A new kind of enterprise resource management and planning is taking shape with Smartsheet. For the basic needs of managing a project, providing a Gantt chart for presentation to management, reviewing resource demand and timing, Smartsheet handles the basics so intuitively that even the simplest project portfolio benefits from the Smartsheet way of managing projects.

The time has come to give up the tedious spreadsheet approach. With multiple projects, corporate reporting can be difficult, even misleading.  When a spreadsheet approach is in place, many accountabilities are difficult to trace, unreliable and some inoperative. It’s no way to run a business.

In recent years, organisations with larger portfolios have found that their dependence on Gantt charts and spreadsheets has been a problem. When there is a need to re-shape future financial commitments, greater visibility, greater detail, and tools to look at alternatives are needed. In more complex work, networks of interdependent activities are more suited to more powerful tools (PERT?). The basic spreadsheet approach never really worked here. But some PM software solutions were not easy to use. In many organisations project managers have reverted to the ‘trusted’ spreadsheet as an expedient. Not a good way to run a business! When budgets don’t fit, management need to be able to engage in transparent ‘cross-adding’ of resources, have visibility of interdependencies, discover accountability, and be assured which revision was the most up-to-date, before changing schedules. Now it’s possible to have a separate tool for enterprise management. When all the project activity is managed in a consistent way, obeying corporate risk conventions possibly using standard templates and data definitions.

Smartsheet is a software tool which can be adopted as a corporate standard because it’s easy to use and overcomes the spreadsheet-users’ concerns. Smartsheet is a work execution platform – all teams can see the same project data, can make comments, attach documents, so everything is in one place. It’s always up to date with the latest data. Smartsheet is designed to unleash the benefits of greater work agility and collaboration by providing a powerful platform for organizations to plan, capture, manage, automate, and report on work. Smartsheet empowers teams to execute with speed and accountability — and make better decisions, faster. This clearly delivers a bottom level benefit at the project level by itself.

But the budgeting and planning problem remains. A complementary reporting and management dashboard is needed at corporate level to complete the process of bringing project-structured future commitments under control. What problem?  you ask. How often does a member of your top team ask, ‘What’s the status of this project?” or “Is the new IT system going to launch on time?” and becomes frustrated when a simple answer is not forthcoming. Most organisations  which are still using email and spreadsheets to manage projects find that data is often hard to find in bulging email boxes and there’s often confusion around which version of the spreadsheet is the latest? Much time is unnecessarily wasted.

The top level PMO and Executive Dashboard are offering a new kind of visibility and control. What are experienced users saying?

“I think the important thing about Smartsheet is that it gives us a mechanism to consolidate information, complex information, in simple ways. And putting it in one place makes access to it that much easier.”

Michael Bolanos, VP of Project Development

“Now I’m able to give live information when people ask for it. It’s almost given me a super power now when you think about it. Just having that dashboard and understanding what’s going right, what’s going wrong and to be able to make decisions in real time, it’s just a great benefit.

Bill Miller, Director of Capital Projects

“I got my team rallied around Smartsheet and what we’ve been able to do in a relatively short period of time is move from an organization that didn’t know what they were spending on project budgets to an organization that knows exactly what they are spending.”

Hina Patel, Director of Services, Programs & Operations, Cisco

So, Smartsheet Enterprise is a must-have for corporate level reporting in organisations which have a critical amount of Project-structure work