Asana is a web-based, shared task list that helps businesses stay connected and organized. The core application reduces the need for meetings and status emails, empowering teams to work more efficiently to meet goals. Asana is headquartered in San Francisco and currently employs over 35 innovative thinkers.
With productivity at the forefront of its company mission, Asana puts great emphasis on making workflows as efficient as possible. In the spirit of keeping things simple — including computing resources — Asana founders decided early on to forgo a big investment in servers or IT infrastructure. Instead, they opted for a file sharing and storage strategy with lower overhead. For the most part, this approach worked well, particularly because the company could depend on its own software to keep projects organized and on track. However, as more spreadsheets, marketing designs, and documents began circulating, file storage became problematic. Employees turned to USB devices and personal Dropbox accounts to house files, but it was often difficult to locate exactly where they had been saved. Head of business operations Kenny Van Zant says, "Files were everywhere. It was a nightmare." The switch to Dropbox Business finally gave Asana a centralized place to store files — making it easier to quickly access and collaborate on them. Van Zant recalls, "We set up Dropbox, trained everyone in one email, migrated our biggest shared folders, and never looked back."
"On any given day, someone might go from a desk to a laptop that's not his or hers in a conference room. Dropbox allows us to do this without worrying about how we'll get to our files."
Now Dropbox Business is an integral part of Asana's workflow. It's the first stop for new employees during the on-boarding process, and beyond standard file access, Dropbox serves as a place for employees to find core presentations, company forecasts, and even financial information for Asana. "Dropbox helps us support a culture of complete transparency," says Van Zant. Dropbox Business also helps the company maintain workplace mobility by allowing staff to access files from any computer. Van Zant explains, "We have floating laptops all over the office. So, on any given day, someone might go from a desk to a laptop that's not his or hers in a conference room. Dropbox allows us to do this without worrying about how we'll get to our files." Even when working from home, employees can retain a fast, convenient connection to Asana through Dropbox. Van Zant himself has two home computers synced to his Asana Dropbox account. He attests, "Having access to your assets no matter where you are — without being tied to one machine or your desk — is really powerful." In addition to using Dropbox to store and share files internally, Asana relies on it to collaborate with outside parties. By saving things like legal documents and board presentations onto Dropbox, Asana's staff and external legal and finance partners can exchange information without having to email back and forth — which Van Zant values immensely. "I believe that email is where files go to die," he jokes. Coupled with a commitment to keep internal processes simple, the desire to avoid email means that staff members use only Asana software and Dropbox for collaboration. "That way we know people are working with the most up-to-date information and that we're not wasting time or energy," Van Zant says. "It's really important to the efficiency of our company."
One of the greatest advantages Asana has realized as a result of adopting Dropbox Business is an advance in technological capabilities — without the need for extra technical resources. Van Zant confirms that Dropbox has helped Asana maintain a leaner staff. "Between the infrastructure cost and a fulltime salary, our savings are definitely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars," he says. "The ROI is awesome." Instead, Asana can focus on expanding its staff in core areas that drive business growth. Van Zant believes that by increasing productivity per employee, Dropbox has helped Asana achieve its goals with a smaller team. He adds, "The ultimate benefits manifest in terms of profitability and efficiency per employee. And those are really key metrics for us." Maintaining a leaner staff has also allowed Asana to preserve the culture it established when the company first launched. Van Zant says that Dropbox Business has helped Asana to grow at the right time, without excess technology or resources slowing down progress. He adds, "It's an intangible advantage, but one that we really cherish."