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8 key features to look for in a work management platform

Whitney Vige headshotWhitney Vige
February 26th, 2024
7 min read
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When it comes to picking a work management platform for your company, the right features make all the difference. Read on to discover the eight must-have features that drive organizational success.

The way we work isn’t working. Work is scattered, tools aren’t syncing, and teams are suffering from app overload and technology fatigue. But there’s a smarter way. With an enterprise work management platform, you can connect all organizational elements–from the smallest daily tasks to the most complex company goals—for a more integrated, seamless way of working. 

The challenge comes in choosing the right platform. That’s where this guide comes in. We’ll take you step-by-step through the must-have features to look for in an enterprise work management platform. At the end, you’ll walk away feeling confident in your ability to make a decision that supports your organization’s current needs and long-term business strategy.

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8 key features to look for in an enterprise work management platform

We've broken down the eight features essential to any platform—tailored for the needs of modern enterprises.

1. Scalability and security 

When it comes to choosing an enterprise work management platform with long-term viability, it’s essential to find one that’s enterprise-grade and can scale to meet the needs of your large organization. Think of it this way: The right work management platform isn’t just another piece of software you’re purchasing to tack onto your tech stack—it’s an investment that will connect your work and adapt and evolve alongside your business. 

That means choosing a platform that’s built for scalability and security. The ideal platform should have the ability to accommodate business units of varying sizes, scale across departments, and maintain ease of use and performance consistency as your enterprise grows. 

Security is the cornerstone of scalability. Look for a platform with enterprise-grade security features, like robust encryption, comprehensive admin controls, and detailed permissions. Also important are data protection measures like two-factor authentication, regular data backups, reliable recovery features, and a commitment to high uptime. Additionally, ensuring the platform meets data protection and privacy regulations like GDPR, CCPA, FERPA, and HIPAA is crucial for maintaining compliance. 

Why Asana?

Asana is the only work management platform proven to scale to 200K+ users in a single customer deployment.

2. Integration with existing systems 

An ideal work management platform doesn’t stand alone; it’s a unifier that brings together the tools and systems your business already relies on. Rather than add to the complexity of your technology infrastructure, the platform should simplify it, connecting your cross-functional teams, departments, and tools together in a single place.

Make it happen by looking for a platform that integrates with your other workplace applications. By prioritizing interoperability, you can bring all your tools and data together in one space—seamlessly connecting your workflows without leaving the platform. Take it further by choosing a platform with API access so you can develop custom apps tailored to your enterprise’s specific needs. Remember: The goal of a work management platform isn’t to replace your tools—it’s to connect them. 

Why Asana?

Asana integrates with more than 200 apps, including the tools your team uses every day—like Slack, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more. 

3. Useability and ease of adoption 

When it comes to choosing a work management platform, leaders have a lot on their plate—a whole list of features to sift through and questions to tackle. But for the teams who'll use the platform every day, the core consideration boils down to something much simpler: How easy is it to use and adopt?

Useability isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have. The platform’s design should be intuitive and easy to use, so teams can start working right away, without a steep learning curve. Look for a platform with an intuitive user interface and user-friendly features like a personalized homepage and task list

The ideal work management platform should feel like a natural extension of your teams’ workflows. A platform with customer success and support resources, like onboarding support, tailored trainings, self-guided tutorials, and a detailed knowledge base will help get your team up to speed quickly—and that matters. After all, the easier it is for your teams to use the platform, the faster they (and your organization) can reap the benefits—like improved collaboration, streamlined workflows, and enhanced productivity. 

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4. Flexibility and personalization

The way you work isn’t one-size-fits-all—and the ideal work management platform isn’t, either. The platform needs to work for every level of the business, from the individual contributors producing day-to-day work to the executives tracking organizational-level goals. It's essential to choose a platform that offers flexibility in how data is presented, ensuring that every team member has access to relevant information tailored to their specific role—no matter where they sit in the company hierarchy. 

To make this possible, look for a work management platform that relies on a standard data model to centralize information while allowing for flexibility and personalization. This allows everyone to work off the same set of data, tailored to their individual needs. Key capabilities to look for include multiple project views that surface the most relevant information for the user and multi-homing functionality that allows you to track and manage tasks across multiple projects. That way, no one is hindered by irrelevant details or lacks the big picture—each team member can see exactly what they need to see, exactly when they need to see it. 

5. Cross-functional collaboration capabilities

A work management platform should act as a central hub for cross-functional collaboration, where dispersed departments can communicate, share ideas, and collaborate efficiently.  The right platform can transform how teams interact, making disjointed tasks, scattered files, and back-and-forth emails a thing of the past—everything from quick updates to in-depth discussions and big-picture decisions happen in one place.

Look for a flexible platform that bridges your cross-functional teams, departments, and tools. Select a platform with the flexibility to support varied projects and workflow types, can easily collaborate while accommodating their unique work styles and processes. The right platform should also integrate with teams’ existing business-critical tools, allowing teams to seamlessly collaborate without moving from their preferred tools.  By bringing all your team’s projects, tasks, files, and feedback into one place, you can break down the communication and information silos that exist between cross-functional teams—ultimately driving greater impact and fostering a collaborative cross-team environment.

