7 truths that fuel our innovation

by Mark Mader

June 30, 2022

When I talk to customers and hear what is most important to them, the conversation extends well beyond collaboration and the pros, cons, and strategies around remote or hybrid work. They’re also looking to harness and benefit from the accelerating rate of change that is expected by the market, customers, and their employees. Taking full advantage of changes that impact strategy, planning, and execution requires new ways of working and new technology. But not all software, and not all platforms, are created equal. 

Smartsheet was founded on the belief that the way people were working wasn't flexible, fast, or connected enough to meet the needs of modern businesses. So we built a platform for people to manage projects, automate processes, and scale up to enterprise-level programs and portfolios. And, as the largest global provider of work management technology, we are in the best position to enable customers of all sizes for the next decade of growth. 

We power a high growth community of more than 100,000 organizations and over ten million users. We serve customers of all sizes, including the vast majority of the Fortune 500, across virtually all industries and thousands of use cases. We continue to shape our strategy and offerings to ensure customers are best positioned to realize value quickly and across all levels of enterprise maturity.

What we set out to enable with the Smartsheet platform in 2005 has never been more relevant or timely than it is today. This is evidenced by the need for businesses to more rapidly innovate, unlock capacity in their workforce, and bring new products and services to market. 

Here’s what we believe, what the market has validated, what we have built to enable — and what drives our product innovation and evolution to best serve our customers. 

1. The people will choose

People want technology to work the way they want to work. This is increasingly the case with software that is used and primarily managed by business teams. They vote with their usage and adoption of a product. Even at scale and in the most demanding enterprise settings, IT is incorporating user preference into their decision criteria.

Most users don’t think about what category a certain type of technology falls into. While our platform does fit into several market categories (project and portfolio management, collaborative work management, digital asset management, no-code app development), we see most customers asking, “How will this help me? My team? My customers?” They want technology that’s useful and helps them solve their most pressing problems quickly. 

Unlike platforms that are expensive to configure, require scores of people to implement or modify, and require users to follow a prescribed work pattern, we enable customers to rapidly adopt our platform. This makes our platform contextually relevant to how they run projects, collect data, integrate systems, manage digital assets, or review portfolio performance. This is how modern teams actually work. 

Our customers say it best.


G2 “5 stars. User friendly and extremely useful.”


Gartner Peer Insights “Smartsheet is a robust product hidden in what appears to be an Excel lite interface. That almost instant familiarity for staff in our organization seemed to liberate them to experimentation and exploration seldom seen when introducing new products.”


G2 “5 stars. Excellent high-powered tool for complex & dynamic project management”


Gartner Peer Insights “I think it's one of the best products there is. I use it every day all the time. It’s ability to organize and display data has been extremely helpful. The collaboration features help my team organize our projects and data.”


2. Adaptability wins

Today, efficiency is not enough. Organizations must be able to keep pace with rapid change and pivot quickly without losing focus or effectiveness. As customers’ needs change, additional regulations come into play, and new innovations become possible, responsiveness is key. Those who can adapt quickly to these changing conditions and capitalize on opportunities, win. 

People can’t take full advantage of opportunities when they’re confined to a rigid way of working. To stay current and optimized, processes must evolve to meet changing conditions. And for this to occur two things are required. First, the technology used to manage a change or enable a process must be configurable. Solutions must adapt to business requirements.  Second, the people required to perform the change must be available and in a position to move quickly and cost effectively. Yet most tools used to manage work today are limiting. They don’t evolve with the dynamic realities of growing teams, challenges, and opportunities; they’re not flexible; and they often require extensive support from technical resources to implement a solution. 

We provide customers with a flexible platform that enables them to quickly build solutions that solve for their needs, and adapt as those needs change. The many success stories our customers share about quickly bringing new products to market, rapidly responding to crises, and pivoting to stay relevant to their customers, demonstrate how directly tied the ability to adapt is to the ability to deliver significant business results.

“Smartsheet’s flexibility was such a winning point that we decided to use it. We can now make modifications without having to reach for a consultant every time, and that’s important to us” -Oerlikon IT Solutions


3. Collaboration should be friction-free

Increasingly, internal teams, partners, suppliers, and contractors must work together. People who need to work with a large, diverse group of people and across corporate boundaries, often face a ‘collaboration tax’. Because of licensing constraints that require most viewers and contributors to have a paid license, people are often not able to use the best tool for the job when managing projects, programs, or processes.  

Smartsheet breaks that mold and enables anyone to collaborate “tax-free” within their departments, across functional teams, or engage directly with customers, partners, and vendors — whether or not they are licensed. Our customers have the flexibility to control what users can do and see, providing a secure way to scale collaboration.

"This enhanced collaboration has the potential to make Sagent the preferred partner of contract research organizations” - Sagent


4. Visibility is key for managing the work — and for making informed decisions quickly 

Teams managing projects or project portfolios often lack a single source of truth on which they can rely. When information is siloed in an organization, it’s cumbersome to accurately communicate a strategy, progress, or outcomes of projects. 

