3 Layers of Visibility Your Business Needs to Compete

by Katy Beloof

In order to stay competitive, business leaders must find new ways to make better decisions faster. A critical part of this is establishing visibility, or making sure the right people have access to the right information at the right time — in real time.

Businesses leaders need a way to free up employees to move swiftly and empower them with the information they need to execute. Leaders also need a way to see how day-to-day work is progressing, to keep their teams on track.

A hawk flies toward a distant city

At the same time, they need to ensure that high-level information is accurately and promptly communicated to the C-Suite, so they can more quickly make the critical decisions needed to move the business forward.

With these challenges in mind, here’s a look at the three layers of visibility organizations need to make better decisions faster, execute more quickly on new initiatives, and ultimately thrive in today’s competitive market.

Street View — Where Tactical Work Happens

A busy street in New York City

Individual contributors need a clear view of where they are and where they’re going. They also need a high level of detail in order to execute their projects, close a deal, or move a process forward. This could include personal worksheets, task lists, account notes, and other ways of tracking individual work.

At the same time, the collaborative nature of work necessitates that individual contributors and managers have access to and can work from project plans, ticketing systems, etc., so they can see what they’re responsible for and complete their work in a timely manner.  


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In Smartsheet, this takes the form of sheets, which are flexible enough to allow for different work styles and execution needs, while collecting information in one place that can be accessed by multiple people.

Helicopter View — Where Team Impact Happens

Point of view from inside a helicopter as it approaches downtown San Francisco

Leaders must also have visibility to track how work is progressing, to keep their teams moving forward. While individual contributors each have their own to-dos, account notes, task lists, and so on — all personalized and formatted slightly differently — managers need a way to see if their team as a whole is on track.

With Smartsheet, when individual contributors have their individual plans in sheets, managers can pull information quickly from across multiple sheets into a report, where they can see the specific information they want to see in one place. Managers might use this to track work, hold more efficient status meetings, or share a detailed view of what their teams are working on with their supervisor.


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Satellite View — Where Big Decisions Happen

A space station overlooks planet Earth

Business leaders don’t want to tell teams how to do the work they need to get done, but they want insight into what teams are prioritizing, how that aligns with business goals, and whether everything is on track. What does the budget spend vs. actual look like? Are schedules on track? Will the business hit key milestones and targets?

A roll-up dashboard or suite of dashboards can show business leaders how work is moving forward and how the work being executed fits into their strategy. In Smartsheet, metrics and reports are pulled into dashboards in real time, so executives can see if work is progressing according to plan, or if something is off track, and make decisions accordingly.

Graphic of a Smartsheet dashboard, including charts, on both laptop and mobile

Here’s an example of the power of a dashboard that Dean Vaughn, Vice President of Construction Services for Sodexo, shared at the Smartsheet ENGAGE customer conference.

[I was] sitting in a C-Suite of a very large organization, talking to the CFO. We sat there, I went through [the dashboard], showed him what it was and everything else. [The CFO] goes, “I’ve been here for 13 years and I’ve never seen this kind of information conveyed in one simple location in all my life [...] All I can say is ‘Wow.’” And he clapped his hands.

Having a satellite view of a project — or an entire portfolio — is a powerful tool for business leaders to track the health of the business and quickly make important decisions based on accurate, timely data.

Do You Have the Visibility You Need to Succeed?

No matter what your role in your organization, you need access to real-time information relevant to your work. Without the right view into what’s happening in your business, it’s difficult to push your business to constantly improve. Dashboards are a great way for project managers, people managers, and business leaders of all levels to keep abreast of what’s happening in their business, so they can make the best decisions for their organizations.

To learn more about what Smartsheet dashboards can do for your business, watch the video below.