Workfront is investing in digital red ink.

The Lehi, Utah-based enterprise work management provider announced today it acquired one of its partners, ProofHQ, a London-based provider of online proofing software that allows enterprises to track, edit and make improvements to creative projects — tasks editors once handled with a red ink pen.

The move further demonstrates Workfront’s investment into the marketing work management (MWM) space. It comes just a week after Workfront announced it added a digital asset management (DAM) solution to its enterprise workflow platform.

Gartner named Workfront a challenger in its 2014 Magic Quadrant for Marketing Resource Management.

“Workfront has been used by marketing teams since the company started, but began strategic selling to marketing teams and agencies about three to four years ago,” said Joe Staples, chief marketing officer for Workfront, which started as AtTask in 2001. 

“After seeing our business evolve, as well as looking more closely at the dynamics of the marketing opportunity, we have decided to dedicate more of our roadmap to supporting the marketing work management space. For MWM, we have strong win and renewal rates, and the competition is more vulnerable.”

Already Partners

ProofHQ was founded 2007 on the premise that for most marketing teams, the process for managing review and approval of creative content was broken. Joining Workfront, it will operate as a stand-alone company and will be referred to as ProofHQ, a Workfront company. 

The ProofHQ team will become members of the broader Workfront team, but will maintain a similar reporting structure and executive team to what they have today, according to Staples. There will be approximately 650 employees between the two companies.

screenshot of the workfront-proofhq online proofing technology

ProofHQ is already integrated with Workfront with more than 350 joint customers between the two companies.

Workfront began offering proofing as part of its solution through the partnership with ProofHQ about three years ago. Staples said the proofing capabilities within Workfront enable users to easily track changes made by reviewers, and compare all of the versions against each other in the system.

“You can even proof video,” Staples told CMSWire. “Anyone who creates assets and needs to have them reviewed can benefit from the proofing capabilities within Workfront. As of now, we primarily see creative, manufacturing, compliance and finance teams as users of the proofing solution.”  

Mat Atkinson, CEO of 2,600-customer ProofHQ, said in a statement that online proofing bridges the gap between creative design and customer engagement.

“Combining ProofHQ with Workfront will provide our customers with immediate value via access to an integrated workflow solution to support their high velocity marketing activities,” he said. “We see significant value for all of our current and future customers.”

Product Plans

The acquisition takes place immediately. ProofHQ and Workfront “are very complementary solutions,” according to Staples. Customers, he said, will continue to have a choice of purchasing the ProofHQ product as an integrated part of Workfront, or as a standalone offering.

Typical case scenario on this software? Someone needs a new tradeshow booth designed. They create a project and assign tasks to certain individuals or teams. 

Once the creative services team has created a mockup of the booth design, they can attach a digital proof within the tool asking for the requestor to provide feedback on a particular task. Team members can view, edit, and make suggestions to the attached image, all in one tool. Approvals or rejections are marked. 

"By using the proofing tool," Staples said, "all work is kept in one place, and version control is effortless. The combined offering allows marketing teams and agencies to plan all of the tasks surrounding a project, coordinate resources to execute the work, have all stakeholders weigh in on the creative proof, and manage its distribution, all in one single comprehensive solution."

The 2015 In-house Creative Services Industry Report found that ProofHQ is the most commonly used proofing software.  

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by emdot.