Internationalization: The Case of Asana

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Asana is a company that develops project management software and helps different organizations track and shape their work. Asana’s vision revolves around employee productivity and efficiency while also highlighting the crucial importance of humanizing corporate tasks. The company’s history proves that the administration is knowledgeable and experienced enough to be able to develop a branding strategy that will help Asana stand out among similar businesses and aim to conquer the global market. Instead of merely focusing on the notion of productivity, the organization deploys its applications in an attempt to nurture effortless teamwork and collaborative behaviors (Gould, 2018). A ‘thriving organizational team’ is the foundation of Asana’s activities since the company is looking to connect to its customers on an emotional level instead of pushing a dehumanizing marketing agenda. Accordingly, the case of Asana may be a compelling reason to investigate the notion of internationalization as linked to the IT sector.

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The company has clear plans for the imminent decade since there are quite a few digital trends to be followed and fostered. In line with Asana’s vision, the most appropriate way to ride the wave of innovation would be to implement more predictive tools and focus on international collaboration in order to limit the number of administrative tasks that have to be resolved by humans. Artificial intelligence (AI) plays an important role in the life of Asana because the team recognizes numerous areas where technologies could be much more effective than their human counterparts (Auth, JokischPavel and Dürk, 2019). On a long-term scale, internationalization could become the answer for many organizations looking for a way to penetrate new markets without spending too much monetary resources. As a company that strives toward passionate achievements and strong interpersonal relationships, Asana is a perfect example of a company that could benefit from internationalization.

The case of Asana also shows how important project management is for both local and remote teams, making it safe to assume that the company’s organizational success relies on versatility and adaptability. Asana’s strong brand moves the corporation forward and helps units from all over the globe exert joint efforts to make sure their own organizations keep winning. Nevertheless, Asana could advance via a new market penetration strategy that would help the administration establish a more productive work environment and remain as transparent as ever. Given that Asana is an SME, it should be noted that collaboration is one of the key advantages that have to be explored in the first place (Larsson and Larsson, 2020). Ultimately, the case of Asana is a vivid representation of how a small company with a definite focus can appeal to a larger audience and reach customers around the world in an effortless manner. The existence of such companies shows how important it is to delegate tasks quickly and humanize workplace processes.

The concept of internationalization is going to have a significant impact on Asana in the case where it chooses to expand its operations further. There are two main reasons why internationalization is going to benefit the organization: (1) as a software firm, Asana will have an opportunity to develop more enterprise products over time, and (2) as a globalized organization, Asana will be able to launch the process of internationalization and use respective models and strategies to penetrate new markets. Evidence from the literature suggests that IT companies are the biggest contenders when it comes to internationalization due to their inherent flexibility and potential for customization (Lecerf and Omrani, 2020). Accordingly, if Asana chooses to investigate more international markets, it will not be limited in terms of resources or capabilities since it is committed to effective relationships, trustful partnerships, gaining new knowledge, and expanding the reach of its professional network. As it was mentioned by Cheng, Zhong, and Cao (2020), internationalization represents an indication of universal growth and the ability to bring change to organizational processes without affecting employees and stakeholders.

One more reason for Asana to appeal to other markets and nurture internationalization is the presence of inter-firm agreements that flood the IT market and give rise to the most unexpected partnerships. Distributors of hardware and software are completely free to strike agreements that are going to become mutually beneficial over time (Lew, Kim and Khan, 2019). The implications of networking have to be distinguished by Asana’s administration if the company is looking to expand its operations into other markets successfully. The process of internationalization represents a set of complex consecutive operations that have to be respected if Asana expects to preserve its SME status. Knowing that smaller IT firms usually depend on their management, Asana’s administration should remain in control of core operations and ensure that internationalization remains a priority for the team. Without the company’s competitive capability, it will be unreasonable for the administration to disseminate knowledge and capitalize on internationalization.

The increasing pace of development of the IT sector makes it safe to say that Asana’s project management software could unlock the potential of many SMEs worldwide. The existing evidence suggests that technology capability is the central element of corporate decision-making when it comes to internationalization and expansion (Ciravegna et al., 2019). Irrespective of acquired skills and knowledge, teams tend to remain relatively limited by the organization’s attention to detail and the administration’s willingness to allocate resources to support growth. When an SME is a knowledge-intensive organization, it has significantly more chances to succeed (Pergelova et al., 2019). In the case of Asana, it has to be noted that the concept of internationalization relies on the team’s commitment to organizational values and an increasing impact of details included in the market entry strategy. Asana has to continue expanding into the international business environment in an attempt to gain more publicity and popularize humanized project management that functions on the basis of AI.

