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Protocol | Enterprise

Asana hits an enterprise tech milestone with the launch of a partner program

The new program will include more than 200 companies, and specify formal ways for integrating with Asana and purchasing the software from partners.

Co-founder Dustin Moskovitz

Asana Partners formalizes a program that the newly public company had in place for integrators and resellers.

Photo: Asana

Asana will take an important step forward as an enterprise software company Wednesday, launching a new partner organization that will oversee how other companies integrate with its project-management software and pave the way for channel partners to sell those tools to a wider audience.

Asana Partners formalizes a program that the newly public company had in place for integrators and resellers, said Billy Blau, head of corporate and business development at Asana, in an exclusive interview with Protocol. Blau joined Asana last October after several years running a similar program for Dropbox and was "pleasantly surprised to see how much work had already been done" on the product integration front.

Still, "there was a need to have a huge investment in the partner ecosystem. When I landed, I saw there [were] a lot of different product integrations, but we haven't really tied everything together into a coherent strategy for the enterprise going forward, and we haven't programatized anything yet," Blau said.

Asana Partners will launch with three tiers: strategic partners, premier partners and platform partners. The initial strategic partners include the Big Three U.S. cloud providers — AWS, Microsoft and Google — as well as major enterprise software companies like Salesforce, Adobe and Zoom, companies where "we work with them almost weekly" on making sure Asana works smoothly with their services, Blau said.

Premier partners include companies like Zendesk and Okta, which offer services outside the scope of Asana's platform as well as opportunities for cross-promotion. Platform partners will be companies that are newer to Asana, and across all three categories there are 200 companies involved in the program at launch.

As SaaS became the de facto way of consuming business software over the last decade, that trend unlocked a surge in entrepreneurial activity. And as companies started to allow different departments like marketing, legal and human resources to choose their own business tools, those startups worked overtime to make sure their software talked to other new SaaS applications inside a business, even software made by direct competitors.

"The reality of the situation is that people are doing the work in communication tools; they're in Zoom meetings, or they're in Slack talking about stuff. They're producing content either in Adobe or Canva, or Figma, or with Dropbox or Box. But that's all disparate, and when you want to be the single source of truth for a company of who is doing what by when, those experiences have to tie back into that platform," Blau said.

Asana's software now sits at the heart of day-to-day operations for many companies, which means it needed to streamline and standardize the way administrators manage these integrations. "As we're moving upstream into more enterprise accounts, those accounts and those customers are expecting a formal way to work with our partners and to be able to find the partners and find those integrations," Blau said.

The new program isn't just about integrations: Lots of those enterprise accounts also prefer to acquire new technology through channel partners and resellers who can help them negotiate prices and manage their tech portfolio. Partner programs are table stakes at big enterprise software companies; over 90% of Microsoft's commercial cloud revenue is generated through partners.

Asana, founded in 2008, went public through a direct listing last September and recorded $227 million in its 2020 fiscal year, up 59% compared to the previous year. Customers spending more than $50,000 rose 93%, which helps explain the need to formalize a partner program as the company moves from word-of-mouth growth across smaller companies or within department-sized organizations to larger companies.

Protocol | Workplace

The Activision Blizzard lawsuit has opened the floodgates

An employee walkout, a tumbling stock price and damning new reports of misconduct.

Activision Blizzard is being sued for widespread sexism, harassment and discrimination.

Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images

Activision Blizzard is in crisis mode. The World of Warcraft publisher was the subject of a shocking lawsuit filed by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing last week over claims of widespread sexism, harassment and discrimination against female employees. The resulting fallout has only intensified by the day, culminating in a 500-person walkout at the headquarters of Blizzard Entertainment in Irvine on Wednesday.

The company's stock price has tumbled nearly 10% this week, and CEO Bobby Kotick acknowledged in a message to employees Tuesday that Activision Blizzard's initial response was "tone deaf." Meanwhile, there has been a continuous stream of new reports unearthing horrendous misconduct as more and more former and current employees speak out about the working conditions and alleged rampant misogyny at one of the video game industry's largest and most powerful employers.

