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Asana Forward

Asana reveals “Collaborative Intelligence” at Asana Forward

At Asana Forward, company leaders showed how new platform capabilities can help companies tap into Collaborative Intelligence insights.

One fact became increasingly apparent during Asana Forward. Well, two facts, actually.

Collaborating is easier than ever. But it’s also harder than ever. 

“Leaders are under intense pressure to make sure that work is delivering on business priorities,” said Asana CEO and co-founder Dustin Moskovitz in his opening remarks at this week’s event. “In this disconnected world, your teams need a better way to collaborate—to move everyone forward and drive more valuable outcomes.”

In short, collaboration is easier than ever because of the various apps available to organizations. Therein lies the challenge: Too many collaboration tools can create distractions that make it hard to finish work.

Mixing thought leadership and product announcements, Asana Forward was a first-of-its-kind event for the San Francisco-based work management platform founded in 2008. Public filings show that Asana has more than 139,000 paying customers across the globe and millions of organizations that use its free plan. The single largest deployment of Asana was “150,000 paying seats” as of December 1, 2022.

Rebecca Hinds, Ph.D., Head of the Work Innovation Lab by Asana.

Throughout Asana Forward, leaders underscored the value of a new concept called Collaborative Intelligence, which, in the words of Asana Chief Product Officer Alex Hood, can “improve business outcomes, and is especially important to operations leaders who are focused on driving efficiency at their companies.”

Collaborative Intelligence is “information that can help diagnose problems in your organization—like which teams aren’t working well together or who is overloaded with work,” said Rebecca Hinds, Ph.D., Head of The Work Innovation Lab by Asana.

Collaborative Intelligence can guide your business, from collaboration breakdowns to breakthroughs. These insights can help you discover inefficiencies, cut costs, and drive revenue.”

In a product demo, company leaders showed how new platform capabilities can help companies tap into collaborative intelligence insights. Specifically, they highlighted how these new capabilities can help leaders make more informed decisions, scale processes across their organizations, and focus teams on top business priorities.

Watch Asana Forward.

The musts for better collaboration and how to be growth-ready

Asana Forward also included insights from Alex Dunlap of Amazon Web Services about the “musts” for apps that enable anytime collaboration and Laura Kohl of Morningstar about how tools can drive growth at a global organization. Breakout sessions included insight from leaders at Live Nation, T-Mobile, and Zoom

Dunlap, the General Manager of Productivity Applications & Services at Amazon Web Services, emphasized the importance of collaborating from anywhere. He said today’s apps must possess three qualities: 

  1. They must be secure.

  2. They must be productive.

  3. They must be cost-effective.

Kohl, the Chief Information Officer at Morningstar, a global independent investment research and data company based in Chicago, revealed how she intends to take Morningstar from a $2 billion to a $5 billion company by breaking silos and connecting teams. The process Kohl recommends for CIOs to drive the successful adoption of work tools comes down to four steps: 

  1. First, make the decision.

  2. Next, choose to start small with a key use case.

  3. Then, build on the capabilities of the tool.

  4. Finally, make sure best practices are shared internally.

Squashing silos, prioritizing work, and centralizing information

Amanda Howell, who established a Project Management Office at T-Mobile, shared that when she joined T-Mobile in 2018, she helped create consistency and standardization. She also worked to connect teams at her organization.

“We use Asana Portfolio Management to help align our leadership team,” Howell said. “This is a view that we take to our daily stand-ups but also to our leadership syncs. Our project managers are updating the status updates weekly. Our leaders have all the information they need at their fingertips. And if they want to do a deep dive to understand more about a specific initiative, they can just click in.”

Gregory Daniels, a Senior Manager of Technical Program Management at Zoom, unpacked how Zoom uses Asana to create automated processes that streamline strategic IT and security initiatives. The team uses Asana forms and other features to simplify and prioritize its work.

Go from reactive to proactive with a work platform that fits your future.

“We’ve structured our form deliberately to compel the requester to really think through their problem and what they’re looking to accomplish when submitting a request to IT,” Daniels said. “We need to make sure that we’re prioritizing the projects that are going to have the most impact for the business.” 

Julia Rowley, the Director of Digital Promotions at Live Nation, had to solve a big problem: How could her team that manages Live Nation’s dozens of sponsorships and promotions make processes more efficient so the business could keep moving quickly? They were working across various tools—email, Slack, and spreadsheets—which sometimes made keeping track of information difficult.

“As a manager, it was difficult for me to get a pulse on all the projects in progress, especially once I had a fully remote team,” Rowley said of the environment she first encountered. “This hindered our ability to resolve potential roadblocks before we hit them, which created a reactive environment where promotion timelines were delayed, or there was an intense rush to get everything done on time.” 

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In the years since the pandemic, how we think about collaboration and how we collaborate has profoundly changed. The aftershocks of these sudden changes can create too much of one form of collaboration and not enough of another form of collaboration. 

As Hinds, the Head of The Work Innovation Lab, said in her remarks, the chaos of modern collaboration doesn’t’ have to be permanent.

“We can’t fix collaboration overnight, but we can continue to research, educate, and challenge our assumptions about how work happens and how it should happen.”