How to launch a new line of business with scalability and speed

by Alison Clancy

Editor’s note: In 2020, we launched a new program for our most passionate Smartsheet ambassadors: the Smartsheet Overachievers. This elite group of customers aren’t just product experts; they are innovators, changemakers, and the ultimate Can-Doers. This is the seventh in a series of blog posts introducing you to our inaugural cohort of Overachievers as they share their Smartsheet wins, challenges, and tips.

When you first meet Tana Perkins, senior director of mobile product delivery at Charter Communications, it becomes clear what she’s passionate about: collaboration.

“Smartsheet enables me to partner across teams without a development team to back me up,” she says. “As a user, I create the solutions I need and enable others to do so. Spreading that knowledge is really exciting. As a leader, I use the invaluable solutions my team creates.”

And she means it. In addition to working under the Spectrum brand and serving broadband connectivity to more than 30 million customers in 41 states, Tana is the internal Smartsheet product owner and her team is responsible for System Administration across the enterprise.

Her major goal for the year? To deliver new mobile products with the three s’s: simplicity, speed, and scale. She does it with another big s: Smartsheet.

Mobile portfolio hub dashboard

Finding her way back to Smartsheet

Needless to say that it wasn’t exactly love at first sight between Tana and Smartsheet back in 2014. “I didn’t think it was scalable or had the core functionality I had grown to expect of Microsoft Project,” Tana shared.

But fast forward a couple years to 2016, where Tana found herself at Charter Communications, entrusted with launching a brand new line of business for the company. To get it out the door alone, the new line would require 98 separate projects. Microsoft Project was not going to cut it.

“I needed a tool that featured a low-barrier to entry, something that could get off the ground quickly, and it needed to scale,” she explains. “When I gave Smartsheet another look, it was a match. After buying three licenses on a business plan, suddenly I had full visibility across the company. This line of business touched every cross-functional team across the enterprise.”

“You realize very quickly how powerful this platform is.”

To learn as much as she could, Tana says she used Smartsheet as much as possible, watched videos on YouTube, leveraged the Smartsheet Community, and leaned on her customer success manager. “You just need to be courageous. If you can dream it, you can build it,” she says.

Tana performs an acrobatic stunt

The results of the big launch

The new line of business was launched, and Smartsheet served as Tana’s foundation, as it allowed her to create project schedules, report to executives, and develop internal dashboards. The team rolled out the new line of business across 41 states, building a path to sell mobile devices and service.

“Charter went from being a cable company to a mobile operator seemingly overnight,” Tana says. “We did it our way and we did it fast.”

The feedback from her executives? The team achieved the impossible.

As a result of this major success, Smartsheet is now used across the enterprise. Recent projects include transitioning to a new billing system and supporting the chief mobile officer’s big bets.

“We’ve been told that we regularly exercise the limits of Smartsheet,” Tana explains. “That’s what the platform is about though, flexible and capable of anything. In the limits of the tool, is where the magic really happens.”

“No matter the challenge, I can find a way to do it better with Smartsheet.”


Tana sits on a stoop with her two children and a dog

Connecting with others through community

The biggest piece of advice Tana has for new Smartsheet users? You’re not alone.

“The unique thing about Smartsheet is that there’s a built-in community. It’s a group, whether you’re talking about the employees or the customers. We all share the same goal of finding a better way. This army of people is willing to help with any questions, whether you put something on the Smartsheet Community or LinkedIn.”

Outside of launching new lines of business and being a Smartsheet Overachiever, Tana loves spending time outdoors with her family. This year, they are giving gardening a go, with more thriving than dying. You can catch her snowboarding, on the Peloton, paddleboarding, camping, or sometimes even plotting a practical joke or two.

Learn more about Smartsheet Overachievers and get involved in the Smartsheet Community.