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There are six essential stages that Asana will have to go through in order to complete the process of internationalization and deploy its market entry strategy. The basic task is going to be to define the market that the organization is looking to penetrate. Despite Asana being an IT company, it still has to gain more insight into where it could expand its operations to remain successful. For instance, the Middle Eastern market could become a niche for Asana since it is in the company’s best interests to support up-and-coming SMEs and help them gain profits while maintaining their reputation (Bagheri et al., 2019). There are more than a few tech-savvy companies in the Middle East that could establish partnerships with Asana and ensure that both parties experience a win-win scenario. Even if the company does not have to define its market too clearly (e.g., turning to a rather narrow niche), the main objective for Asana will be to consider personal interests, career roles, and personal goals when marketing its products to Middle Eastern firms. To prepare for the new market penetration, Asana could compile the data concerning existing customers.

The second step to be completed by the organization is a thorough market analysis that is going to make it clearer for Asana if it should focus on the Middle Eastern market. Given that there are other providers of project management software that could also operate on a global scale, Asana’s administration should gain more insight into how successful productivity app sales could be achieved in the region. From past experience to modern data, Asana could use practically any pool of information to discover the core strengths and weaknesses to consider when penetrating a new market (Genc, Dayan and Genc, 2019). The company already stands out due to its unique mission and values, but Asana could improve its position in the market even more if it performed a detailed assessment of the Middle Eastern market. According to Geibel (2018), some of the essential characteristics to look into would be the economic environment, the most prominent barriers to entry, the list of existing competitors, and specific regulations that could interfere with Asana’s operations. After this step, the administration will have a better understanding of how to enter the new market and maintain the spirit of internationalization.

The next stage to be completed in order to support Asana’s market penetration is the validation of internal analysis. The latter is required to establish the right amount of time and resources to help the organization complete the expansion process and compete with companies that have already entered the same market some time ago (Juniati et al., 2019). The easiest way to assess Asana’s chances to enter the market and deploy a powerful penetration strategy to appeal to consumers is to perform a SWOT analysis (see Figure 1). In line with Jatmiko et al. (2021), a SWOT analysis is an important marketing tool because it increases the company’s transparency and exposes the most problematic areas.

Figure 1. SWOT analysis of Asana

Strengths
  • A powerful tool that can be utilized by novice users without any limitations
  • There are many built-in instruments that are not available from other providers
  • Additional information security techniques protect user data
  • Strong integration of AI technologies intended to predict organizational plans and delegate tasks more efficiently
Weaknesses
  • Requires constant monitoring and monetary investments
  • There has to be a team of information technology specialists to cope with back-end tasks and ensure a positive working experience
Opportunities
  • Asana could utilize the Middle Eastern market as a spring to promote project management among numerous SMEs from the area
  • Internationalization could give rise to more partnerships and popularization of Asana as the primary project management application
Threats
  • Extra efforts might not be as effective as expected if Middle Eastern partners already utilize other project management apps and tend to be reluctant to switch to Asana

The process of market penetration should also be preceded by an in-depth skill gap analysis because remote work and outsourcing capabilities are different for various stakeholders (Anguelov and Kaschel, 2017). In a sense, Asana has to protect itself from missing the target market and trying to appeal to a population that is either out of reach or not interested in the services provided by the organization. In line with Mehrez (2019), Asana, as an SME, should focus on a penetration strategy that does not require the company to seek funds or business loans and only utilize internal resources to establish new partnerships.

The fourth step that is necessary if the company is looking forward to a strong penetration is the deployment of a comprehensive action plan where all the important details of Asana’s strategy will be listed. Based on the existing information about the company, it may be proposed to focus on establishing a business plan that nurtures organizational values and highlights the importance of building international partnerships (DeQuero-Navarro et al., 2020). The core case for investment is an expansion to the Middle East in an attempt to popularize the notion of digital project management among numerous local SMEs and contribute to Asana’s positive brand image (Al‐Abdin, Roy and Nicholson, 2018). The company will expand over the course of six months, with the administration focusing on the opportunities related to automation. Employees responsible for the organization’s internationalization will be required to communicate with potential partners and appeal to end-users. The two essential milestones that Asana would be looking to achieve are (a) the creation of an international network of stakeholders and (b) the development of project management software that is approved across the globe in spite of cultural and economic differences.

The next stage of the market penetration process would be to run a pilot program. It will help Asana see if the Middle Eastern market is a viable objective and whether it is going to benefit the company to communicate with local SMEs and market its numerous products. Knowing that there may be other project management developers active in the area, Asana’s management could launch the pilot program to attract potential customers to app demos (Butler, Vijayasarathy and Roberts, 2020). This strategy would help the company evade any risks related to improper investments and obtain enough empirical evidence to decide if the Middle Eastern market is a lucrative option. According to Galli (2018), every new market entry strategy has to be tested prior to the implementation to protect developers from untimely feedback, unexpected bugs, end-user reluctance, and numerous other challenges. The latter can be associated with launching a new product in a relatively under-researched market. Prior to launching its apps, Asana will be required to scale back the full version of its product and ensure a time-restricted engagement for the target market to appeal to the end-users even more.