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Nick Statt
Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.

Over the last year, financial institutions have experienced unprecedented demand from their customers for exposure to cryptocurrency, and we've seen an inflow of institutional dollars driving bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to record prices. Some banks have already launched cryptocurrency programs, but many more are evaluating the market.

That's why we've created the Crypto Maturity Model: an iterative roadmap for cryptocurrency product rollout, enabling financial institutions to evaluate market opportunities while addressing compliance requirements.

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Caitlin Barnett, Chainanalysis
Caitlin’s legal and compliance experience encompasses both cryptocurrency and traditional finance. As Director of Regulation and Compliance at Chainalysis, she helps leading financial institutions strategize and build compliance programs in order to adopt cryptocurrencies and offer new products to their customers. In addition, Caitlin helps facilitate dialogue with regulators and the industry on key policy issues within the cryptocurrency industry.
Protocol | Workplace

Founder sues the company that acquired her startup

Knoq founder Kendall Hope Tucker is suing the company that acquired her startup for discrimination, retaliation and fraud.

Kendall Hope Tucker, founder of Knoq, is suing Ad Practitioners, which acquired her company last year.

Photo: Kendall Hope Tucker

Kendall Hope Tucker felt excited when she sold her startup last December. Tucker, the founder of Knoq, was sad to "give up control of a company [she] had poured five years of [her] heart, soul and energy into building," she told Protocol, but ultimately felt hopeful that selling it to digital media company Ad Practitioners was the best financial outcome for her, her team and her investors. Now, seven months later, Tucker is suing Ad Practitioners alleging discrimination, retaliation and fraud.

Knoq found success selling its door-to-door sales and analytics services to companies such as Google Fiber, Inspire Energy, Fluent Home and others. Knoq representatives would walk around neighborhoods, knocking on doors to market its customers' products and services. The pandemic, however, threw a wrench in its business. Prior to the acquisition, Knoq says it raised $6.5 million from Initialized Capital, Haystack.vc, Techstars and others.

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Megan Rose Dickey
Megan Rose Dickey is a senior reporter at Protocol covering labor and diversity in tech. Prior to joining Protocol, she was a senior reporter at TechCrunch and a reporter at Business Insider.
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Protocol | Workplace

What’s the purpose of a chief purpose officer?

Cisco's EVP and chief people, policy & purpose officer shares how the company is creating a more conscious and hybrid work culture.

Like many large organizations, the leaders at Cisco spent much of the past year working to ensure their employees had an inclusive and flexible workplace while everyone worked from home during the pandemic. In doing so, they brought a new role into the mix. In March 2021 Francine Katsoudas transitioned from EVP and chief people officer to chief people, policy & purpose Officer.

For many, the role of a purpose officer is new. Purpose officers hold their companies accountable to their mission and the people who work for them. In a conversation with Protocol, Katsoudas shared how she is thinking about the expanded role and the future of hybrid work at Cisco.

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Amber Burton

Amber Burton (@amberbburton) is a reporter at Protocol. Previously, she covered personal finance and diversity in business at The Wall Street Journal. She earned an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and B.A. in English and Journalism from Wake Forest University. She lives in North Carolina.

Protocol | Fintech

The digital dollar is coming. The payments industry is worried.

Jodie Kelley heads the Electronic Transactions Association. The trade group's members, who process $7 trillion a year in payments, want a say in the digital currency.

Jodie Kelley is CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association.

Photo: Electronic Transactions Association

The Electronic Transactions Association launched in 1990 just as new technologies, led by the World Wide Web, began upending the world of commerce and finance.

The disruption hasn't stopped.

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Benjamin Pimentel

Benjamin Pimentel ( @benpimentel) covers fintech from San Francisco. He has reported on many of the biggest tech stories over the past 20 years for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dow Jones MarketWatch and Business Insider, from the dot-com crash, the rise of cloud computing, social networking and AI to the impact of the Great Recession and the COVID crisis on Silicon Valley and beyond. He can be reached at bpimentel@protocol.com or via Signal at (510)731-8429.

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