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Asana Positions Itself for the Enterprise

Asana Positions Itself for the Enterprise

Asana has stretched its simple collaboration tool to enterprise dimensions with Organizations, which allows users to network in a way similar to Facebook. "Email seems clunky and old-fashioned to people who are native to social networks," said journalism prof Rich Hanley. "They understand that they communicate in short bursts of information ... that can carry links to deeper content if desired."

By Erika Morphy
05/02/13 9:21 AM PT

Asana on Wednesday announced Organizations, a feature that stakes its claim in the enterprise space.

Asana Team Browser
Asana Team Browser

What is new with Organizations is its scalability; it is designed to support companies of 100 employees or more.

The startup has already carved out a niche among individuals and small groups in the 18 months since its launch.

Asana's original productivity and collaboration application is organized around three panes: On the left are the projects in the current workspace. When people are added to the team's workspace, they get access to all of the projects. The name of the selected project is in the center pane, along with a checklist of tasks for that project. The right pane can be expanded to edit task details like the assignee, due date, and comments.

All About Organizations

An Organization is broken down into Teams, which are listed in the left pane in the Team Browser. Users have a number of options to control the membership and visibility to others.

Organizations also offers a single view of tasks and a single in-box, as well as the ability to search across the entire Organization and save that search.

The free version offers unlimited projects and tasks, as well as unlimited Teams with up to 15 members each.

A premium version lets users designate admins for an Organization, who can configure some security settings, manage users and centralize billing. Admins also can see account activity, remove users from the Organization, and require access to Asana through Google Accounts.

The Asana premium plans allow private projects, public and private teams and unlimited guests, and they come with a higher level of support.

Organizations is available to all Asana users. Over the next few days, existing teams will be able to convert their Workspace to an Organization.

A Simple Concept

Asana was launched by Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz and Google and Facebook veteran Justin Rosenstein.

There are more than a few similarities between Asana and Facebook, said Rich Hanley, associate professor and director of the graduate journalism program at Quinnipiac University.

"Asana is simply applying the concept of a network of friends to a network of colleagues," he told the E-Commerce Times.

"That means teams that need to communicate in real time and keep track of the conversation can deploy techniques that are common in their everyday life to make their jobs more efficient," Hanley said.

"Email seems clunky and old-fashioned to people who are native to social networks. They understand that they communicate in short bursts of information similar to Facebook's news feed that can carry links to deeper content if desired," he explained.

A Powerful Engine

Asana is more than just another productivity tool with social media aspirations, however.

"Asana offers the collaborative power and advantages of cloud storage that Google has been trying to emphasize, combined with the social media expertise of Facebook, to provide a truly effective and efficient alternative to both platforms, one well-tailored to this relatively specialized niche," said Lance Strate, professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University.

"What I wonder is how Microsoft will react to Asana, given the powerful pushback we've been seeing from them against Google," he told the E-Commerce Times.

"No doubt there will be enormous interest in buying out Asana on their part," suggested Strate, "and perhaps also from Facebook and Google -- and maybe even Apple will want to get in on the act."


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