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The ultimate stage of the market penetration strategy for Asana will be to scale up gradually, but only in the case where the pilot program turned out to be successful, and most of the predicted benefits were real. A thoughtful expansion into the Middle Eastern region should be mediated through the interface of a marketing plan that would also consider the cultural peculiarities of the local target audience and the potential effectiveness of the full strategy in any other region. Instead of focusing on revenue, the company will have to improve its market share to move forward and validate the rationale behind internationalization (Sukaatmadja et al., 2021). Enhanced visibility in the market will contribute to a much more secure organizational environment and allow for further expansions. Despite market penetration being a serious challenge, Asana has the resources and capabilities to develop an actionable plan and delegate tasks among employees to explore the benefits of expanding into the Middle East.

Reference List

Al‐Abdin, A., Roy, T. and Nicholson, J. D. (2018) ‘Researching corporate social responsibility in the Middle East: the current state and future directions’, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 25(1), pp. 47-65.

Anguelov, N. and Kaschel, T. (2017) ‘Toward quantifying soft power: the impact of the proliferation of information technology on governance in the Middle East’, Palgrave Communications, 3(1), pp. 1-10.

Auth, G., JokischPavel, O. and Dürk, C. (2019) ‘Revisiting automated project management in the digital age – a survey of AI approaches’, Online Journal of Applied Knowledge Management (OJAKM), 7(1), pp. 27-39.

Bagheri, M. et al. (2019) ‘Internationalization orientation in SMEs: the mediating role of technological innovation’, Journal of International Management, 25(1), pp. 121-139.

Butler, C. W., Vijayasarathy, L. R. and Roberts, N. (2020) ‘Managing software development projects for success: aligning plan-and agility-based approaches to project complexity and project dynamism’, Project Management Journal, 51(3), pp. 262-277.

Cheng, C., Zhong, H. and Cao, L. (2020) ‘Facilitating speed of internationalization: the roles of business intelligence and organizational agility’, Journal of Business Research, 110, pp. 95-103.

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Ciravegna, L. et al. (2019) ‘The timing of internationalization – drivers and outcomes’, Journal of Business Research, 105, pp. 322-332.

DeQuero-Navarro, B. et al. (2020) ‘From conflict to cooperation: a macromarketing view of sustainable and inclusive development in Lebanon and the Middle East’, Environmental Management, 66, pp. 232-247.

Galli, B. J. (2018) ‘Using marketing to implement a strategic plan: reflection of practiced literature’, International Journal of Service Science, Management, Engineering, and Technology (IJSSMET), 9(1), pp. 41-54.

Geibel, W. (2018) ‘From cultural resources to public diplomats: Middle Eastern international students’ perspectives on internationalization’, Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 10, pp. 39-45.

Genc, E., Dayan, M. and Genc, O. F. (2019) ‘The impact of SME internationalization on innovation: the mediating role of market and entrepreneurial orientation’, Industrial Marketing Management, 82, pp. 253-264.

Gould, E. M. (2018) ‘Workflow management tools for electronic resources management’, Serials Review, 44(1), pp. 71-74.

Jatmiko, B. et al. (2021) ‘Strategies for MSMEs to achieve sustainable competitive advantage: the SWOT analysis method’, The Journal of Asian Finance, Economics and Business, 8(3), pp. 505-515.

Juniati, S. et al. (2019) ‘The impact of internationalization in influencing firm performance and competitive advantage: the mediating role of eco-innovation’, International Journal of Supply Chain Management, 8(1), pp. 295-302.

Larsson, J. and Larsson, L. (2020) ‘Integration, application and importance of collaboration in sustainable project management’, Sustainability, 12(2), p. 585.

Lecerf, M. and Omrani, N. (2020) ‘SME internationalization: the impact of information technology and innovation’, Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 11(2), pp. 805-824.

Lew, Y. K., Kim, J. and Khan, Z. (2019) ‘Technological adaptation to a platform and dependence: value co-creation through partnerships’, Asian Journal of Technology Innovation, 27(1), pp. 71-89.

Mehrez, A. (2019) ‘Investigating the effectiveness of practicing knowledge management in the hospitality industry: the case of Qatar’, International Journal of Knowledge Management Studies, 10(2), pp. 101-117.

Pergelova, A. et al. (2019) ‘Democratizing entrepreneurship? Digital technologies and the internationalization of female‐led SMEs’, Journal of Small Business Management, 57(1), pp. 14-39.

Sukaatmadja, I. et al. (2021) ‘Competitive advantage to enhance internationalization and marketing performance woodcraft industry: a perspective of resource-based view theory’, Journal of Project Management, 6(1), pp. 45-56.

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