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Does Your Company Have Too Many Manual Tasks? Here’s How You Can Automate Them


The term “work management” can mean different things to different sizes of organizations. 

Large companies, for example, usually have a wide variety of software tools and systems to help employees manage their work—sometimes too many, and to a fault. Most small companies, on the other hand, tend to have a small handful of software tools and almost no automated systems to help employees manage their work. They rely on emails back and forth, disorganized Google Drive folders, and even manual paper forms.

The true definition of “work management” comes down to the types of processes an employee of a company performs on a daily basis to get their job done. 

Not everything can be automated, because there is always going to be a need for human touch and human intelligence. However, there are so many repetitive, no-brainer tasks that happen in a given day, that at a certain point, regardless of the size of the organization, they should be automated in order to maximize effectiveness and efficiency. This is not intended to replace the person’s job, but enable them to do their work faster, better, and get more done in fewer hours.

Here’s how to identify those manual tasks and implement software solutions that can automate processes from start to finish.

First, in every department, there are different tasks being managed and executed manually.

There is HR-related software, financial software, project management software, etc. Between all of the different software platforms a company has, there are gaps filled with manual tasks that people do outside of the capabilities of those applications. For example, one tool might be terrific at tracking expenses, but not very efficient at alerting other team members when an expense has been reimbursed. That secondary task is what becomes manual, because HR personnel has to email or find the team member and actually say to them, “Hey, just so you know, we reimbursed you.” 

This is where using a tool like Smartsheet can help bridge the gap.

Smartsheet is a flexible platform that can be used for nearly any kind of work management. The best candidates for this type of solution we’ve seen are really companies across all industries, and mainly those in engineering and construction, energy and utility, manufacturing, professional services, and even education and government, that run a lot of different projects but typically rely on email and paper forms to organize their deliverables and timelines. 

For example, one of the companies we implemented Smartsheet for recently is in the construction industry and wanted to better organize their project tasks and files. It was hard for their Project Managers and clients to know and track the stage each project was at, and to easily find and share documents, pictures, and drawings associated with each project. Once they started using Smartsheets, however, they not only were able to improve internal communication between teams and project managers but could also invite their clients to access project files and receive status updates along the way.

We also helped a global manufacturing company automate their entire project execution process (from Project Intake, to Execution, and Closure) using the Smartsheet Control Center tool. The client realized improvements in their process and portfolio visibility, and better cross-departmental collaboration, resulting in enhanced productivity and efficiency. 

There are two reasons companies end up implementing and relying on tools like Smartsheets.

1) Customization: Even though Smartsheet as a tool is highly effective out of the box, every company has slightly different wants and needs based on the way their business operates. For many large companies, it can become expensive or even impossible for them to get their own internal software to achieve what can easily be customized with Smartsheets. 

2) Organization: Companies that have too much going on love Smartsheet because the tool can simply streamline project and work management. Instead of waiting through long, manual and internal processes to get something done, Smartsheet allows everyone involved to see the status of the project, receive relevant notifications, assign tasks, and have the transparency of knowing when they are complete.

Smartsheets, for companies, are the glue that can connect different systems. They become the centralized repository of work data that can get pulled or pushed to different systems, automating end-to-end processes for all team members involved. They aren’t overly complicated. They don’t take months and months to implement. And whether you are a small, growing business, or a 25,000-employee company, Smartsheets can be customized to the unique needs of your team.

I am the president and managing principal of Optimum, a modern software solutions consulting firm that helps clients increase efficiency, reduce operational costs, and increase productivity by 25% or more. We achieve this through a combination of business consulting services and fit-for-purpose software solutions that drive true results.

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