Business Reinvention with a Little Help from the Cloud

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We are a business coaching company that is in the process of re-imagining itself in the same way we have inspired small and medium sized businesses to do so for decades. We had fallen into a period of technological stagnation which led to a new management team being brought in to evaluate and overhaul our IT infrastructure. It soon became clear that this was just the beginning of a series of changes that needed to take place. One of the key areas brought to light was how we approached project management, its integration into the company ethos and operations, and the crucial role it plays in delivering on the expectations we set.

A Change Is In The Air

In April 2012, I joined the team as Director of Program Management to launch the transformation project.  The team had been using a combination of Excel spreadsheets and email to track projects – a process that was wasting hours of everyone’s time.  I’ve spent several years working in project management, and I knew that in order for us to aggressively move towards our goals, we would have to find a better, cloud-based solution.  I began a search for the perfect project management software – and when we found the combination of Smartsheet and Google Apps, we knew we had found what we were looking for.

Transforming Via The Cloud

Smartsheet and Google work together so easily, everyone in the company was able to start using these tools effortlessly.  With Smartsheet and its real-time collaboration we can have multiple people across the company all working together on developing, executing and revising project plans.  There’s a greater level of transparency since everyone involved with a particular project can see the status of each activity.  This promotes self-ownership and personal responsibility which in turn aides in our completing projects on schedule.  Coupled with Google Apps, we are always assured of version control across all information sources.

I recently used Smartsheet and Google Apps to manage seven work streams representative of our company-wide transformation:

  • Transition Planning:  Each detail of our transition from old systems to new was tracked in Smartsheet and using Gantt charts made viewing updates extremely easy.
  • Corporate Re-branding:  Attachments are kept in Smartsheet which makes company assets easy to find.
  • Video Projects:  We produce videos of our clients and the creation of these productions, from storyboarding to the final rendering steps, are all tracked and documented in Smartsheet.
  • Website Management:  Ideas, notes, contracts, images and timelines for EMyth’s new website are all tracked in one central location.
  • Content Development:  We have a new Product Delivery System for clients and each development phase of this new system is tracked in Smartsheet.
  • Product Delivery:  We recently began offering comprehensive online coaching and used Smartsheet to track the development of this new product as well as coordination of its delivery.
  • HR:  We are using Smartsheet to manage the recruitment and training process of our expanding Coaching Network from the initial steps of recruiting and hiring new coaches to laying out training schedules.

Each of these work streams brings us closer to the realization of our new company vision.

Immediate Impact

In addition to these projects, our IT department used Smartsheet to manage our transition from Outlook to Gmail.  “Using Smartsheet to manage huge projects like this is saving us tons of time each day,” Ben Ostergaard our COO and CFO has told me.  “It’s also sparked a conversation within our team about technology and the impact that it has on us.”  Ben went on to say, “Smartsheet is so simple – it’s so effective it makes the technology invisible – we’ve left behind the days of IT maintenance and crisis resolution.  With that, we can put more focus on getting the job done. These new tools have empowered us all to solve our own problems.”

Tricia Huebner, our vice president of Business Development, has spoken with me about this idea.  “Smartsheet and Google have given us back time and money to invest in developing more products and programs to serve our clients and grow a more profitable businesses.  We can deliver on our promise of innovation and progressive thinking to our clients in a whole new way.”

Article written by Jackie Sangster, Director of Program Management, EMyth

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