8x8 supports fast-growing cloud offerings with a scalable, reliable platform
Smartsheet gives 8x8 a reliable, scalable foundation for growth and expansion of its cloud offerings, with features that are easy to use and build on.
"We are conducting an ROI deep dive to see the benefits we’ve gained with the automation we have rolled out... On the project management side, just by incorporating the dashboards, we’ve gained about 10% efficiency on collecting and displaying the weekly reports and status updates that the PMs would normally do. On our builds, we’re estimating a 15% increase and basically reduction in the hours that we were spending on our jobs from automating the handoff to our offshore team."
Senior Manager of Central Delivery for Professional Services, 8x8
Cloud provider 8x8 needs to build its business of connecting organizations with their people and customers on the most reliable and scalable technologies and processes possible. Smartsheet helps 8x8 support its business expansion with a mature, dependable collaboration and project management infrastructure that can scale rapidly to allow efficient, strategic growth.
“As our customer size and the complexity in our projects increased, we knew we needed to bring in a tool to be able to share information with customers and interact with them outside of our firewalls,” says Brian Myers, senior manager of central delivery for Professional Services at 8x8. “One of the reasons we selected Smartsheet was that we could create a separate collaboration environment just for customers. But it also gave us a tool for scheduling and overall project management. And it’s helped us improve our processes as well.”
Over more than three decades, 8x8 has grown from a startup to a global cloud provider with more than 1,600 employees and plans to accelerate its growth in the next few years. That places demands not just on product offerings but on the infrastructure that powers company processes from IT to product development to HR. That growth prompted Myers and his colleagues to look for a platform to manage internal communications and planning that would be easy to learn, easy to use, and easy on the budget.
“For our team, it’s all around scalability,” Myers says. “As our portfolio continues to grow, it doesn’t mean you can always increase your headcount to keep up with your demand. So we’re taking a hard look at how to maximize effectiveness with our team.”
Smartsheet gives 8x8 a platform for collaboration and communication with clients, project management, and process analysis and improvement.
A platform that scales to meet tremendous demands
Large global enterprises, as well as small and medium-sized businesses, rely on 8x8 for seamless, dependable services including unified communications, contact center as a service (CCaaS), and the ability to seamlessly connect internal systems with popular messaging and mobile apps in order to engage customers in the ways they prefer. Being able to meet usage demands and maintain reliability is more than a matter of trust; it’s crucial to their operations. 8x8 demands the same reliability from its technology partners, which is why Alban Penot, senior director of the Technical Center of Excellence at 8x8, was pleased to learn that Smartsheet is partnering with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support its cloud computing infrastructure and software as a service (SaaS).
“8x8 is in the scaling business,” Penot says. “We need to be able to tell our large customers that if they want to add 20,000 or 100,000 more licenses, we are capable of sourcing that right away. Infrastructure is very important when we go into our process for our next vendor; they need to have a strategy to scale. AWS is a very strong partner and a trusted advisor for Smartsheet, and that puts our minds at ease.”
Saving time and creating higher value with automation
The automation features in Smartsheet have driven tremendous efficiency gains for 8x8, saving time and effort on repetitive manual processes. One example is the process of sending a customer build to an offshore development team. By setting up the project requirements in Smartsheet and sharing it with just a few clicks, Penot and his team can maintain clear visibility into every stage of the work, regardless of location.
“I love the automated reminders because my PMs do not need to chase people,” Penot says. “That is really freeing up time for the PM to work more across departments and to exchange ideas on how to improve automation. That’s really helpful for them to get more exposure within the corporation. We often forget that building a relationship with all this technology enables them to relate in a different way, to connect more and expand their web of influence. Their branding is our team branding.”
Dashboards enable clear reporting and tracking for both clients and company leadership. Client engagements are managed through a Smartsheet-based collaborative workspace, easily accessed via a dashboard that collects all necessary information in a unified view. 8x8 project managers can capture insights about clients’ usage of the space to understand how information is getting through and what features might be most effective for particular users.
“When we’re talking directly to the C-level, they always want to very rapidly understand why, when, and how much,” Penot says. “There is great visibility among our leadership into how Smartsheet helps us instill more process sanity within our evolving protocol. They’re happy to understand what are the capabilities, what’s next, and what we can automate. Because the more we automate, the more we can put resources into the things that are less repeatable and more customized, with a higher margin.”
Myers and his team also save time by using the Smartsheet mobile app to flexibly manage their projects. He says it’s a powerful feature that sets the platform apart from other systems.
“It’s all-around mobility. The Smartsheet app works,” Myers says. “I use it all the time; my team uses it all the time. That’s very powerful because a lot of PM tools and software, their mobile apps are terrible. With the Smartsheet mobile app, I can actually do my job while I’m sitting on the plane; I can do a quick couple of updates via my phone, versus having to go into my bag for my laptop. That is time that’s productive, not wasted.”
A host of versatile, easy-to-learn features and connectors
In addition to the mobile app, 8x8 uses Smartsheet DataMesh to aggregate information that’s scattered across multiple sheets, as well as the Jira Connector to integrate the company’s ticketing system. Plans are underway to implement Control Center and the Salesforce Connector for even greater process integration. Penot likes the fact that Smartsheet is quick to implement and easy to build on, with tremendous capabilities to leverage as an organization identifies more problems it can help solve.
“You don’t have to invest a lot to get started, but once you start, you want a little more, and there are packages that enable you to do that,” Penot says. “We want to scale and automate to evolve according to our global footprint, to the way that the teams are configured and their KPIs and what they need to achieve. What I like about Smartsheet is that each time I talk to our Smartsheet representative, he always says ‘Here’s how you can do it already,’ or ‘You need a different package, let’s have our expert come in to explain it.’ There’s always an answer to that need; it’s not just in the roadmap. So it’s very credible and scalable for us.”