Cloud Solutions Series: Asana for Small Business Collaboration

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In this blog series, we showcase cloud tools we think help our clients run their small businesses better. We don’t have any affiliation with the companies, nor are we concerned about increasing their sales. We just like these tools and think you will too.

Our pick for collaboration: Asana  

We’re just going to say it: email sucks. It’s a productivity killer that eats up valuable time and discourages meaningful interactions between team members. Emails chains balloon in size and before you know it, you have 2,497 unread emails in your inbox. But because many small business teams don’t have the luxury of working side by side every day, they usually rely on a combination of email, Google docs and post-its to collaborate on tasks.

The results can be mediocre

Asana is a web-based, small business tool that facilitates teamwork without email. With a clean and simple infrastructure, Asana lets multiple users manage tasks, send updates, add real-time comments and monitor what everyone else is doing. Some small businesses like Asana so much they use it instead of hiring a costly project manager.

Small business tool: versatility

3634153932_acc99af31eAsana is useful because it isn’t tailored for a specific kind of project. The point is to make the act of collaborating easier. Quick video tutorials show you how to use the program for virtually any activity, from CRM to an IT system overhaul.

You can create several different projects in order to assign specific tasks to multiple people working on one larger project.

Team members are given real-time updates as tasks are completed and changes are made. Because those updates are in real time, two writers working on the same document are unable to make edits without the other team member seeing them.

You don’t have to follow each task listed within the overall project. You can limit the list that shows up on your dashboard to avoid getting overwhelmed. If you’re a designer working on a big project, you can choose not to view updates from the accounting department.

Integration with other small business tools

We also like Asana because it integrates with other small business tools like Harvest, an online time tracking and billing program. Collaboration is vital, but it’s ultimately important for you to be able to track your team’s billable hours on a project and do it in an organized fashion.

Like other cloud tools, Asana goes where you and your team go. If you don’t like it, it’s just a matter of cancelling your subscription and choosing a different small business tool.

Photo 1: http://flic.kr/p/5vBQey

Topics: Cloud, collaboration, cloud, Cloud Solutions Series