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Fusion to expand the functionality of Workfront - aligning datasets in Workfront

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Level 4

We are looking at Fusion as a means to expand the functionality of Workfront both to connect with other applications but also to expand the functionality of Workfront on it's own.

As a first step before looking to integrate with other 3rd party applications , I'm interested how Fusion expands the capabilities of Workfront and it's ease of use - I am a Workfront admin but not IT developer/coder.

One thing we do alot of at the moment is merging different types of report (e.g. task, issue and project reports) into a single view within Excel before then sharing with others. This in itself can be quite manual, prone to error and we also have the the challenge of marrying columns of data with other fields (from different areas of Workfront) that may be equivalents but are named slightly differently.

Is it possible to collate and generate a single report pulling information from across a range of projects and issues in Workfront drawing from all object types e.g. task, user fields and then export this report (scheduled - daily for example) to a csv/xl file as a single output. Longer term, we'd hope to push to another application but a simple csv export would suffice in the short term

I'm also interested to hear from others who've been through the learning curve with Fusion - from a non-developer/coder's perspective. How helpful were the training materials, did you need extra support? Is it as straight forward to do the basics as the training materials / marketing materials would suggest.

Any thoughts/advice would be most welcome.

Many thanks

Richard

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12 Replies

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Level 10

Hey Richard - Just wanted to remind you that Fusion is just a connector tool, so Fusion itself couldn't do the report. But you could connect to a reporting tool.

We don't use Fusion, but we have an integration where we bring info from WF and our financial tool into a SQL database and then use SQL Reporting Services to create our reporting and dashboards.

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Community Advisor

Richard - you might want to talk to your Workfront reps and ask about a demo of the New Reporting Experience they are working on. My understanding is that the goal will include being able to report on multiple object types in one report.

Although I'm also curious to hear from others about the learning curve of Fusion from a non-dev background.

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Level 6

Hi Richard, we love Fusion and use it a lot to enhance functionalities in Workfront. As the reporting goes, we add calculated values (e.g. total amount of approved / unapproved hours) in a nightly run on the project and task to get a little be more out of the "cross-object" reports. But as Heather said, there is a new reporting coming and the preview I've seen was awesome. I only hope that it will be included in our licenses and not yet another add-on we have to buy...

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Level 10

I'm sure the "new" reporting tool is a long way off so for more immediate needs you may need a developer to pull the WF data in to a SQL database as Anthony mentioned. I've done this since day one of our Workfront implementation. Reporting possibilities are limitless using this method. You can also do away with finicky (and limited) kickstarts for importing data. Puts and Posts are also possible, allowing you to update records en masse or create new ones.

I'm also a bit concerned hearing that there is no text mode in the new reporting tool. There will always be something we want to do that Workfront didn't think of and that's where text mode comes in really handy.

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Level 10

Sorry to threadjack but…no Text Mode in the new reporting tool (under development)?

Every single one of my reports use it in some fashion for tweaks and customizations…and I'm not even on the level of Anthony, Doug, and others.

Can you provide a link to more information?

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Level 10

Hi - from what I have been told by product in my conversation, is that the end goal is to have the reporting have no text mode. They have been doing a lot of work in the background to break the data hierarchy so that it is easier for people to use a report wizard to get what they need.

However, as I (and I am sure many others) have mentioned, it has to be a pretty sweet report wizard with A LOT flexibility before it can get to that that point.

Since the new reporting is also combining the ideas of dashboards and reports and is also very different in style to current reporting, I believe it will be a separate "object" in Workfront and there will be a period of time where old reports live with new ones.

Obviously we will know more soon, but I don't think we have to worry too much just yet. 😉

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Employee

Just wanted to jump in with some clarity.

I have met with many of you regarding the future of reporting during our initial discovery a little over a year ago. During that process we outlined our vision of achieving data democratization by empowering others to build reports for themselves and offload some of that from the System Admin. To that end we are crafting the new Reporting in a way that it will be way more intuitive from the new user to the power user.

We understand that today's reporting, through the use of text mode allows for some serious customizations. Not all users want to or are comfortable using text mode. I am assuming that if those customizations could be accomplished in a different way, maybe not leveraging text mode then that would be ok with everyone on this thread.

As was stated by others there is still a long road ahead as we continue to build and pivot as we hear feedback. If we get to the end of that long road and we still need some sort of way to achieve these really challenging reports I am not completely closed off to it. With all of that being said our North Star really is to have a world where anyone can create both the simple and the complex report using the same intuitive experience.

If you would like to discuss further please don't hesitate to book some time on my calendar https://calendly.com/matt-thomas-wf/30min.

Thanks,

Matt Thomas

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Level 10

Thanks for the context @Matt Thomas‚!

@Randy Roberts‚ (noting, yep, threadjack accomplished...), I was teleported back in time when I read your but-whattabout-textmode concern, above, as that was among my very first inquiries to Matt when we first met in person just over a year ago, which I then underscored by introducing him to some of our textmode aficionados from here on Community. Really, a bit unsportsmanlike on my part, in hindsight.