Why Asana?

Asana is designed for collaborative, cross-functional work. By connecting your organization’s tasks, projects, portfolios, and goals, Asana provides a roadmap of how work actually gets done—ensuring everyone from team members to executives can align efforts toward achieving common objectives.

6. Strategic goal alignment and tracking

Another key feature to look for is the ability to connect every team’s work to company-wide goals. This ensures everyone knows the “why” behind what’s being done and helps teams focus on the work that matters—meaning the work that contributes to the organization’s strategic initiatives.

Look for features that allow you to track goals—and the work that supports them—in one place, like shared goals, real-time data analysis, and custom reporting features. By monitoring overarching goals—and their status—in one place, teams can keep track of both individual work and big-picture progress. This allows them to see which goals are on track and which are at risk, so they can make the adjustments needed to stay on course and reach goals faster. 

7. Automation and AI 

A work management platform equipped with automation and AI features lets you tackle one of the biggest drains on productivity: duplicative work. Investing in a platform that eliminates repetitive, low-value tasks allows your teams to focus on strategic, high-impact work. What’s more, by leveraging AI and automation to standardize and scale workflows, you can bring consistency and accuracy to your processes. 

When it comes to AI features, look for a platform with functionalities that streamline decision-making processes and drive greater clarity—like the ability to analyze real-time project data to provide insights, status updates, and identify potential and risks obstacles.

You should also look for a platform that leverages AI and automation to functionality to build and optimize organization-wide, customizable workflows. Specific features to look for include rules that automate tasks, forms that standardize requests, and customizable templates that create repeatable workflow processes that can be built by anyone—no technical expertise or coding required.

Why Asana?

Asana’s suite of AI features are reliable, traceable, and backed by your company’s data, so you can get real-time insights into the progress the org is making toward business-critical goals along with actionable recommendations for achieving them.   

8. Reporting functionality 

A work management platform with strong reporting functionality doesn’t just keep you informed—it keeps you one step ahead. Reporting capabilities turn raw data into a clear narrative, so you can understand how your company’s initiatives are progressing, where the bottlenecks are, and how closely work is aligned with business objectives. With these capabilities, everyone from individual contributors to senior executives can get on the same page, make better decisions, and achieve results faster. 

Look for a platform with advanced reporting capabilities that can drive data-driven decision-making, like reporting dashboards that let you customize your inputs, visualize data in multiple ways, and track progress across your organization. Additionally, ensure the platform is equipped with capabilities for seamless data integration to import data into other advanced reporting tools like Tableau and PowerBI, enhancing your analytics and reporting capabilities.

Work smarter with a work management platform

The right work management platform can transform your enterprise's workflows and bridge the gap between strategy, planning, and execution. Ready to witness the process in action? Take the next step and see how a platform like Asana can drive clarity and accountability, maximize business impact, and revolutionize the way your organization works.

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Have more work management questions? Check out our FAQs.

What is work management?

Work management is a systematic approach to orchestrating an organization’s workflows—like projects, ongoing processes, or routine tasks—to provide the clarity teams and entire organizations need. It’s a way to coordinate people and work across all levels of an organization, to ensure everyone has the information they need to accomplish the work that matters most. At an enterprise level, work management strategically orchestrates team workflows to align with broader organizational goals. Work management goes beyond individual tasks, encompassing projects and ongoing processes to bring clarity and direction at all levels—from team members to executives.

What’s the difference between a work management platform and a project management platform?

You may have heard of—or used—project management software in the past. While project management platforms are great for handling single projects or ad-hoc initiatives, work management platforms take this concept to the next level. That’s because project management software focuses on individual projects or tasks, whereas work management platforms encompass the entire operational scope of an enterprise. It connects strategy, planning, and execution in one single platform, linking your top-level organizational objectives to the work that powers them. 

What are the benefits of a work management platform?

According to our research, 60% of an employee’s time is spent on work about work—status meetings, email updates, duplicative work, and manual entry—instead of skilled work. 

With a work management platform, you can optimize the time your team spends on strategic initiatives. By reducing time lost in status meetings and manual updates, work management platforms enhance clarity, foster cross-functional collaboration, and provide a comprehensive view of how all work contributes to the company’s high-level initiatives—so you can achieve them faster.

How do I know if my enterprise needs a work management platform?

Any enterprise with cross-functional work, distributed teams, and complex workflows and initiatives can benefit from a work management platform. In particular, a work management platform can help your enterprise:

  • Connect individual work to company goals, driving clarity and accountability

  • Get real-time, data-backed recommendations on how to course-correct when needed and achieve results

  • Automate workflows and collaborate more efficiently, so you can get more done faster

  • Elevate your existing tech stack and bring all of your cross-functional teams, departments, and tools together

  • Reduce manual, low-value tasks and maintain focus on high-impact work

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