Interview with Simon O’Kane, Head of EMEA at Leading Work Management Platform: Asana

Simon O’Kane

Asana is a leading work management platform that helps teams orchestrate their work, from small projects to strategic initiatives. Our platform does this by creating clarity and alignment over who’s doing what by when enabling cross-functional work and driving visibility over how individual work ladders up to company goals.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Asana has 12 global offices including Dublin and London, with teams serving more than 107,000 paying customers and millions of free organisations spanning across 190 countries. Organisations across the globe such as Dr. Martens, City Fibre and John Lewis use our platform to manage everything from company objectives to digital transformations to product launches. Over the past 18 months, we’ve been proud to support companies to find clarity, manage work, and achieve great things even in the face of disruption.
Asana (software) - Wikipedia

Why did you join the company?

I have been lucky enough in my career to work for two of the great SaaS companies and Qualtrics who both grew rapidly to disrupt a sector and define a category. The opportunity to do that for a third time with Asana was too good to pass up.

Once I’d discovered that after leaving Facebook, Dustin Moskovitz, Asana’s co-founder and CEO, had taken over two years to fine-tune and perfect Asana, I understood why our customers love working with Asana. I knew immediately that I wanted to be involved in helping shape this better future of work.


How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

The pandemic has changed the way businesses work. Organizations are now having to navigate in-person, remote and hybrid work models and as such the way we collaborate has had to evolve. However, our data shows that while where many people work has shifted, how they work hasn’t always changed for the better, with the pandemic accelerating some negative trends for employees, like working longer hours and switching between a growing number of apps. As a result, teams struggle to prioritize their work, logging longer hours and burning out at higher rates.

No matter where teams do their work or what tools they use, they need clarity and connection. In March 2020, Asana launched the ‘Asana is Here for You’ program to ensure that customers were able to continue working together as effortlessly as possible in the face of the challenges brought on by the global pandemic, including mobilizing resources to help companies of all sizes adapt to remote work. Throughout the past 18 months, we’ve been iterating on our platform to provide new features that help organizations stay connected and aligned, no matter how or when they’re working.

For example, we’ve recently brought in a number of new features that aim to give even the most complex enterprises the confidence they need to adapt to any business challenge. The new suite of features include tools for better monitoring and tracking goals, enabling cross-team coordination and automating routine work.

We’re grateful to play a role in providing our global community of customers the tools, education, and assistance they need to manage their work from anywhere and are energized by the massive opportunity ahead.

What can we hope to see from Asana in the future?

Out of the 1.25 billion knowledge workers in the world, only a small fraction are using a work management tool. In fact, we’re only 3% penetrated in our own customer base. With that in mind, our focus will continue to be getting work management tools in the hands of the world’s teams in this new era of work.

As businesses continue to figure out how to navigate what comes next, Asana wants to help companies refocus on deep work, reducing distractions and the 60% of time lost on “work about work” – tasks like email or status updates that drain the day of productive, satisfying work. We want to help every worker achieve clarity in their working day and enable leaders to build more engaging, enjoyable and productive workplaces. It’s vital that we see our users achieve the work that actually matters to the company and to them!

We’re energized by the opportunity to reshape the employee experience in a way that drives engagement, productivity and enjoyment.