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How to optimize your company’s tech stack, according to research

Caeleigh MacNeil contributor headshotCaeleigh MacNeil
February 11th, 2024
1 min read
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At the end of the day, a company’s tools dictate how teams work. If they can communicate across teams . . . or get stuck in silos. If they know what to prioritize, or waste time on duplicative work. If they automate routine tasks, or get bogged down in manual processes. 

It’s up to operations leaders to build the right digital capabilities, so their organization can move faster than the competition. But in an era of distributed work, app overload, and new AI technology, this is no easy task. 

That’s why The Work Innovation Lab and Connected Commons partnered to conduct hundreds of hours of research on how companies can build the right digital capabilities. They came away with actionable tips to help your organization evolve for more dynamic, distributed, and complex work. 

What is The Work Innovation Lab?

The Work Innovation Lab is a think tank by Asana that develops human-centered, cutting-edge research to help businesses evolve today to meet the growing changes and challenges of work.

Get the insights

1. Less tools, more Collaborative Intelligence

As companies grow, their tech stack often spirals out of control. In her research, Dr. Rebecca Hinds of the Work Innovation Lab found that one of the fastest-growing tech companies in the world adopted more than 300 SaaS tools. This resulted in app overload, impaired collaboration, and wasted money. 

Instead of endlessly adding tools, leaders need to take a step back and understand how collaboration is happening across their company. We call that understanding “Collaborative Intelligence.”  Collaborate Intelligence allows leaders to take a more targeted tooling approach that actually addresses specific needs and pain points. 

Collaboration is complex and often invisible. That’s why a data-driven approach like Collaborative Intelligence is crucial for leaders looking to optimize their organization’s tech stack. Because you can only improve collaboration when you understand how your organization works together. 

2. Collect data about how teams work

Start prioritizing Collaborative Intelligence by answering the following questions: 

  • How many collaboration tools have you invested in over the past two years? 

  • What is the total number of collaboration tools used by your workplace? 

  • Which tools integrate with each other and which ones are creating information silos? 

Ideally, you want to understand where collaborative silos exist between different functional groups, and which teams are collaboratively overloaded.

3. Invest in technology designed to support cross-functional work

As work becomes more complex, teams become more cross-functional. But most businesses aren’t leveraging their cross-functional teams to their fullest potential. According to research by Dr. Hinds and coauthors, tools tend to be optimized for within-team collaboration at the cost of cross-team collaboration. As a result, teams overwhelmingly optimize for within-team collaboration even when it leads to silos, inefficiencies, and poor business performance. 

Investing in cross-functional collaboration is essential to help your company succeed. According to our research, businesses with strong cross-functional collaboration drive nearly 2X greater revenue growth. 

Dig deeper

Explore more research-backed tips and insights in our full report: An executive’s guide to effective digital transformation.

An executive’s guide to effective digital transformation: A research-backed playbook

Learn how to streamline your tech stack and dial into Collaborative Intelligence—including checklists to help assess your current digital capabilities.

Get the insights
An executive’s guide to effective digital transformation: A research-backed playbook

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