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Asana takes aim at the enterprise with new workflow features

Asana takes aim at the enterprise with new workflow features

The task management platform is rolling out a host of new capabilities aimed at improving collaboration and security for its enterprise customers.

Dustin Moskovitz (Asana)

Dustin Moskovitz (Asana)

Credit: Asana

Asana, a work management platform for teams, has announced the Enterprise Work Graph, a suite of features designed to give greater clarity and flexibility to enterprise workflows.

The new capabilities aim to align teams around goals, coordinate workflows across teams and time zones, and provide visibility into where work stands in real time.

Alongside the new Work Graph data model, Asana is introducing enterprise-grade security and controls to its platform.

Alex Hood, chief product officer at Asana, explained that companies of every size and across all industries are losing countless hours to nonproductive work -- the time wasted on searching for information, switching between apps, or holding status meetings.

Hood, who calls this "work about work," noted that as enterprises grow, so does their work about work, with organisations of 5,000 or more employees losing 63 per cent of those employees' time to it every week.

Research carried out by Asana shows that knowledge workers switch among an average of 10 tools, 25 times a day. For the C-suite, that number rises to an average of 40 tools, around 30 times a day.

“With the pandemic, CIOs have noticed that they need to invest in collaboration and security -- those are the two big spending priorities for the largest enterprises as it relates to their tech stack. And we've had to respond and create an adaptable enterprise offering for our larger customers seeking to adapt,” Hood said.

Wayne Kurtzman, an analyst at IDC, said that although the new capabilities being offered by Asana focus on the enterprise, small and midsize companies could benefit from many of the same features. 

“Asana's challenge is to demonstrate to those who don't believe their work can be part of a workflow that Asana still brings significant benefits in time savings and productivity,” Kurtzman said.

Enterprise alignment

As part of its new offering, Asana is evolving its Goals offering, with a new Goals API connecting goals with data and insights from mission-critical tools to monitor impact and inform executive decisions. 

With the Goals API, organisations seeking a holistic view of their goals in a single place, automatic progress updates and the ability to make changes to goals in their tools of choice can now achieve this programmatically by building custom integrations.

“[Users have] the ability to set goals in Asana at a corporate level and then make sure that all the work is linked to those goals so you can actually see how the goals are progressing over time,” Hood said. By linking an Asana goal to a CRM tool report, for example, the goal will automatically update in Asana, keeping all stakeholders across an organisation informed.

Asana will soon deliver automatic progress updates for Goals that provide real-time insights on the achievement of company objectives, with no manual work needed.

Credit: Asana

Cross-team coordination and improved visibility

Asana’s new Workflow Builder allows anyone to create workflows via the point-and-click tools that builds and automates all the steps, removing the need to code anything.

Hood said cross-team coordination can be chaotic, often with work living in team-specific silos and spreadsheets. One of the biggest challenges reported in Asana’s Anatomy of Work survey is an inability to collaborate effectively, he noted.

“The Workflow Builders are a really graphical way for users to set up how teams work together and how they have handoffs,” he said. "It’s almost like an X-ray vision of the processes and projects and Asana, which you can set up without being a technologist."

The forthcoming Workflow Builder and Library will give teams the ability to create their own work flows or leverage best-in-class, pre-built workflows to power projects and drive efficiencies. By helping teams scale processes across the organisation, Asana aims to eliminate the need for expensive tools and complex IT approvals.

Asana’s updated Universal Reporting tool will give enterprises the visibility needed to track business objectives, make adjustments, and guide teams to success, all without adding more meetings.

The updated tool now allows teams to track budget spending across projects over days, months, and years and analyse the amount of time teams are losing to inefficient processes, unlocking vital insights and helping teams to continuously improve their efficiency.

“We launched Universal Reporting, which allows organisations to report against all different kinds of teams, whether they work together naturally or not,” Hood explained. “We've unlocked historical data to flow into that reporting as well, so now there's time-series reporting, and status reports are more holistic because they take information from previous periods.”

Hood said that all the information from the status reports gets rolled up into Goals, allowing large organisations to see how projects are progressing with greater ease.

Security at scale

With these new capabilities designed to support enterprises of 100,000 users and more, Asana has committed to 99.9 per cent availability, allowing IT teams to focus on business outcomes as they scale and provide the reassurance that the platform will keep their data secure and available.

Asana’s new Admin Announcements allow IT to keep the entire organisation updated directly in Asana to get the right information to the right teams at the right time. Enterprise admins can get insight into what happens in Asana via the Audit Log API and notifications on unusual activity.

Hood said that “when there is a single source of truth,” it needs to be safely out of harm's way. With the launch of SCIM, a tool that automates group setup and pushes profile updates, Asana eliminates a lot of the mundane work IT admins have to do.

“We also launched Enterprise Key Management, allowing organisations to have their own encryption keys that are kept within their own IT department and not at Asana," Hood said.

Kurtzman said Asana is hitting on key themes that enterprises care about, most notably working from anywhere securely.

“Asana's secret sauce is in their ability to enable other enterprise software through integrations, and surface insights to users through their Asana Work Graph -- a graph database,” he said. "The results of Asana's gradual focus to the Work Graph has resonated with many users, as is evident in the Asana communities."

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