Work management platform Asana has added new and extended integrations for Atlassian Jira (Server Edition), Microsoft Teams and Slack and boosted admin capabilities on its platform in a bid to help enterprise customers more effectively deploy and manage its software at scale.

The updates, announced earlier this week, come after Asana research earlier this year found that, on average, employees switch between 10 apps 25 times per day, leading to missed communications, reduced efficiency and duplication of work.

“It’s not good enough,” said Alex Hood, the company’s chief product officer.

Expanding the app ecosystem

Asana already provides customers with more than 200 integrations; the latest are designed to further link platforms. Asana for Atlassian Jira (Service Edition), for instance, builds on Asana’s current integration for Jira Cloud, allowing teams to create and link Jira issues from within Asana tasks and receive updates on open Jira issues — whether they’re working in the cloud or on-premise.

Asana for Microsoft Teams enables customers to create tasks directly within Teams. And the updated Slack integration ensures teams can share milestones, projects and portfolios unfurled in Slack channels, create and assign tasks from Slack messages, and adds support for Slack Enterprise Grid customers. (Enterprise Grid is designed for large businesses or those in highly regulated industries.)

Another new integration, Zoom for Asana, lets customers attach Zoom call transcripts to Asana tasks for quick reference or to give teammates further context. Zoom customers can also subscribe and receive notifications from Asana projects directly within Zoom chat channels

“[What we’re] trying to do is reduce that friction of having to switch back and forth between the core applications that you use when you’re working remotely, or you’re transitioning back into the office,” Hood said.

Wayne Kurtzman, research director for Social and Collaboration at IDC, said Asana’s latest moves will be a boon to users.“This is just the start of how this strategy will yield customer benefits,” Kurtzman said. “Those who have not used a highly integrated platform approach [until now] may not appreciate all the benefits, especially as processes and workflow become digitally reinvented.”

Asana has also made it easier to protect and manage data for IT admins, who can now view, block and accept which third-party apps integrate with Asana and control whether users can attach files to tasks. Data in Asana is also encrypted, both in transit and at rest, for all users and customers can now terminate user sessions if a device is lost or stolen.

Reducing ‘work about work’

Research from Asana, McKinsey and others has shown that employees spend as much as 60% of their time doing “work about work” — handling tasks other than the actual work they were hired to do.

Hood said employees are at their most productive when in in the flow of work, but are too often interrupted by notifications from various apps, all vying for attention. That problem has been exacerbated this year by the pandemic, which forced workers out of the office and into virtual meetings.

“You really have to be disciplined to be able to stay in that state where you’re doing your most creative work,” he said.

The pandemic, Kurtzman said, has forced companies to redefine what constitutes a knowledge worker. “Early adopters recognized [that] it is any connected user,” he said. “But since the pandemic, there has been an expansion of connected users who use a significant number of apps in a day. Integration of the application stack streamlines activities for the worker and provides a rich new data set that the worker, team and company can use to drive more positive outcomes.”

For Hood, the new integrations are designed to tackle those needs.

“While the volume of videoconferences may decrease when we go back to the office, folks will continue to use Asana as the coordination layer, even if they’re sitting next to each other, because they can track each other’s accountability in a way that you cannot in a conversation or a meeting,” Hood said.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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