Our approach is to integrate multiple data sources to provide accurate insights that business leaders can trust for dynamic decision making on projects, resources, and dependencies. This provides our customers with universal reporting and real-time dashboards so they can easily access and present information in a cohesive manner. 

Access to real-time data enables quick, informed decision-making and the ability to course-correct when needed. This visibility also enables project and portfolio managers to communicate the effectiveness of their projects and their success metrics across their organization. They’re able to show how their work supports organizational goals and, ultimately, the success of the business.

"There is a transparency that we’ve never seen before. People are able to share and see information in ways they never envisioned or imagined before. People are working in real time on three continents; they never could have done that before.” - Syngenta North America


5. Scale must encompass the simple and the sophisticated 

The work that needs to scale ranges from simple to sophisticated. Simple scale might consist of 10,000 people managing shared task lists. A more sophisticated example of scale may be simultaneously and consistently applying changes to the project plans, dependencies, and roll-up reporting for a multi-site data center construction program. While both are examples of scale in an enterprise, the latter carries far greater value density — the kind of value that is much easier to justify putting investment behind. 

Scale is more than building for high volume, though that’s a critical component. It’s about the ability to start at any scale and grow. It’s about connectivity to other systems so that you're not creating conflicting systems of record. It’s about the ability for teams to identify best practices and then to build those into each project or process.

Whether you’re building data centers, rockets, installing million-dollar imaging machines, or a services business providing a great onboarding experience for every new client, consistency is essential at any scale.

Many tools are good at scaling simple things. Some tools are good at scaling sophisticated workflows. Few do both well. Our approach of letting our customers start where they are and grow from there, requires us to be excellent at helping them scale the simple and the sophisticated. 

"we could do it all from a single workflow solution, a single system of record, we could eliminate a lot of those inefficiencies, communication issues and stress that the team was feeling." - Uber


6. Siloed data isn’t worthless, but it is worth less

Platforms that help you manage projects, programs, and processes should not create additional silos. They should fit elegantly into your existing tech stack and integrate beautifully with the other tools that are essential to your business. And they should do this without requiring significant support from IT.

Our approach is to integrate with the software you’re already using: Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Salesforce, Jira, ServiceNow, Slack, Adobe Creative Cloud, DocuSign, Figma, Okta, and Tableau — to name just a handful.

In addition to these integrations, we make it possible for our customers to connect data and automate their existing processes across multiple systems, increasing accuracy and efficiency.  This enables our customers to connect their cloud and on-premise systems to Smartsheet with speed and reliability.

We also see our customers get an outsize benefit from the combined capabilities of Smartsheet’s platform. Project management, resource management, digital asset management, marketing analytics tools, and proofing, combined with our customers’ existing tech stack, provides them with a unique solution no other vendor provides.

"Smartsheet has offered us the ability to integrate other platforms, information flows, and workflows that our existing solutions were not able to meet" - Roche Diagnostics


7.  All customers deserve —  and should expect — security and governance that meets their needs now and in the future

Our approach from the beginning has been that security and data integrity must be fundamental building blocks, not an afterthought. Strict data security, encryption, management, and redundancy are foundational to our approach to protecting customer data. And we’re not just solving for the security challenges of today; we’re architected to rapidly solve for the ever-evolving requirements of the most demanding and regulated industries.

We’ve built and are continuously refining advanced governance and security controls for customers who need additional protection while running their business on Smartsheet. Administrators must be able to control permissions at a global level, establish user auto-provisioning, add additional layers of encryption, access event reporting, and more. These capabilities are fundamental to large enterprises, and increasingly, companies of all sizes are asking how they can make a decision today that will meet their future needs.  

We’re always thinking about ways that our customers can unlock the full potential of the platform, whether they’re just getting started, or manage a variety of programs with broad reach across their enterprise, like Cisco

At the end of the day, it’s about results

Our customers have ambitious goals. They have business challenges and they need solutions. And they have increasingly more choices when it comes to technology. But our customers are savvy. They aren’t looking at how many features we can list or what market category we’re in. They care about how we help them deliver on promises, solve problems in innovative ways, and earn and maintain customer trust. They’re looking for a platform that will help them unlock the potential of their teams and achieve better results than they ever thought possible.

These results aren’t just hours saved through faster processes. Smartsheet helps customers drive tangible results: A major fast-food retailer opening stores ahead of schedule. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab building the Mars Perseverance rover. The U.S. City of Southlake saving lives by cutting emergency response times in half. Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena successfully achieving the status of the world’s first net-zero carbon arena. Not to mention costs reduced, revenue increased, and happy customers.

These are just a few of the phenomenal success stories we’ve heard from our customers — and together, we’re just getting started. 


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