Coordinating International Teams in the Cloud
Government agencies and private employers alike face the challenge of securing the work and critical data that their employees are increasingly accessing from their personal mobile devices. Both are turning to Precise Biometrics’ combo smart card reader and fingerprint sensor to ensure prying eyes don’t rip off the data from their employees’ iPhone or iPad.
The 15 year-old company, based in Sweden with a US office in the Washington, DC area, is behind some of the world’s most state-of-the art identity authentication technology. Cutting its teeth with desktop identity authentication devices early on, the company is now focused on delivering mobile device authentication using biometrics and smart cards.
With the rapid pace of the mobile development environment and colleagues around the world, communication and collaboration challenges emerged for Precise Biometrics during their latest product launch.
A Global Headache
In late 2011, Precise Biometrics was preparing to release and promote their new mobile product,Tactivo. All departments from both the Sweden and US offices, including marketing, legal and product development, were contributing to the launch efforts. The team needed an easy way to share all the input, dates and dependencies – and it was clear that a giant spreadsheet emailed all over the world wasn’t working.
Before the struggle of out-of-date spreadsheet versions and simultaneous edits that need to be compiled set in, Meredith Esham, Precise Biometrics’ Director of Marketing and Communications, was asked to find a better way for the team to work together. With the timezone and geographical challenges, it was clear that cloud-based collaboration was the solution.
One Tool, Instant Usability
“I believe in using the right tool for the job – but also keeping tools to a minimum,” said Esham. She explored a number of different options: Outlook shared files, Toodledo, and Evernote to name a few, but none were the right fit. Until Smartsheet.
“It didn’t take me long to realize how great this tool is. The spreadsheet layout is so simple. It just makes sense,” said Esham. Esham put Precise Biometrics’ new mobile product launch plan into Smartsheet and then shared it out with their 20-person international team.
“Everyone just ‘got it,’” said Esham. “It was incredible; it was the first time I’d rolled out a new system and didn’t receive a single question about how to use it.”
Powerful Simplicity, Widespread Appeal
Smartsheet quickly became a vital part of Precise Biometrics’ underlying business processes. “It’s uncomplicated, yet it does so much,” said Judi Campbell, Precise Biometrics’ Marketing Manager.
The company now uses Smartsheet in a variety of ways across departments:
- Marketing Campaigns: “Our online campaigns are complicated and have lots of moving parts. Smartsheet makes it easy to plan and keep track of each one. Setting reminders has been a lifesaver. With so many projects going at once, my mind is at ease knowing that a reminder will show up to keep us one step ahead of our many deadlines. Smartsheet keeps progress moving forward,” said Esham. <Similar template for marketing campaign analysis>
- Capturing Leads: When Precise Biometrics received a late invitation to participate in a partner expo, Campbell was asked to find a way to collect attendee information during and after the event. Despite the short timeframe, Campbell delivered by creating a web form in Smartsheet to take on the road to conferences. Those interested in sampling Precise Biometrics’ products used their smartphone to scan a QR code provided at the booth and on literature. This took them directly to the Smartsheet web form designed to capture critical lead information. Once submitted, lead information was auto-populated into a sheet for the Marketing and Sales teams. A notification sent via Smartsheet to the Marketing team ensured that every lead was responded to immediately, without any extra manpower to monitor lead information coming in. <View other templates for marketing teams>
- Human Resources: Smartsheet plays a critical role in many of Precise Biometrics’ HR processes. The company has created an onboarding sheet that’s used for each employee. Many departments have responsibility to ensure new employees have what they need in terms of logins, training, and equipment – all tracked and managed in Smartsheet. Management, trainers and the IT department can easily access the onboarding sheet to ensure that new staff are brought on quickly and efficiently. <View templates built to support HR processes>
- Meeting Agendas: Management uses Smartsheet to set agendas and distribute to team members in advance. During meetings, the team stays on task and follows prioritized discussion topics. Any action items agreed upon during meetings are documented in Smartsheet and the agendas are archived for everyone’s reference. “We use reports to create task lists that consolidate tasks for each owner across multiple sheets, making it easy for everyone to view their own single task list to keep up with what they are responsible for across projects and departments.” <View other templates built for streamlining meeting agendas and other task oriented processes>
- Internal Product Inventory: With technology partners needing products for internal development and testing, product reviewers requesting samples, etc., an internal inventory of product samples is kept in Smartsheet. To keep track of where the valuable and in-demand samples are going to ensure inventory levels remain sufficient, team members enter the number of units they’ve given away and to whom. Formulas automatically deduct the units from the inventory total, and conditional formatting highlights inventory levels when they drop beneath a certain threshold.
- PR Agency Coordination: “We share our sheets that include events, award deadlines, and editorial plans with our PR agency. It ensures we all have the right documents at our fingertips and everyone knows the upcoming deadlines. Allowing our external PR team to share and update our plans saves a lot of time in our weekly meetings, and compiling reports to distribute isn’t necessary – instead we work directly off the sheet.”
- Product Roadmaps: Precise Biometrics’ CTO uses Smartsheet to lay out the company’s product roadmaps. The calendar view is commonly referenced for quick visual progress updates. <View other templates crafted for R&D>
“We use Smartsheet in so many different ways. It’s invaluable,” said Esham. “With team members working from many different locations, Smartsheet has become our virtual office. It’s the heart of our team.”