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Reflections on 2017 - Another Year of Practical Innovation

by Mark Mader

For business leaders and knowledge workers, 2017 proved once again that the nature of work has fundamentally changed. With an ever-increasing velocity and variety of information threatening to inundate teams and organizations, companies —  hungry to stay competitive in increasingly crowded and fast-moving markets — recognized that they must find ways to effectively execute work across teams, which grow more multi-disciplinary and geographically distributed by the day. 

The need for a better way to execute work is real and immediate. Without it, workers will remain frustrated and businesses will continue to waste money on inefficient and ineffective processes. It is imperative that organizations seeking to stay competitive figure out how to manage a larger volume of work, coming at a greater and greater velocity, and from a wider variety of sources.  

It was against this background that Smartsheet continued to deliver on our founding vision of enabling people, teams, and their companies to achieve more by offering a work execution platform that dramatically enhances the way in which they work each and every day.

The long-held Smartsheet philosophy of “practical innovation” was on display in 2017. What do I mean by “practical innovation”?  It begins by recognizing and valuing the similarities — not differences — between people and organizations. It targets the common work challenges faced by us all, rather than creating solutions that cater to the chosen few in lucrative, yet narrow markets. Practical innovation doesn’t just solve for what software can do.  It takes into consideration the ease with which it is configured (the ‘how’) and the skills required to make it so (the ‘by whom’).  Practical innovation results in solving for all, irrespective of their technical prowess. 

The fact is, while people and organizations work in radically different ways, and across a broad range of fronts, the majority of knowledge workers share common needs. Those needs — tools that help people and organizations more effectively plan, capture, track, manage, and automate today’s work — are what Smartsheet solves for.

Brief Highlights of 2017

2017 was an exciting and rewarding year for all of us at Smartsheet. A highlight was our inaugural global customer conference, Smartsheet ENGAGE’17, which provided over 1,000 members of the Smartsheet community an opportunity to share stories and best practices, learn from experts and from each other, and innovate on future features. 

The energy at ENGAGE was off the charts — unlike anything I’ve experienced. I remain charged by the customer stories shared at the event and by the enthusiasm that those of you who attended brought to the conference. (Interested in attending ENGAGE’18, October 1-4 in Bellevue, WA?  Last year’s conference sold out more than a month in advance, so sign up here to get the early registration details.) 

Another highlight of the year was the steady drum beat of high-value product innovations we introduced throughout 2017. While maintaining our focus on the importance of creating a work execution platform that delivers value for the maximum number of knowledge workers in the maximum number of scenarios, we added key new capabilities to help you and your teams most effectively translate your ideas into impact.

  • Automated Actions empower you to eliminate routine tasks and create more time for high value work.
  • Activity Log enhances visibility and accountability by giving you one place to see who has viewed or changed a sheet, report, or Sight™, and when.
  • Our integration with Microsoft Teams helps your teams turn conversations into action.
  • Smart notifications keep you in the know by sending alerts when specific changes occur.
  • Our integration with Microsoft Skype for Business Online enables your teams to keep track of all the info related to a project in one place for easy access and follow-up.
  • Notification center displays all of your notifications, alerts, and update requests in one place in the Smartsheet app, so you can stay on top of your work.
  • An all-new mobile app for Android and iOS with a new home screen, mobile push notifications, and re-imagined Sights™ helps you and your team get more done on the go.
  • An enhanced Smartsheet Control Center gives your organization the ability to balance flexibility with consistency and replace manual reporting with automated portfolio reporting.

Practical Innovation Fueled Rapid Growth in 2017

This past year was another year of rapid growth and industry recognition for Smartsheet. We were proud to be named one of the world’s most important cloud businesses by Forbes for the second year in a row, and earned a spot on Deloitte’s Fast 500 list for the third year running. Strong growth continues to fuel our investments in product innovation, infrastructure, and services.
In 2018 we’ll continue to deliver innovations that empower you to execute to an even higher level. But we can’t do it without you. Your support is what makes us successful. Your feedback — positive and negative — pushes us to create an exceptional product as well as service experiences that work for you. Thank you for being our customers, and our partners. We look forward to the opportunity to help you accelerate innovation and significantly impact your business in 2018.