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System Administrator Best Practices - Utilizing Your Technology




To finalize the 3-part System Administrator series on people, process and technology, this week’s blog will focus on utilizing your technology, from the perspective of administering Workfront. Summarized below are four key areas in which you will want to become technically skilled, based on feedback from others just like you, who’ve not only taken on this role but have created a successful career out of it.

Workfront — your technology — is the execution system that allows you to automate and accelerate the people and the process to an optimal pace of delivery and value.  As the system administrator, you have the ability to become the master of this segment and will likely be one of the core team members to define the way that it will be best utilized for your organization.


As you implement or review your current Workfront setup, it is important to identify the principles of your success criteria — mapping your goals, identifying the business processes you want to improve as well as defining the outcomes you wish to achieve. As recommended in part 1 of this series, Knowing Your People, continue to understand and document your why as you define how to best utilize your technology. You may want to ask yourself the following questions as you are configuring your environment:

  • What is it that you are trying to solve?
  • Why are you implementing Workfront?
  • How do you plan to use the software to improve your processes?
  • How will you know whether or not you are being successful?

Once these questions are answered and you’re ready to continue with application configuration, start with reviewing the Setup area. This area is only available to global system administrators and, with limited access, also available to Group administrators. Select the System area to review and configure features like branding your instance with your own logos, understanding your customer information, viewing license allocation, setting up SSO, and so much more.

PRO TIP: It is important that you review the Setup > System > Customer Info section. There, you can enter the primary assigned system administrator’s email address, change the time zone for your Workfront environment and identify your cluster so that you can track uptime maintenance windows on the Workfront Status site.



Moving a step beyond configuration, as the system administrator you have the ability to customize Workfront to better align with your company’s way of working. Look to apply any, or all of the following to your system: 

  • Approval processes - can be attached to projects, tasks and issues
  • Milestone paths - can be applied to any project
  • Layout templates - customize the Main Menu, left navigation panel, Home area, Views, Filters and Groupings, on-screen terminology for your users

Synching Workfront with today’s top enterprise tools is another example of how your Workfront environment can be customized. Integrating with tools like Adobe Creative Cloud, G Suite, Salesforce and Slack will enable your users to work with more speed and agility, quickly updating projects in real-time and allowing for better cross-team collaboration. Learn more about native integrations here, or see how Workfront Fusion, the powerful integration platform, can connect with other business-critical applications. 

If you need to create custom statuses, priorities or fields of data that are not part of the out-of-the-box experience, Workfront provides several options to fulfill this request. System administrators can create and manage custom forms and create their own custom priorities and statuses that allow for more targeted, detailed reporting.

PRO TIP:  Create a glossary of terms and promote continued learning of the navigation icons to allow for ease of use across your user base. Click here to get started with a glossary and here for icon descriptions.


Feedback gathered often highlights visibility as one of the leading reasons for why Workfront was implemented. In the on-demand Ask the Expert webinar, Get to Know Your Instance, learn how to create baseline reports to gain visibility, insights and metrics. These reports will not only allow you to assist in managing your team’s work but will also help keep users informed and focused on priorities; thinking about how to:

  • Collaborate on deliverables
  • Easily review, approve and assign work requests
  • Check project, task and issue status in real-time
  • Keep all communication in a single location

Learn to create your own visual impact by using customized reports and dashboards, keep track of upcoming events with calendar reports and understand how permissions on each of these items are assigned and maintained.

PRO TIP: Remember to get feedback from your end-users to find out what data is important for them to see. Leverage user-based wildcards when applying filters in reports to repurpose a single report for multiple teams by allowing the logged in user to see the data relevant to them.


Often referred to as set-up, clean-up and keep-up, you want to ensure that you are aware of how to contact Workfront Support and find resources to assist you in doing your best work, maintaining a clean and current work environment for your users and staying up to date with product releases and feature updates. This information is provided in a one-stop help resource on Workfront One.

You will also want to confirm that proper security protocols are in place like password checks or complexity, allowing Workfront to be embedded as an iframe, or automatically logging users out after a specific amount of time. 

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In addition, make sure you are comfortable troubleshooting your environment and these top tips to self-troubleshoot before you reach out to Support will help you get there. 

PRO TIP: Establish a consistent timeline for auditing and cleaning up your instance, such as monthly user deactivation audits, quarterly project reviews, and annual custom form and field reviews. Review the blog, How Workfront Cleaned Up its Own “Unbridled” Instance for ideas and example reports.  


Understanding how Workfront will best be used by your organization will allow you to configure it in an efficient manner that provides the most value for each team. Be sure to understand what problem the technology was selected to resolve and learn foundational configuration and global system management best practices by utilizing the resources that are available to you. This knowledge and skill will enable you to deliver on your organization's needs, maintain data integrity to allow your team to make strategic business decisions and successfully manage your people, processes and technology into the future.