Pearson, a world-leading provider of educational content, needed to vastly simplify the complex and time-consuming process of digitizing thousands of educational books per year. Siloed information and manual processes were making their projects take months longer than they should have.
“It was taking us up to six months to a year to digitize a title,” says Kimberly Dunworth, workflow lead for Pearson’s North American higher education division. “We thought it should be more like 12 weeks.” In today’s internet-connected educational marketplace, those extra months were unacceptable — as were the missed deadlines caused when manual changes to one part of the schedule caused ripple effects down the project timeline.
Scaling With Smartsheet Control Center
To improve control over complex projects and speed time to market, Pearson’s North American higher education division adopted Smartsheet Control Center. Now the workflow team can use their own templates to set up new projects, automatically define schedules and link process steps, and enable real-time visibility into project status through dashboards and automated updates.
For each new title to be digitized, Dunworth and her team set up a project entry using a template that outlines process steps, then share it with the content managers who update the details and track the progress of the project. Dunworth can tailor user access privileges so that team members can make appropriate status updates without accidentally breaking links between dependencies, changing timelines, or deleting required steps.
Project status updates are reflected in real time and give everyone a clear view into the status of every title in the process of being digitized. Dunworth also set up formulas in the sheet to automatically alert teams if specific process steps were behind schedule. Leaders were so impressed by how easy it was to track the progress of projects, that they asked for more titles to be tracked this way.
Global Updates Enhancement Speeds Scale
To extend the capabilities of Control Center, Smartsheet has added Global Updates, which enables Control Center users to easily update project templates and automatically cascade changes to hundreds of existing projects. With this new feature, administrators can quickly adapt existing projects to dynamic business needs.
Dunworth is always looking for ways to have even more impact with Smartsheet. “Our process started out small,” she says, “but when other teams saw the benefits, they wanted us to track and report for their groups as well, and it grew.”
With the addition of Global Updates, Dunworth will gain the ability to add and push out formulas on overall status universally across all sheets. “Sometimes users overwrite [formulas], or we expand on existing formulas, and we want to maintain consistency across each of our projects,” says Dunworth. She also sees the benefit of using Global Updates to add new metadata fields for tracking and reporting across all projects.
A Process, Transformed
Using Smartsheet Control Center, Dunworth and her team have greatly shortened the time-to-market for their projects, saved hours by removing repetitive, manual processes, and have provided reporting and project-status visibility that not only eliminates the need to manually compile status reports, but also has leaders raving.
To learn more about how Pearson is using Smartsheet Control Center to speed time-to-market for their projects, read the in-depth case study here.