A Full Smartsheet Review with Test Findings in 2023 – Pricing, Features, and More
For this Smartsheet review, we will put the popular cloud-based project and portfolio management tool to the test to see how it performs. Does it live up to all its promises of increased productivity with streamlined workflows?
Our team has thoroughly tested Smartsheet and similar PPM tools to compile this extensive guide covering its features, pricing, and competitor comparison to help you get the most out of this versatile platform.
Whether you’re a small team or a large organization, we’ve got you covered for all your project management needs with this Smartsheet review!
Key Smartsheet Pros and Cons
The thorough testing of Smartsheet platform and analysis of user reviews revealed severals benefits and drawbacks of the tool:
- Familiar spreadsheet-like interface
- Customizable sheets with formulas and widgets
- Efficient workflow automation and collaboration
- Secure and compliant with industry regulations
- Real-time reporting for visibility
- Deep learning curve for new users
- Limited features in the Smartsheet free version
- Lacks critical integrations for multinationals unlike Monday.com or Asana
What is Smartsheet?
In today’s fast-paced work environment, managing multiple projects without a robust project management software is a nightmare.
Enter Smartsheet. A dynamic, flexible, secure, and highly customizable enterprise work management tool.
This customizable PPM tool can be tailored based on organizational structure and use cases, catering to businesses of all sizes from small startups to multinational corporations.
However, bigger organizations might face some difficulties while managing larger, complex projects given that Smartsheets lacks some critical integrations like Figma and Zoom offered by Monday.com and Asana.
That is not to say that it is a siloed tool. You can still integrate it with many other project tools including Jira, Miro, Dropbox, and Slack to ensure seamless operations.
Whether you need streamlined project management, efficient task tracking, collaborative work allocation, or data analysis, Smartsheet’s integrated environment supports you in achieving business success in the most efficient way possible.
Behind-the-Scenes: How Does Smartsheet Work?
On the surface, Smartsheet might look like a simple spreadsheet. But it’s actually designed to simplify work by automating complex project management workflows and streamlining operational processes.
Smartsheet’s collaborative platform is specially designed for teams to work together.
With its intuitive interface and drag-and-drop functionality, Smartsheet supports real-time collaboration by making it easy to create custom projects, assign and organize tasks, track progress, visualize data, and discuss progress with team members remotely.
All this is possible while ensuring enterprise-grade security, with measures like two-factor authentication and Single Sign-On!
The platform also understands that no two projects are the same. It offers a plethora of customizable templates, allowing you to tailor your workspace to fit the unique needs of your project.
But that’s not all. Smartsheet enhances project tracking with real-time insights and heightened visibility into progress, displayed in your preferred format. Detailed Gantt charts and data visualizations, like Hype Cycle trends, empower you to make effective decisions by keeping an eye on what truly matters.
What is Smartsheet Used for?
According to a survey, inadequate communication between employees in a company can cause an average loss of $62.4 million per year.
To prevent this significant financial loss, Smartsheet is ideal for remote or hybrid work models, supporting effective communication, collaboration, and scalable processes.
While using this tool, we have discovered that it serves a range of business use cases. Some common Smartsheet use cases are as follows:
- Project Planning: Plan and track projects with Gantt, Kanban, Card, or Grid views to easily monitor critical dependencies and variance
- Resource Management: Supported by AI resource manager, allocate resources across projects to optimize workload and maximize productivity.
- Task Tracking: Generate real-time dashboards and reports in a centralized platform, providing stakeholders visibility into key project metrics.
- Workflow Automation: efficiently schedule tasks into recurring or condition-based smart workflows and generate automated alerts to keep stakeholders informed.
- Data visualization: Automatically generate and customize charts to visualize historical data and trends, enabling informed decision-making.
These are some key use cases of Smartsheets, but there are many more that this flexible tool may serve.
How Much Does Smartsheet Cost?
Smartsheet offers four pricing plans based on the number of users or editors, features, functions, and project-specific needs and requirements. These are as follows:
For beginners, this Free Plan serves a single user who can add up to two editors or viewers on a single account. Users can create up to 2 sheets and unlimited dashboards and reports, with 500 MB of attachment storage.
It also offers integrations with popular tools like Microsoft 365, Google Workplace, and Slack, Additionally, users can design web forms to collect data and automate up to 100 repetitive tasks.
As the entry-level paid subscription, the Pro Plan is designed for small teams dealing with complex projects. In addition to the offerings of the Free Plan, this plan supports 10 editors with unlimited access to sheets, viewers, dashboards, reports, and forms.
Additionally, subscribers gain access to a broader array of integrations with 20 GB of attachment storage and allowance of 250 automations per month.
The Business plan caters to larger teams seeking comprehensive project management with an unlimited number of editors and automations allowed, supported by 1 TB of attachment storage.
Aside from what you get with the Pro Plan, the Business one offers robust features such as Single Sign-On and activity log ideal for organizational security as well as integration with Resource Management by Smartsheet for better project resource allocation.
