere to integrate ERP, CRM, HR and other systems to speed processes and eliminate the need for custom coding.
Workfront, founded in 2001 as project management software solution AtTask, is a software provider focusing on enterprise teams. As the provider of a cloud-based enterprise work management solution, Workfront helps marketing, IT and other enterprise teams in all industries “conquer the chaos” so they can work better, smarter and faster by eliminating communication breakdown and speeding up processes.
For integration, the Workfront financial team had been using an internal scripting product it had built in Intacct —
cloud ERP software they relied on for financial management. But they wanted to be able to update fields such as contract dates, license prices and annual recurring revenue (ARR). The financial team also wanted to automate software provisioning without requiring time-consuming and resource-intensive custom code.
Updating code efficiently
Each time Workfront changed a product or its pricing, it needed to assign a full-time employee from the database
team to update the code in its ERP software. Depending on the products involved, that coding maintenance
could require anywhere from two days to several weeks, which quickly became unmanageable. While the Workfront
Finance team considered hiring a fulltime finance resource to take over the development, it realized that wouldn’t
Among Workfront’s Service and Sales Operations teams, there were even more manual processes. With each closed sale, Service and Operations typically took another two to three weeks to review the opportunity and gather the resources needed to start up a project, which delayed customer onboarding. It was clear that an automated solution was the only choice.
Replacing code with on-the-fly integration
Workfront began looking at rebuilding the processes from the ground up. But the team realized that wouldn’t solve the problem of needing a resource in Finance capable of making changes on the fly, without a technical background. Since several people on the team had worked with Dell Boomi previously, they knew AtomSphere integration platform as a service (iPaaS) could handle the processes they had in mind. The business had a number of requirements, including the ability to properly track ARR at sum and detail levels. The team also wanted to replace manual data entry for the sales order form and eliminate human error.
Workfront implemented AtomSphere to automate data sharing between Salesforce Sales Cloud (for CRM) and Intacct and a year later migrated from Intacct to NetSuite as its ERP system.
Now, Workfront uses AtomSphere to manage its quote-to-cash process by integrating Salesforce and NetSuite, as well as the back-end product that manages Workfront’s own provisioning, license accounts and consulting projects.
“It started with a scope of creating our own provisioning system because IT owned provisioning and Finance needed the flexibility to understand and control it ourselves,” says William Jolley, corporate information systems team lead. “With
Dell Boomi, we’ve been able to automate a lot of our customer-facing processes.”
Workfront teams start with Salesforce, where a contact moves to an opportunity that’s ready for processing. For new customers, the data is also shared with NetSuite to create new customers and add their financial information. When a sales order is created in NetSuite, the customer information is updated automatically in Salesforce, including the contract start and end dates and the licenses purchased. The data is sent to Workfront and the back office to provision the customer with the proper licenses and expiration date.
For any consulting engagements, the service department is automatically notified when a contract is closed so it can contact the customer right away. “The cool thing is, as soon as an opportunity closes, consulting can start an active project the same day,” Jolley says. “For the customers, after closing the contract, they can jump right onto implementing the same day, so there’s no paperwork in between.”
Extending productivity gains
When the project began, Workfront had three people processing about 75 to 100 orders per month and capturing four to five data points. After implementing Dell Boomi AtomSphere, the same number of people can process 600 deals per month, with 100 data points captured. By eliminating manual processes and reducing errors, the quality of those orders has also improved.
With the success of the Finance team’s use of AtomSphere, other areas of the Workfront organization have seen the
benefits of integration. Dell Boomi has enabled Workfront to integrate its ERP system with other applications such as Concur for travel and expense management and Ultimate Software’s UltiPro for human resources.
According to Eric Sailsbery, vice president of Finance, “We’ve set up a group that uses AtomSphere to share data between all of our internal systems and facilitate deeper automation and integration of those systems. It became a shared service group because of our ability to solve integration problems by using AtomSphere, and people started leaning on us to help things happen. It has grown much bigger than we initially anticipated, and today we depend on Dell Boomi a lot to automate and integrate.”
In this shared services model, Workfront established a cross-departmental global operations group to determine other
processes to automate and integrate, using AtomSphere. The integration platform’s flexibility makes it easy for the group to use it as a nondisruptive solution to any number of issues.
“The group knows about product changes and new features we’re introducing,” says Jake Darley, revenue manager for Workfront. “Once we’ve educated each other about it, our global operations team meets with people from all over the company to map out the internal processes. We also discuss if Dell Boomi can be used to share data instead of hard coding for internal projects.”
Among the most significant benefits that the Workfront team experienced with Dell Boomi AtomSphere are its flexibility
“Because of AtomSphere’s flexibility, someone with a nontechnical background can make changes to our integrations on the fly,” says Jolley, who attended Dell Boomi Integration Developer I training. “Coming from a research analyst background in economics and accounting, I didn’t know anything about coding and systems integration. With the Integration Developer I training, I was able to immediately get a clear picture of what it takes to get two systems to communicate and get started with the integration that we needed.”
In the future, Workfront plans to expand the use of Dell Boomi even further throughout the organization. “There are a lot of other things we plan to automate to make sure everyone has the information they need,” Jolley says.
- Expense Management
- Salesforce Sales Cloud