7 key findings from the Forrester Consulting study on the economic impact of Smartsheet

by Reanna Zuniga

Sometimes work gets in the way of doing work. Information gets siloed. You have to track down people to get approvals. The programs and tools that are supposed to help you only serve one aspect of your job. The list could go on and on.

At the heart of it all is one truth—it’s hard to build processes and systems that support an entire organization when everyone works differently. A lot of our customers dealt with these same issues before using Smartsheet. Even though they had tools in place to help their teams, the programs couldn’t grow with the companies as their needs changed.

Smartsheet was a game changer for them because it gave both individuals and teams the power to build solutions that worked exactly the way they wanted. It made it harder to silo important information because teams had visibility when they needed it. Not only could they access reports and real-time data, they were able to build custom solutions without outsourcing or having to know code.

The switch from ad hoc workflows to using Smartsheet comes with many benefits. Some are obvious: time savings, efficiency, transparency. Some are less so: the economic impact. How quickly can a company see a return on their investment? And what about the ever-important bottom line?

We commissioned Forrester Consulting to dig into the details and answer these questions. Here’s what they discovered.

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About the study

To understand and calculate the Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) of using Smartsheet, Forrester Consulting conducted in-depth interviews with decision makers across nine organizations currently using the platform. Based on the interviews, they created a composite organization that represented each of the company's findings.

The companies interviewed shared these three pain points:

  • Inconsistent work execution that relied on static, out-of-date spreadsheets and manual processes
  • Different teams used different tools to get work done, which meant no single source of truth for projects and strategic initiatives
  • Leadership teams lacked visibility into work and often needed to reach out to project or team leads for updates

The results of the study

Forrester Consulting found that a composite organization saw $16.3 million in net present value over a three-year modeled period. In that same time frame, Smartsheet delivered a 680% return on investment with the initial investment paid back in less than 6 months.

Smartsheet's ability to deliver such significant results for our customers is detailed in the full study, but we’re breaking down the findings here.

Smartsheet frees up employees to focus on strategic work

They found that employees using Smartsheet freed up the time they’d previously spent tracking down people and information, which allowed them to focus on higher-value and greater impact work. With more productive employees, the companies were able to hit their goals even faster and unlock greater savings.

Reduced time spent on project, portfolio, and program set up by 80%
Project management teams were enabled to templatize and automate repetitive tasks like setting up projects and approvals, which reduced the number of manual steps they had to go through. This freed up 80% of their time during the setup portion of these workflows. Another benefit of making an easily repeatable process was a more consistent experience for their clients.

75% less work management-related emails
Teams also had instant visibility into project statuses thanks to Smartsheet tracking everything in real time. Executives and other stakeholders didn’t have to request information and wait on responses, instead they could log into Smartsheet and find exactly what they were looking for. This reduced work management-related emails by 75%.

Review cycles were cut in half
The additional visibility also cut the amount of time spent on review cycles by 50% and reduced the number of project review meetings required for each project. Forrester Consulting calculated that the combination of reduced project management emails and time spent on project setup resulted in productivity gains of $6.1 million over a three-year modeled period.

Saved 40+ hours per employee every year
Smartsheet improved managed resource utilization by 2%, saving more than 40 hours per employee annually. Even team members who didn't interact with Smartsheet as heavily still benefited from their teams using the platform, leading to $7.5 million in savings over three years.

Smartsheet increases revenue delivery and reduces the cost of IT

They found that Smartsheet allowed the companies to scale back their budget in other programs, build the solutions they needed in house and increase their revenue delivery.

$1.5M in professional services and revenue growth
By automating administrative and repetitive tasks and increasing focus on higher-value work, teams could deliver projects faster. This efficiency helped drive annual revenue growth for the companies and totaled more than $1.5 million for the composite organization over three years.

$1.1M saved in software licenses
Forrester Consulting found that the companies saved $1.1 million over three years because they were able to scale back their investments in guest licenses for legacy CRM, ERP or other project management tools.

$996K saved in development costs
Smartsheet’s no-code offerings made it possible for the companies to build out their own applications and workflows in less time and at lower cost than developing a solution from scratch or third-party. The total savings for the composite organization were calculated to be nearly $996 thousand over the three-year period.

About the methodology

Taking a multistep approach, Forrester constructed a Total Economic Impact™ framework that identified the cost, benefit, flexibility and risk factors that affect investment decisions. Based on the interviews, Forrester constructed a TEI framework, a composite organization, and an ROI analysis. The composite organization is representative of the nine decision-makers that Forrester interviewed and is used to present the aggregate financial analysis. The full study has a detailed description of the composite organization’s characteristics.

“Yes, you’re buying an IT tool, but you’re also buying much more than that. You’re buying a fundamentally new way of working and thinking that can be very powerful. I’ve talked to users, and they have described how they are solving problems they didn’t even know existed.”

— Head of health, safety and environment, agrichemical, The Total Economic Impact™ of Smartsheet

The shift to digital work environments exacerbated the need for organizational alignment. We witnessed firsthand how fast the world can change at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and how the companies that adapted quickly were much better off.

Siloes don’t cut it anymore. The traditional way of working that was fixed and linear has now evolved to be multi-directional, easily automated and adaptable. And when employees have the tools to be dynamic in their work, they’re happier with their jobs. Smartsheet makes it easier to work together as a team by breaking down the barriers that make collaboration hard. It unifies people with processes that work for them and empowers them to have the information they need.

For the complete results and methodology, download the full Total Economic Impact™ of Smartsheet study. 

Download the study Try Smartsheet for free