Moreover, this plan boosts collaboration and reporting by integrating with visualization tools like Tableau and Power BI for enhanced functionality.
Smartsheet’s Enterprise subscription is the most premium offering, catering to global enterprises dealing with complex projects and strict security needs. Custom pricing quotes are given based on the unique requirements of your business.
Building upon the Business features, this plan offers enterprise-grade security and governance, smart workflows, CRM integrations, and heightened security and visibility.
The plan, although pricier, has no cancellation refund as it does not lock you down into a contract. Teams looking for a flexible project management software serving larger organizations will be in for a treat.
A Look at Smartsheet’s Top Features
After a thorough testing of the platform, we are pleased to present several core features of Smartsheet that are critical for efficient project management. These key Smartsheet features are as follows:
You can save time and manual effort by using no-code automated workflow management in Smartsheet. Choose an optimized pre-built template for tasks like status requests and due date reminders. Or build your custom workflows designed to provide you results exactly the way you like it.
On top of that, you can build both one-time and recurring workflows with multiple actions and conditional paths. Do all this with reduced approval cycles without the long email chains for managing, updating, and approving user requests.
When testing this feature, we liked automated alerts the best; it ensured that users were notified on time about project updates or approval requests on email, apps, or integrated messengers like Slack. So, constant project check-ins are no longer needed with better workload management.
Gantt charts are another robust feature of Smartsheet, helping project managers track tasks, milestones, and project timelines. It displays in a timeline format and showcases crucial details such as project timeline, duration, and task dependencies.
Moreover, its drag-and-drop functionality simplifies the creation of task dependencies, adapts automatically, and adjusts timelines whenever there are changes in task dates and dependencies.
You can also use it to establish baselines to track variance and highlight main deliverables on the Critical Path, enabling visual tracking of task duration and relationships. Be sure to benefit from Smartsheet integration with the Google Calendar to easily track project milestones.
Another popular feature in Smartsheet is the dashboards that are custom designed using widgets to display sheets, reports, charts, forms, and external data from integrated data sources like Google Docs or Power BI.
Without granting access to the entire platform, you can even create and showcase certain dashboards to limited internal or external audiences. This offers real-time project visibility to empower stakeholders to make better decisions.
What we liked best was that these interactive, custom-built dashboards truly allowed teams from all parts of an organization to manage their projects in their own way without any roadblocks.
Customer Relationship Management
You can use Smartsheet as a customizable and intuitive CRM software to help manage your sales pipelines in a central location with an organized and updated contacts database ensuring reliable tracking of all the sales stages.
There is also a gallery of built-in templates to get your feet off the ground without the worry of figuring out the platform in one-go. And to ensure no one misses out on important deadlines, you can set automated alerts as a reminder for critical tasks like contacting customers for contract renewals or following up with an important prospect.
You can even integrate the tool with business critical apps like Slack, Dropbox and Docusign to maintain a seamless operation where your sales team can solely focus on bringing in those conversions.
Another specialty of Smartsheet is its resource management capabilities. From project tracking to budget monitoring to projecting hiring needs, Smartsheet ensures all elements of resource management are kept in check.
The people page helps project managers quickly allocate the right resources based on their availability and the required skills. Better yet, use the Allocation Heatmaps to swiftly identify the right people available immediately to start the project work.
Project managers and key stakeholders can also monitor the project progress through detailed visualized analytics.
The real-time budgeting, costs, and personnel hiring insights suggested by Smartsheet are incredibly useful if you need help keeping projects on track for successful delivery.
These valuable insights will truly help project managers in better decision making keeping in mind all critical variables.
Top Smartsheet Alternatives Compared in 2023
We have compared Smartsheet with its other robust alternatives and found out that each tool has its unique strengths and weaknesses. The following table highlights the different characteristics of each PPM tool based on pricing and distinguishing features.
Best PPM Tools Best for Cheapest Monthly Plan Cheapest Annual Plan Free Version Smartsheet Scale-ups $7 per user per month $84 per user per year Free Plan for 1 user and up to 2 editors/viewers Monday.com Start-ups $8 per user per month $96 per user per year Free Plan with no viewers/guests allowed ClickUp Budget-friendly $5 per user per month $60 per user per year Free Plan with unlimited guests having unrestricted access Wrike Free tool $9.80 per user per month $117.6 per user per year Free Plan with unlimited users but minimal features Teamwork Small teams $5.99 per user per month $71.88 per user per year Free Plan with up to 5 users Awork Time tracking €8 per user per month €96 per user per year Free Trial for 14 days
While there is other noteworthy project management software in the market, Smartsheet stands out for its scalable platform perfect for the growing teams with changing needs.
While it’s very close in terms of features and integrations to competitors like Monday.com, Smartsheet offers robust security features like Customer Managed Encryption Keys (CMEK), and better collaborative capabilities like built-in content proofing.
Also, Smartsheet’s Free Plan has many more functionalities than Monday’s equivalent, which means you get to see a lot more of it before committing to a paid plan. Its versatility also allows it to be used across different industries and business functions.
