Need more than just MS Excel and spreadsheets as your business grows? Meet a smart combination of project management software and spreadsheets in a Smartsheet review.
In short: Smartsheet is dynamic project management software aimed to help you transform the way you work for good. But is that ideal as it sounds? Let’s figure out all nuances of this product management solution, and its pros and cons before deciding – move or not to move your data to Smartsheet.
What Is Smartsheet?
Smartsheet combines the functionality of project management software and spreadsheets. It allows businesses of any size to manage numerous projects, improve team collaboration and manage and track all your tasks, review and approve files, and create unique workflows. Besides, it has various integration options making it very flexible in scalability.
How Does Smartsheet Work?
The core of Smartsheet is spreadsheets that contain data about your projects. You can view all the spreadsheets in different modes — Kanban cards, calendar view, or Gantt chart. Plus, you can add the needed information to each spreadsheet, namely its description, assignees, due date, status, and many more. You can also attach files, write comments, or request updates when needed.
Smartsheet is suitable for different purposes, depending on what you and your business need — project management, task-tracking, or team collaboration tool.
Smartsheet Review: Digging in the Feature Set
Smartsheet is one of the most popular, versatile, and feature-rich team collaboration tools that can help you better plan your projects, store your financial and employee data, and many more. Here are some of the most common features of Smartsheet:
Smartsheet uses spreadsheets to plan and manage your projects and tasks. It also offers multiple ready-made templates to easily assign your tasks, set due dates, and configure their dependencies. You can also use Gantt charts to take advantage of the drag-and-drop function.
With Smartsheet, you can customize your dashboard however you like. For instance, you can add widgets or reports, insert text and images, or your metrics to make it convenient for you.
Smartsheet has a unique feature called Workflow to create automations easily. It is a simple formula ‘when X happens, do Y automatically’; however, you can add your settings, too. For example, you can notify a person about an update when you assign a certain status to the task. Smartsheet has the whole interface where you can see all your automation.
With Smartsheet, you can easily create tasks and subtasks, set due dates, and assign them to the right employees. You can do everything, all within your single spreadsheet.
Smartsheet doesn’t have a time tracking feature. However, some of its add-ons, like the 10,000, do have it. And you can easily track time using prefilled timesheets.
Smartsheet is a great team collaboration tool. You can share your spreadsheets with your colleagues and other people with Smartsheet’s account. Besides, you can share the whole sheet and some of its rows, which is extremely useful if you need to share some information with third parties like your clients, contractors, or stakeholders. Besides, you can also add comments to the selected rows and discuss your project.
Except for Gantt charts and spreadsheet views, Smartsheet has calendar mode. It allows you to see your project’s timelines in detail with a months or weeks view.
Smartsheet offers users an intelligent autofill feature that searches for specific patterns in your spreadsheet. When you add the new data, the system automatically fills in the necessary information with the proper formatting. It is best applicable when working with templates that contain some predictable formulas.
With Smartsheet, you can effortlessly set notifications about the deadlines or your upcoming tasks. Besides, these notifications are fully customizable, so you can decide for yourself when and how often such notifications will be sent.
Smartsheet has a variety of templates arranged under different categories like Customers, Marketing, Finance, General Management, HR, IT, and others. You can find templates for numerous unusual occasions like planning a company event, moving your office location, hiring new employees, etc. Besides, if you do not find the appropriate variant, then create a blank spreadsheet and customize it however you like. In Smartsheet, you can also find templates that would help you manage projects better, including:
- Project Budget
- Agile Project with Gantt
- Construction Schedule with Gantt
- Project Launch Plan
- Project with Gantt & Dependencies
- Project with Gantt Timeline
- Project with Resource Management
- Project with Hard Deadline and Gantt
Analytics and Reporting
Smartsheet allows you to easily create custom reports and view all of them in your dashboard. These reports are flexible and you can share them with other team members. You can also create recurring reports to get the needed insights and analytics regularly. You do not need to run a report to each of your spreadsheets and can apply it to multiple ones at once.
Smartsheet Pricing: What Does It Cost?
The pricing system is relatively simple; Smartsheet offers its users four plans with a basic number of features plus some extra ones depending on the price. The company also has some discounts for nonprofits and a free 30-day trial period to test the software out.
|Cost per month||$7 per user||$25 per user||Upon request|
|Features||Unlimited sheets and viewers, up to 10 editors, project views, dashboards & reports, 250 automations/month, integrations, login with Microsoft 365, Google, or Apple ID.||Everything from Pro + unlimited editors, user management, unlimited automations, ability to publish sheets, reports, and dashboards, activity log, and document builder.||Everything from Business + single sign-on, Enterprise Plan Manager, WorkApp, work insights, chargeback reports, DocuSign integration, domain validation, custom email domains.|
Smartsheet Review: What Are Pros and Cons?
Excellent Collaboration Tool: Smartsheet is not a project management solution only; it is excellent collaboration software, too. Your team can work together and share files, tasks, and notes. The project management system allows you to be updated on the progress of each of your projects. Besides, numerous integration options let you customize the collaboration feature by adding or deleting add-ons.
Smart Reporting & Analytics: Smartsheet has excellent reporting and analytics capabilities. You can easily consolidate all the needed information from multiple sheets in one report to find out your weak spots and bottlenecks that need improvement. You can also share the generated reports with the other team members or people outside your company. Using the activity log gives a clear picture of who has accessed your reports and when. Besides, all the reports are updated in real-time. This way, you don’t lose your data in case of any changes.
Advanced Automation: Smartsheet has an excellent automation arsenal for your convenience — various integrations, workflows, connectors, and automation solutions. Besides, setting up automation is very easy because it has a drag-and-drop builder. However, you can customize the automation however you like by adding your logic, triggers, and paths.
