Integrating Workfront with Advantage

Advantage is a financial system used by many creative agencies. Workfront is a work management system used to plan and manage projects, allowing teams to collaborate, and record time spent on tasks.

Some agencies that have both products are interested in synchronizing data between the two systems.

AtAppStore has built this integration in the past.

Integrating with Advantage, or any other financial system, is complex. It is not a small undertaking.

The following questions and answers are provided here to give a realistic sense of what needs to be considered if your agency is wanting to integrate Advantage with Workfront.

NOTE:
AtAppStore no longer provides the service of integrating Advantage with Workfront. Contact your Workfront rep to suggest alternate Workfront partners who could assist you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does the “hosted” Advantage product support any integrations?
A: As recently as June 2017, the “hosted” Advantage product did not provide any way for automated programs to connect/query/update the Advantage data. Treat this as a showstopper for integrating with Workfront, or any other Work Management systems. The only way to build an automated synchronization with Advantage is to use their “on-premises” version of the product.

Q: Should we be scoping, planning and designing our Advantage/Workfront integration before we have purchased Workfront?
A: We strongly recommend waiting. Realistically, if you have only seen a few demos of Workfront, you don’t yet have an appreciation for what Workfront offers. You don’t yet know how your staff will use Workfront. You don’t yet know whether your financial team will only work in Advantage, or whether they will use a combination of Advantage and Workfront to manipulate the data.

Q: What can we do in a more manual manner to import Workfront data such as hours into Advantage?
A: Workfront provides the ability to layout and export data to spreadsheets. Advantage provides the ability to import these spreadsheets. Refer to the Advantage documentation for the correct spreadsheet format that will be required.

Q: When should we start discussing an Advantage/Workfront integration with an outside vendor?
A: Our advice is to wait for at least 6 months after implementing Workfront. In the meantime, move the data manually – see the previous Question/Answer.

Q: Will we have to change any of our organizational processes?
A: Perhaps. This is another reason why deferring discussions of an integration is important. Your organization is unique, it doesn’t operate exactly the same as other agencies that use Advantage/Workfront. Your specific needs for an integration will probably be somewhat unique too. First, understand how Workfront will fit into your organization. Understand what triggering events should cause data to be moved either from Advantage to Workfront, or from Workfront to Advantage. For example, is data transmitted immediately (do you want to create a Workfront Project as soon as an Advantage Job is saved), or should it wait until sometime in the future (do you want to hold off sending any hours to Advantage until a project manager has reviewed and approved them in Workfront)? This discovery process occurs during those first 6 months of using Workfront.

Q: Our financial team wants our staff to enter their hours in Workfront, and have those hours transmitted to Advantage. Our financial team then wants to make any corrections to the hours in Advantage, potentially redistributing the hours, and have those changes flow back into Workfront. Is this possible?
A: No. Advantage stores hours in general buckets called Function Codes. Workfront is much more granular about where hours can be recorded. Workfront hours are usually recorded at the task level. Since Advantage doesn’t have the concept of a task, those corrections/redistributions cannot readily flow back into Workfront. The hours only flow in one direction: from the granular (Workfront) into the general buckets (Advantage).

Q: Can my staff record their hours in Workfront, have the hours transmitted to Advantage, and then later make corrections to those hours in Workfront?
A: Yes. As long as the hours, and subsequent corrections, are only flowing from Workfront to Advantage, the integration supports correctly updating Advantage based on the most recent hour records in Workfront.

Q: Where does the integration run?
A: The integration runs on a Windows computer within your network, so it can connect to the Advantage database, and can talk over the internet to Workfront.

Q: How long does the integration take to be operational?
A: About 3 months. This includes approximately one month to customize it for your unique organization, followed by another 4-6 weeks of testing within your organization. This lets you confirm that time entry cycles, and billing cycles are being handled by the integration as expected.