If you have multiple projects to manage and you find spreadsheet interface familiar, we recommend you opt for Smartsheet for its exceptional automated features with an affordable pricing plan and 30-days free trial to get started.
Is Smartsheet Secure?
Enterprise software without top-notch security is particularly vulnerable to data breaches. But the great news is, if you choose to buy Smartsheet, you don’t need to worry about data security.
It offers enterprise-grade security features, including multiple permission levels, AES 256-bit encryption, 2 factor authentication, Single Sign-On and compliance with major industry standards and regulations like HIPAA, GDPR, ISO, and more — Smartsheet is a secure platform.
Interface and Ease of Use
As a beginner without prior spreadsheet knowledge and experience, Smartsheet’s interface can be challenging for you. However, familiarity and experience with spreadsheets simplify the interface and make it easy for you to start your work. Built-in template gallery is also a time-saver for those looking for a quick start.
A Quick Smartsheet Tutorial on Getting Started
There are two types of users in Smartsheet: Licensed and Free users. You can start as a free user and sign up to create an account first. The following is the step-by-step guide:
Step 1: Start A New Smartsheet Project
After Smartsheet account creation, you can start by creating a new Smartsheet project or importing your existing projects from some other platform. Built-in templates can help you get started quickly if you are struggling to create a project from scratch. You can find pre-existing templates in the Smartsheet Template Gallery to customize for your project needs.
Step 2: Task Delegation and Workflow Automation
Now, you can start assigning tasks to your team members by tagging them in your task list. But don’t stop at that! Attach any related documents for more clarity and leave comments to share detailed instructions.
Don’t forget to create automated workflows such as sending deadline reminders to team members or receiving notification when the assigned tasks are completed and ready for review.
Step 3: Team Collaboration
With all your project tasks delegated, you can now start collaborating with your team using a variety of Smartsheet’s collaborative features. Feel free to assign tasks, tag to alert users, add comments or annotations to share your views, and do much more.
Step 4: Progress Tracking
Once project work starts, you can use Smartsheet’s time tracker and progress indicators to check task ownership and progress. This way, you can easily track how much time each task takes and how close you are to completing your project goals.
Step 5: Create Dashboards for Data Visualization
With your project set up, you can now use Smartsheet’s reporting and analytics tools to gain insights into your data. Use these to create a dashboard to visualize all your critical data insights.
You can use histograms, bar graphs, pie charts, tables, and much more to create comprehensive reports and easily export them as PowerPoint or PDF for external sharing and presentations.
Step 6: Share Project Progress
Use Smartsheet to not only plan and track project progress but also share it with key stakeholders for real-time monitoring. You can easily share any sheet, report, or dashboard with stakeholders to keep them in the loop.
A Look at What Other Smartsheet Reviews Say
Alongside a through testing Smartsheet, we have analyzed Smartsheet reviews published by users. We found user feedback to be mostly positives. On G2, a trusted software review website, Smartsheet has an average rating of 4.4 stars with about 15.000 reviews.
Many users appreciate Smartsheet for its remarkable workflow automation feature along with robust collaboration and the ability to create dashboards.
Many users agree that the software does have a learning curve for new users because of its flexible and customizable nature. But that is what truly makes Smartsheet useful for them as these customizable templates and workflows can be designed specifically for their team needs, be it small departmental projects or complex organization-wide projects.
Other TechReport Project Management Guides
Interested to learn more about project management tools? TechReport has a comprehensive coverage of project management software, with multiple guides showcasing in-depth analysis of other top project management tools. Following are a few key guides revealing our test results of how these top PPM tools perform compared to each other:
- The Best Workflow Management Software: Top Tools Compared for 2023
- Best Project Management Software: Top Free & Paid PM Tools Compared
- The Best Free Project Management Software Solutions Compared for 2023
- Monday.com Review – The King of Team Collaboration or All Hype?
- The Best Employee Time Tracking Software in 2023
- Best Gantt Chart Software Solutions Compared for 2023
Why You Can Trust TechReport’s Smartsheet Review?
We use data analysis to research user reviews and feedback, and explore the products with firsthand testing to gain reliable insights into the inner workings of the tool.
Our goal in this Smartsheet review is to provide unbiased and accurate guidance to aid in your decision-making process.
Smartsheet Review Result: Is It Worth It?
The answer depends on your answers to the following questions:
Is your business growing fast with ever-evolving needs? Are you seeking a tool to manage multiple projects with a range of customizable templates for various use cases? Do you prefer robust analytics, automation, and reporting capabilities over ease-of-use?
If your answer is yes to any one of these questions, then Smartsheet is the right choice for you. Smartsheet automates project management with customizations and flexible project tracking functionalities to tailor the solution to exactly fit your business needs.
Still not sure? Explore the Smartsheet’s Free Plan or sign up for its 30-day free trial. If you’re not satisfied, you can easily switch to another tool that suits your needs better without risking your money!
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