There are many project management tools available to dive into and it can be a little overwhelming to understand if or which tool will really get the job done. While Smartsheet is a tool that is spreadsheet-based, it’s a very complex project management tool that is very powerful that will result in almost immediate ROI. Exploring Smartsheet has many benefits to ensure projects from end to end are successful and efficient within an organization. Let’s dive into the many capabilities Smartsheet has that will drive success into your next project.

Integration and Collaboration

With many teams still working remotely, having a productive collaboration and project management tool is key to ensure tasks and milestones are completed efficiently throughout projects. One of the primary benefits Smartsheet offers to users is its ability to share sheets with internal or external team members. Even if some users don’t hold a license, users can still collaborate which is definitely a cost-effective approach when you have multiple projects going on simultaneously with many decision-makers who need access. The access level can also be controlled by administrators which is a critical feature if you have a lot of people involved, but not everyone should necessarily have editable permissions to shared sheets.

Smartsheet also has many connectors with key tools users already work with such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, Salesforce or Jira. For example, by using a connector with Microsoft Dynamics 365, users can create workflows and apply filters that control the rows that sync to objects in Dynamics 365 for the purpose of including data only on certain rows with a particular status or value. Workflows also have the ability to sync automatically to keep records organized and updated. As connectors are put into place, it’s critical to also utilize and review user permissions to ensure syncing is working properly and that users are constantly saving changes so only the latest version is viewed on sheets. See an issue? A records history is also kept to review any changes that have been made and the user associated with that workflow so it’s easy to identify the source of any errors.

There’s a number of other tools available that allow users to collaborate even further and connect existing databases, CRMs and ERPs with Smartsheet’s Data Shuttle. Data Shuttle is an add-on that allows users to automatically import data from software systems and databases directly into Smartsheet such as actual hours worked from external time tracking tools or expenses from external accounting systems.

Data Analytics and Reporting

Smartsheet’s utilization reporting is another benefit to managing all of the resources involved in projects. One of the key factors to consider in project management is to gather information regarding inefficiencies or who is doing what for each project. Key stakeholders usually always want to know how much time a project is going to take and the time it’s taking for each step along the way and Smartsheet takes the guesswork out of hours incurred for projects and forecasting. Gone are the days where key stakeholders are making decisions just based on opinion. Data should be backing every decision along the way in order to move forward successfully. If you were to ask a project manager to estimate how long it will take their team to complete a project, they will likely underestimate the actual amount of time it will take which leads to a lot of frustration and a prolonged time to market.

Once that real-time data is being collected in Smartsheet, visual dashboards can also be created to visualize a project’s performance when considering various metrics and depending on who is viewing that data. Custom reports can be created to filter out the critical data points needed for each group within an organization. Data visualization is a very useful tool to take advantage of to easily identify issues earlier for preventive measures and to easily translate data into a language that can be easily understood among different groups.

Improve Operational Efficiencies

With the previously mentioned benefits Smartsheet offers to members within an organization, the benefit of improving and streamlining operations is a given. With the data analytics and tracking of resources involved with a project management tool like this, operational efficiencies will occur organically as long as that data that’s being collected is acted upon. The insights provided with project management tools is in a way priceless when it comes to being able to pivot where necessary when reviewing the reporting provided to support business growth and to avoid issues that before would not have been seen without understanding and bringing all of this data together on one shared sheet or dashboard. To clearly see inefficiencies in any project will allow stakeholders to make critical decisions quickly to decrease time to market instead of prolonging projects and missing deadlines. A comprehensive project management tool should not be seen as a luxury, but a necessity at a time especially when many teams are likely to still be working remotely and to keep track of how critical resources are spending their time and how long tasks are taking.

The survey results for PMI’s Pulse of the Profession® revealed an average 11.4 percent of investment is wasted due to poor project performance. And organizations that undervalue project management as a strategic competency for driving change report an average of 67 percent more of their projects failing outright. A project management tool is the solution to eliminating poor project performance and management and organizations can’t see these valuable tools as optional – it’s a critical asset to the business to ensure your business still has a pulse and isn’t on the fast-track to fail.

Many organizations especially now work quite lean with resources doing more than one job who have a whole portfolio of ongoing projects going on at any given time. Smartsheet not only give insights to key stakeholders, but it gives your teams the tools to help manage their own time and tasks to avoid micromanaging. Smartsheet is a dynamic tool for various industries to increase output and work more efficiently internally and externally.

Multi-layered Security

It’s always great to know that a software tool you’re planning on using has access to all of your organization’s databases and how they can talk to each other seamlessly right? Well, for some, especially IT, that may raise some red flags when it comes to possibly increasing the risk of a data breach. With Smartsheets, security is built into the product to ensure that the organization’s data is being protected with multi-layered access permissions and quarterly access audits. Smartsheet also has policies and procedures in place to ensure an organization’s data is backed up in multiple locations with a team constantly evaluating security threats and implementing countermeasures to help prevent unauthorized access or downtime. Among Smartsheet’s multi-layered data security strategy, it also uses encryption to protect data with NIST approved ciphers. According to Statista, reports indicate that there were just over 1,000 data breaches and millions of records exposed in the U.S. last year. When looking at a tool that has access to this much data, an organization should ensure that they are working with a comprehensive data protection strategy that is nothing less than the gold-standard.

Not sure where to start? A Smartsheet platinum partner like Aptude can help guide your organization through implementing this powerful tool throughout the business and removing any apprehension that comes along with making that first step. The only regret there might be is that this tool wasn’t implemented from day one.

Keep Moving Forward with Aptude

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