Great Functionality: Smartsheet can help manage your resources, digital assets, and portfolio. Thanks to these capabilities, you get numerous helpful features like project budgeting, forecasting, time tracking, project portfolio management, advanced reporting, etc. However, some of these features come as paid add-ons, so you have to invest more money to get extended functionality.
Scalability: Smartsheet is very flexible as you can transform your sheets into anything you need — budget tracking or expense categorization, campaign tracking, or inventory management. There are many ways and almost no limits on how you can use Smartsheet.
Tricky for Newbies: The spreadsheet-based nature of spreadsheets might be a bit difficult for people who do not deal with sheets. That is why there is quite a high learning curve when using this solution for the first time. Moreover, its interface is not that user-friendly either. So, it can be pretty hard to analyze the received data. Besides, to analyze all the data in different rows, you have to run reports. Otherwise, it is too complicated.
Limitations with Activity Log: Smartsheet has a bit limited in functionality activity log compared to other popular project management solutions. Yes, it allows you to see the most common actions like who viewed, when, and a few more actions. But you can’t get a glimpse at the actions since you last logged in.
Not Suitable for Some PM Goals: teams who work using Agile methodology might struggle using this project management solution as it is spreadsheet-based. You can change the view to calendar one or Gantt chart, but this is just conditional formatting.
Expensive Solution: Smartsheet is quite affordable. But this is just from the first glance. Each pricing plan charges per user, so this is quite a big sum of money when calculated together; not to mention costly integrations.
When to Choose Smartsheet: Best Use Cases
Smartsheet can fit businesses of any size and industry. More than 75% of Fortune 500 companies have already employed this solution among numerous project management tools to manage their projects better. So, Smartsheet is extremely helpful for
Project Managers: Organize your projects, collaborate within a team, manage your budgets, and automate your workflows.
IT Teams: Smartsheet allows to improve the organization of the ticket requests, management of resources, tracking of issues, and prioritization of the backlog.
Marketing Teams: Improve the communication of the cross-department needs, better unify the company’s standards and improve visual assets in no time.
Content Teams: Smartsheet helps skyrocket content management and save your time by automating routine work.
Financial Teams: Automate your audit processes, manage your project portfolio, and set and track your strategic initiatives.
Sales Teams: With Smartsheet, you can create sales dashboards to track your budget and expenses, goals, and initiatives.
What Are Smartsheet Add-ons & Integrations?
The project management software comes with about 70 third-party apps and connectors, including well-known brands like Slack, Outlook, G Suite, Zapier, etc. Besides, this project management solution has an open API so that you can update it however you like.
Smartsheet is an optimal variant for
- Resource Management: it has a paid add-on called 10,000ft with help with resource management — better schedule your projects and your tasks to the capacity. It also is used to improve budgeting and time tracking.
- Digital Asset Management: Brandfolder, the tool made by Smartsheet, allows you to manage your digital assets without worrying about anything securely. It allows you to easily search your assets’ metadata using different sorting and filtering criteria.
- Portfolio Management Capabilities: You can easily add Meisterplan to your Smartsheet for efficient project portfolio and resource planning.
Smartsheet Review: Support & Deployment Options
Providing excellent customer support service is vital for Smartsheet. There are several options for how you can reach out to their support reps:
- Phone: to answer your general questions, you can always use a phone. However, phone support is only available for users starting from the Business plan and above.
- Email: for any issue, you might have, you can always use email to get an answer. Besides, you can upload a file to the email to get a more detailed rely.
- Help Center has lots of articles about the benefits of Smartsheet that can help you solve your issues with visuals and detailed instructions.
- In Software contact page and link to the help center that you can use when you face a problem while using an app.
- Forum: you can browse a community forum to find answers to your questions.
- Social Media: Smartsheet is active on such social media as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube, so you can get answers by getting in touch with the company’s reps there.
- Blog, where you can find not only the latest news about the product but many helpful instructions, Smartsheet tips, and expert pieces of advice.
Is Smartsheet Safe?
Smartsheet is a business-ready project management solution, and it employs all the data protection measures to ensure the security of your data. It includes:
- a two-factor authentication process and single sign-on (SSO)
- reliable and secure data centers at Equinix and AWS facilities
- AES 256-bit encryption at rest and TSL technology
- compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, SOC, ISO 27001, FERPA, and ITAR
- annual security assessments by third-parties experts
Does Smartsheet Meet Your Expectations?
All in all, Smartsheet is one of the best project management tools and a great choice for organizations with complex needs across different industries. However, the structure and interface might not be for everyone, especially those who do not like working with sheets and prefer simple analytical software.
Plus, Smartsheet is highly versatile, and its applications go beyond just project management. It can come in handy if you want to improve your budgeting, time tracking, resource, portfolio management, collaboration within a team, and get smart reporting and analytics.
Whether Smartsheet is a fit or a miss for you, use only reliable services to migrate your data to or from Smartsheet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Smartsheet is a more advanced project management solution that is better than Excel in team collaboration, project management, accessibility, visibility, and integrations.
Smartsheet is excellent in project management, time tracking, workflow automation, management of your resources, portfolio, and digital assets.
The Smartsheet cost depends on its features, the more features you need, the more add-ons and integrations you need to buy.
Smartsheet has features that Google Sheets lacks, such as Gantt charts, collaboration features, cross-project resources, etc.
The most popular alternatives for Smartsheet are Asana, project management tools by Monday, and Wrike.
The best Smartsheet features are numerous integrations and Gantt Charts; however, many valuable features exist.
Many businesses can benefit from using Smartsheet — from big corporations to small startups.
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