However: since then, thanks to some time having passed for Matt to assemble his team and acclimatize, we've now spoken many times, and I've had several opportunities to see where New Reporting Experience is headed, including (just last week) being among the first round of Beta testing. In short, I am impressed and excited about where Matt and his team are headed, and have a Project Status Report in mind that I'm going to use as a yardstick for cross-object reporting (more on that here, for those interested). So, noting that the current Workfront reporting has been here even longer than me, I encourage you to stay tuned, and rev up your hopes for Something Good.

There is one other huge point I'd like to mention: in addition to Matt's above aspiration/reassertion about text mode, one of the best things I heard a few meetings ago is that he and his team recognize and are planning for the ability to allow users (e.g. SysAdmins) -- when the right time comes -- to convert a classic report into the New Workfront Experience report. That. Is. Huge.

Details to come still (Matt, any you can share at this time...?) but definitely one I'm paying attention to, and plan to leverage.

Regards,

Doug

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Level 10

@Doug Den Hoed‚ @Matt Thomas‚ Thanks for the info and updates on this subject. Converting reports is HUGE. I'm happy I won't have to re-create everything. It might be nice to start a thread regarding the new reporting tool so we can learn more as it's being developed (and we can stop thread-jacking Richard's thread), as well as ask questions. Maybe we'll discover some of our concerns are unfounded. And maybe Workfront will uncover a few things they hadn't thought of.

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Employee

Thanks @Doug Den Hoed‚ for brining up the point about migrating reports, I forgot to mention it! Yes we absolutely want to be able to support this capability to make the transition as smooth as possible.

The current plan is to allow users to select which reports they want migrated and then simply push a button for a one way migration to the new Reporting experience. We have talked with a lot of customers and know that they have hundreds if not thousands of reports that are not being used anymore. Instead of Workfront migrating all reports automatically, we thought this might be the perfect time to do some Spring cleaning. I don't know about you all, but my mom would make us do that every Spring time 😀. This way you can start off new Reporting with all the good and wanted reports and shed the ones that are not needed anymore.

Again if you have any additional questions or concerns don't hesitate to schedule some time with me https://calendly.com/matt-thomas-wf/30min.

Thanks,

Matt

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Level 9
Level 9

While I certainly have strong opinions on the possible deprecation of text mode, I will bring this thread back to the Fusion question.

I find myself using the Fusion hammer on more and more Workfront nails. If you take time to learn how to use the API, it becomes hyper-capable. It absolutely can compile your project/task/issue data into single CSV files.

We use it to:

  • Automatically manage a robust request queue setup that involves 8 request queues, ~150 Topic Groups, and ~2,200 queue topics/routing rules. On any given day, we may retire up to 5 Topic Groups and 75 Queue Topics, and replace them with new Groups, Topics, and Routing Rules - Fusion does it all for us using status triggers and data from custom forms.
  • Configure request assignments and access based on data in the request custom form.
  • Manage requests that are copied into Workfront from another system via webhooks, attach custom forms and move the request to its relevant project based on data in the request.
  • Ensure our "universal" custom forms are attached to all object types - projects, requests, documents, users, anything; even if a user is not following a process that would otherwise ensure the form is attached.
  • Automatically configure newly auto-provisioned users with some basic profile updates, and send them a welcome email that explains what they should do next and where they can get internal support.
  • Overwrite a user's name that is updated by Active Directory every time they log in with their preferred nickname.
  • Automatically put projects into their correct Portfolio and Program based on the request from which the project was converted.
  • Enhancing the update stream and object details with data that isn't ordinarily available, such as who/when/what template(s) have been applied to a project (because Workfront only tracks the first template applied); or pushing custom data, updates, and statuses from one object to other objects that are not systematically related to the original record, but the work is related and stakeholders have an interest.

Some things I have in development are:

  • Copy object attributes that are not reportable (or have limited report functionality) into tasks which can be easily reported on.
  • Custom project sequence numbers based on the working team (each team has their own set of consecutive short project numbers, prefixed with their team code)
  • Monitor a shared excel workbook for new expense entries, then push that data into the relevant Workfront record.
  • and a million more for which there is never enough time.

As far as intuitiveness and learning curve of the tool, my own opinion is that it's moderately difficult for anyone that is not an experienced software engineer (which I am not), but if you're willing to invest the time in self-learning (including concepts and skills not covered in the Workfront provided training), the payoff in new efficiencies and capabilities is absolutely worthwhile. So many things that Workfront couldn't do in the past suddenly become possible, you can automate a ton of system administration/housekeeping, and you can start saying "yes" to a lot more requests. Start with simple builds, then as you master those you can begin to increase the complexity and learn what you need when you need. The more you build, the more opportunities you will recognize to use the tool that you might never have considered in the past.

In short, go for it.

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Level 10

Wow! Thanks Bill,

That is an incredible list! Clearly, you are pushing the Fusion 2.0 envelop and approaching escape velocity and off into the unknown.

@Kyna Baker - inactive‚ I'm afraid that Randy, Matt, Bill and I have now completely absconded with Richard's original thread, so at your convenience, may I suggest you do some thread housekeeping and set up a "New Reporting Experience Latest Intel" and "Fusion 2.0 Latest Intel" post (or something similar) for each, then unravel the appropriate portions from this ball of yarn into each, respectively?

Regards,

Doug