Organizations need connected data and workflows that are flexible enough to adapt and grow with your business. Here’s how to stay ahead of the evolutionary curve.
The research department is begging for a better way to share data with hybrid teams. Sales wants their mobile CRM app to connect to this data. And everyone – from the C-suite to project managers – wants clarity on who is doing what, what deliverables are expected, sales volumes, workloads, and more.
None of these are frivolous requests. People need the right information at the right time to make decisions that take projects, people, and the company forward. But your IT team may feel like it’s desperately trying to hold the line between demands for dexterity and the necessity to keep data secure.
But what if every individual on every team was empowered to build their own, custom solutions that could tap into everything in the company’s tech stack – from Microsoft Office to G Suite to Jira to Salesforce to Slack – but required nothing from your IT department? And what if these solutions were not only secure, but beautifully executed?
“Software developers have historically created and configured the systems, business solutions, and software that powers companies,” Smartsheet CEO Mark Mader writes in a blog post. “Yet they represent only 5% of the knowledge workforce. What if you could empower and enable 25%, 50%, or your entire company to innovate new systems and business solutions?”
Instead of wasting IT resources trying to contain, assist, and secure this kind of innovation, you could simply let the people with the ideas build the solutions they imagine, quickly and securely, while you turn your attention to your own deployments.
Even if you empowered only a small percentage of your people, says Mader, “it would be a huge, powerful leap in innovation for your organization.”
A study by Harvard Business Review quantified that leap in a study last year, which found that digitally connected and empowered teams improve productivity by 72%, customer and employee satisfaction by 69%, and the quality of products and services by 67%.
If you take a look at how one employee saved lives during a crisis, it’s easy to see the benefits of an empowered workforce.
When Hurricane Harvey brought widespread flooding to the Houston area in 2017, Maryanne Henn, human resources director at Tellepsen, a leading building company, realized that many of her team members were in flooded areas and needed help. Emergency response teams were overwhelmed and she felt compelled to do something. She knew reaching people by phone would be slow and unreliable. And, though she is not a developer or particularly technical, she was familiar with Smartsheet because Tellespen uses it to manage material tracking, deliverables, and employee HR-related processes.
She quickly envisioned the solution she needed – a form employees could use to check themselves in as safe, in a shelter, or in need of rescue – and spent 10 minutes creating it. In less time than it would have taken to make a couple of phone calls, the company’s managers sent everyone a link to her form. Employees who saw the link knew it was safe because it was Tellespen branded. Within minutes, employees were checking in. When someone needed help, the report flashed yellow so Henn could quickly see where to send assistance. The solution Henn created was effective, robust, and secure, and it transformed what could have been a chaotic and ineffective response into a quick, efficient, and proactive solution.
If one motivated HR person can create an emergency response system in just a few minutes, what could your salespeople, project managers, and research teams do on their own to build the systems they need to improve their work and grow your business?
Learn more about Smartsheet, the enterprise-grade work management platform that aligns global teams, empowers users to build and scale business-driven solutions, and enables IT to manage risk and maintain compliance.
Christina Wood is a freelance writer living in North Carolina. She blogs at
Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.
Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.


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