Illustration: Lisa Hornung

As remote and distributed work prevails in the new normal, Asana and Microsoft found a way for work teams to stay connected and organized, and today introduced Asana for Microsoft Teams.

With so many businesses still reliant on a remote workforce, it’s an ideal time for collaboration applications to thrive. IDC (Unified Communications and Collaborations) reported that 54% of IT decisions will increase their investment in collaboration applications to respond to COVID-19, even though overall budgets have decreased.

The value and increased use of collaboration applications was noted in the late-April report, “Asana Anatomy of Work: Remote Teams.” Because the coronavirus sent many to work from home (WFH), 62% of full-time workers have used collaboration tools more, while WFH.

SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium)

“Organizations around the world are adapting to new ways of working together while being physically apart,” said Dustin Moskovitz, CEO of Asana, in a press release. Nearly a quarter (24%) of US workers are using collaboration tools for the first time (globally, the average of first-time users is 19%).

Collaboration tools are good for recruitment and attracting appropriate applicants, and for those already employed, 30% said using a work management platform made them feel more supported by their managers, but only 17% felt support without a management platform.

One of the basic tenets of collaborative tools is to streamline work efforts, and 55% of employees said that using a management platform has increased productivity. Conversely, only 35% said that not using a work management platform made employees more creative.

“IDC’s 2020 Annual Collaboration Study” (March 2020) reviewed the attitudes toward as well as the adoption, use, benefits, and purchasing paths of team collaboration applications and the collaborative applications integrated with those platforms.

In the study, there is a reference to the creation of “a new generation of social and engagement-centric efficiencies” beneficial to “every part of the enterprise.” It refers to this as the new “Social Collaborative Zone,” in which internal, gated, and public conversation networks interact.

Asana for Microsoft Teams will keep teams connected and organized as well as:

  • In a single click, a record of actionable, trackable tasks in Asana is created.
  • Important Asana task and project changes are noted directly in teams, through bot technology. Automated notifications can be received and customized, too.
  • Signal the status of tasks and progression, as it gives teammates context and visibility in Asana tasks in the Teams’ UI.
  • Teammates can share Asana tasks, projects, and portfolios from Microsoft Teams.

SEE: Life after lockdown: Your office job will never be the same–here’s what to expect (cover story PDF) (TechRepublic)

Extra tools available in Asana for Teams

Additionally, Asana and Microsoft co-created a suite of features for newly distributed teams.

  • Asana for Outlook: Convert Microsoft Outlook emails, which can be tracked and executed.
  • Microsoft OneDrive: Files from Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Sharepoint can be attached to Asana tasks using the integration.
  • Asana Power BI: Build customized dashboards and layer insights from other business tools to share what’s happening with everyone on the team.
  • Power Automate: Repetitive processes between Microsoft applications and Asana as Power Automate integrates.
  • Microsoft 365 for Asana connector: When a team member creates, completes or comments on a task in Microsoft 365, Microsoft Outlook notifies the Asana users.
  • Azure AD: An integration designed for easy access management, provision user accounts and enable single sign-on with Asana.