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Tech News & Podcast | Africa

Asana unveils new AI to help teams work smarter

 Asana is set to roll out a host of new AI capabilities, powered by the company’s Work Graph, working to ensure that clarity and accountability is baked into the new tools.

Asana is rolling out a host of new generative AI capabilities for its work management platform that are designed to streamline and provide greater clarity for team collaboration and productivity.

The new capabilities, announced today, come four months after Asana first said it would be adding AI functionality to its platform and outlined its AI principles, which stated the company was “committed to using AI in service of helping humanity thrive, this includes ensuring AI safety and transparency in practice and in product.”

Today’s announcements fall into three categories: maximizing impact, driving clarity and accountability, and scaling up.

 How to choose the right project collaboration software 

From today, users will have access to some of the newly launched “maximizing impact” tools, including smart fields, smart editor, and smart summaries capabilities. Smart fields auto-generates custom fields to help better organize projects, while smart editor can alter the tone of a pre-written draft.

asana smart goals

Asana has been focused on building tools that summarize, digest, and create things as they relate to projects, rather than create brand-new content,  because that’s what Asana believes will most help their customers, particularly in this “day and age when some of us are getting AI happy with all the content generation,” Hood said.

“Because Asana’s Work Graph has deep links to its own chain of logic and reasoning, not only do you get like an answer, [smart answers] shows its work,” Hood said, noting that’s important because of current fears around generative AI and what has been called the black box problem or hallucinations — the tendency for generative AI to sometimes make up false information.

“Sometimes you get a beautiful answer from AI and sometimes you get an answer that causes you to say: “I don’t even know what it’s talking about here,” Hood said. “But, with the Work Graph data model, it’s not inferring a lot, it’s actually just reading inside these elements and can therefore share the reason why smart answers is 70% confident in its response.”

Smart summaries surface highlights from task descriptions and comments, along with key action items. In the future, the software will be able to make video calls actionable by turning  meeting transcripts from calls into summaries and action items.  Users will also have access to smart workflows, a workflow creation tool that uses natural language instructions, and smart digests, a feed that tracks project updates and changes.

Driving clarity and accountability

Due to launch at the end of this year, smart status uses AI to pull real-time work data that can identify risks, open questions, and roadblocks standing in the way of hitting goals, allowing for more comprehensive status updates, while smart answers will use natural language to ask Asana questions, and get timely answers and insights about projects, identify blockers, and determine next steps.

From 2024, smart goals will help customers craft more effective goals by using AI to draft them based on a plain description inputted by a user and previous goals and performances. Hood again stressed that with this capability, Asana would not be generating this content from scratch, but rather providing users with an outline for how to properly write goals.

“With smart goals, you type in what you think you want your goal to be and then Asana will say: “Hey, the right way to write a goal is by including these elements,” Hood explained.

Smart planning will help users visualize potential outcomes with scenario planning based on timelines, resource allocations, and approved budgets, while smart workload will monitor and adjust team resourcing based on historical and future capacity to meet changing goals.

Finally, under Asana’s scaling up category, a smart search capability will use natural language to search and pull relevant information from Asana’s Work Graph data based on prompts such as  “show tasks assigned to me in the last month.” A launch date for this feature has yet to be finalisd.

Additionally, Asana is seeking to grow its AI technology partner network by leveraging foundation models from OpenAI and Anthropic and integrating with services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) AppFabric to improve collaboration.

The company is also expanding its AI channel partner network, working to support  AI implementation by partnering with global solutions and systems integrator experts, like Slalom, CPrime, and West Monroe.

Asana has not announced how it intends to price these new AI capabilities but Hood said that the company is currently finalizing new pricing packages and tiers, although this is primarily “meant to make it easier for enterprise to move up the chain.”

AI capabilities will however be available “in some shape or form” across every tier.

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