Asana targets sales and ops with Salesforce, Jira and Tableau integrations

Profile picture for user pwainewright By Phil Wainewright February 27, 2020
New packages from Asana with integrations to Salesforce, Tableau and Jira aim to smooth workflow across sales, account management and operations teams

Asana Tableau dashboard detail
Asana dashboard in Tableau

Work management vendor Asana today launches a new teamwork package tailored to the needs of sales and account management teams, with close integration to Salesforce Sales Cloud. There's also a new offering for operations teams that integrates to Atlassian Jira, and both new packages connect with Tableau for reporting and dashboards, with a similar connection to Microsoft PowerBI.

The two new arrivals are siblings to a tailored package for marketing and creative teams launched a year ago, and which now gains Jira integration and improvements to rules and approvals. All three are available as part of Asana's Business and Enterprise team subscriptions.

The goal is to introduce automation and improve co-ordination in cross-functional processes that are prone to lapses in communication or bottlenecks in timing. For example, improving co-ordination between sales and account management teams in the final stages of closing a deal, or when onboarding the customer after it has closed. Operations teams can standardize important workflows, such as receiving work requests, onboarding vendors or new employees, setting up quarterly business reviews, or automating task assignments and approvals.

Connecting processes outside of Salesforce

The integration with Salesforce makes it possible to automatically create tasks and projects in Asana once customers reach key opportunity stages in Sales Cloud, or to initiate actions in Service Cloud for implementation and ongoing service. Existing automations within Salesforce Process Builder can spawn tasks and projects in Asana. The point here is to be able to extend processes from sales out to other functions in the organization without missing a beat. The company provides examples such as:

  • Creating trackable tasks and sharing attachments in Asana so that sales reps can connect with the rest of the customer-facing organization to ensure key steps happen and deals don’t get stuck.
  • Using Asana as a single, shared location for knowledge sharing of customer pains, goals, interactions and requests.
  • Automatically kicking off customer implementation and onboarding work with customizable project templates when customers reach key opportunity stages.
  • Connecting implementation and service teams in Service Cloud with supporting teams in Asana.

For sales, operations and marketing teams, integration to Jira Cloud links Jira issues directly to Asana tasks and projects, keeping Asana users up-to-date with Jira projects. As well as giving business users increased visibility into the progress of development projects, the integration can improve hand-offs between technical teams and their counterparts in marketing, design and product management.

Bringing Asana data into Tableau and Power BI dashboards and reports will help customers gain real-time insights into projects and workflows, the company believes. For example, an operations team can analyze the volume and frequency of work requests, broken down by the type of work or by the requesting team. Or by pulling Salesforce and Asana data into a single dashboard in Tableau, the team could identify and assess inefficiencies in the handoff process from sales to customer success.

The announcements kick off what promises to be an interesting year for Asana, which has big ambitions in the work management space. Earlier this month the company revealed it has taken the first formal step towards a public listing, confidentially filing an S-1 draft registration statement with the US stock market regulator.

My take

Asana's specialty is plugging the gaps between different functions and applications in an organization, and then making those cross-functional processes more efficient. This is a rapidly growing segment in a world where digital teamwork is becoming increasingly crucial to enterprise operations. Asana has plenty of competition, ranging from the likes of Slack and Dropbox to ServiceNow and Microsoft.

While its first packaged offering for creative and marketing teams was very much in its comfort zone, these new offerings take it into much more fiercely contested territory. As I noted yesterday when discussing the acquisition of Vlocity, Salesforce itself is moving further into this 'middle office' arena of processes that sit between sales, customer service and transactional operations. On the operations side, ServiceNow is squarely targeting cross-functional workflow. As well as these giants, there are literally hundreds of other smaller players, many tracing a history back to the days of business process management, in this workflow segment of what I call the collaborative canvas of digital teamwork in the enterprise.

Can Asana stand out in the midst of this crowd? Its leadership certainly believes it can. I still vividly recall my conversation a year ago with co-founder Justin Rosenstein, who outlined its ambition to become "the core architecture for the future of work." Its ability to find traction with these new packages will be a big test of whether it can indeed make its mark in the world.

[Updated Feb 28th to reflect that the PowerBI integration, which was 'coming soon' at time of writing, is now formally launched.]