top of page
  • Writer's pictureAndrew Rustemeyer

Navigating the Smartsheet Seas: A Solution Admin’s Practical Guide to Smartsheet: Part 1

Updated: Nov 20



In the dynamic world of project management and collaboration, Smartsheet stands out as a powerful tool that empowers teams to streamline their workflows and achieve unprecedented efficiency. However, every silver lining has its cloud, and for Solution Administrators (Solution Admins), mastering Smartsheet comes with its unique set of challenges.


What is a Solution Admin? In Smartsheet there are people that are responsible for managing Smartsheet licenses, security, and other platform wide settings - these are SYSTEM Administrators. I’m talking about SOLUTION Administrators. Solution Admins are folks that are entrusted with managing and improving a set of Sheets, Reports, Dashboards, and other premium capabilities (a Smartsheet solution) that are designed for specific processes or portfolios of work. To achieve Operational Excellence with Smartsheet, there are 5 key areas Solution Admins need to master: Onboarding new users to Smartsheet, ensuring those users have access to the right assets and data, managing feedback from users on the solution, making changes to the solution, and scaling a solution in relation to the organizations needs.



Solution Admins play a critical role in the ongoing success and adoption of Smartsheet driven process changes. Simply put - the long-term benefits the company invested in with a Smartsheet solution will be reduced to a ‘flash in the pan’ and a water cooler story without Solution Admins there to drive towards operational excellence.


The team at SoftwareX recently took the time to reflect on the Solution Admins we've guided through solution launch and production support over the years. Drawing on our experience of over a combined 30+ years and having launched over 1000 Smartsheet solutions, we have identified key patterns and distilled the crucial things you need to know in order to step into the Smartsheet Solution Admin role with confidence. In this blog series, I’ll delve into the top hurdles Solution Admins face with Smartsheet and explore effective solutions to conquer them.

 

Part 1: Top 5 Challenges Solution Admin’s Face

Before we can reach that level of operational excellence we first must identify our blockers that will come our way once a Smartsheet solution is live and implemented. Through our research we have found 5 general themes of challenges that Solution Admins face when managing a Smartsheet solution:


1. Onboarding Users to a Smartsheet Solution


Challenge: The initial onboarding process can be a maze for both new and existing team members.


The initial onboarding process can be a maze for both new and existing team members. Solution Admins are responsible for ensuring new solution users, whether they are joining from another team or as a new hire, have access to the knowledge base of the overall solution and understand the impact it drives for the business. It is equally important that new users understand their level of involvement, why their contribution is valuable, and how their inputs affect processes and workflows within the solution. Without an effective onboarding process and supporting content, Solution Admins run the risk of new user adoption, ultimately decreasing value for all users involved over time.


2. Access/User Management of a Smartsheet Solution


Challenge: Maintaining secure and efficient user access while avoiding information overload.


The first step to ensure sufficient usage of Smartsheet is to onboard users. Once onboarded, the next step is to provide them access to sheets, reports, dashboards, workspaces, or premium apps involved in the solution architecture. Solution Admins are responsible for designing Smartsheet environments that are efficient for reporting and considerate of permissions, ensuring that users have access to the information they need and don't have access to any privileged information. If an effective workspace setup, group management system, or permissions and sharing plan is not in place, Solution Admins run the risk of inheriting a tedious and time-consuming task of manually granting permissions every time a new user needs to onboard to their Smartsheet solution.


3. Managing Feedback on a Smartsheet Solution


Challenge: Collating and addressing feedback from multiple stakeholders can become a cumbersome task.


As with most software applications, a Smartsheet solution is likely to receive feedback, change requests, or ideas for improvements. Therefore, it is essential for a Solution Admin to anticipate and be prepared for such requests. Without a system in place to centralize, review, prioritize, and address feedback from multiple stakeholders, collating and responding to the requests can become a cumbersome, fatiguing, and overwhelming task. Therefore, it is crucial to have a mechanism to manage and address the feedback efficiently to keep the end-users engaged and productive.


4. Releasing Enhancements to a Smartsheet Solution


Challenge: Rolling out updates and enhancements without disrupting ongoing projects.


As with most software applications, a Smartsheet solution is likely to receive feedback, change requests, or ideas for improvements. Therefore, it is essential for a Solution Admin to anticipate and be prepared for such requests. Without a system in place to centralize, review, prioritize, and address feedback from multiple stakeholders, collating and responding to the requests can become a cumbersome, fatiguing, and overwhelming task. Therefore, it is crucial to have a mechanism to manage and address the feedback efficiently to keep the end-users engaged and productive.


5. Scaling a Smartsheet Solution


Challenge: As your organization grows, scaling your Smartsheet solution can pose scalability challenges.


As an organization undergoes changes or growth, and Solution Admins enhance their skill set in Smartsheet capabilities, new opportunities arise to completely transform organizations with Smartsheet. These opportunities may include extending current capabilities to new users or teams, expanding the data set in an existing solution, or building new solutions entirely. However, scaling a solution comes with its own set of challenges, and Solution Admins need to take into account various factors such as new user segments, product updates, and product limitations to ensure that the vision for a new solution is valuable and scalable for the long term.



In Conclusion


These challenges can pose serious blockers and cause numerous headaches on your journey to operational excellence. The Good news is, while managing a Smartsheet solution comes with its share of challenges, addressing these hurdles head-on can transform them into opportunities for growth and efficiency. In Part 2 of the series, we will be sharing actionable solutions to help face these challenges and propel you to your goals.


If you are a solution admin, tell us what the biggest challenge is you faced after launching your Smartsheet solution!

bottom of page