Unlock the power of your data to drive innovation

Seamless access to the right information at the right time allows for improved decision-making.

hand flipping wooden blocks

Making decisions is difficult. According to neuroscientists, the process requires not only an intellectual grasp of pertinent data, but also a healthy emotional response to that knowledge. Making good decisions is a skill that takes practice, information, and access to the right people. Most executives, according to a recent McKinsey study, spend 40% of their time making decisions, and most of them believe much of that time is wasted trying to get the right information.

To make the kind of fast, high-quality decisions that lead to innovation and growth, everyone in your organization – from the executive to individual contributor – need access to the right information at the right time. The challenge is that data often lives in siloed spreadsheets and databases, strewn across various departments, or simply in the brains of other people. According to a report on creating a data-driven culture from Harvard Business Review, “the most common complaint we hear is that people … struggle to obtain even the most basic data.”

“A common business paradigm,” says Mark Peterson, vice president of IT at Smartsheet, “is that people have to first find out who owns the data and then how to get access to it,” which is slow and frustrating.

It’s easy to see how a legendary decision maker like Howard Schultz, for example, put data to work, rather famously, to turn around a floundering Starbucks. But every company, and every person, makes better decisions – large and small – if they can quickly put a finger on the right information.

Free the data

McCorvey Companies is a regional manufacturer of custom ductwork, pipe, and plumbing that started out as a small family operation in 1925 but has grown, in large part due to innovation and efficiency, into a large Southeastern company with offices and manufacturing in Orlando and Houston.

At one time, the company kept designs, processes, and knowledge in department-specific spreadsheets and databases, on paper, and in the minds of experienced personnel. Now, much of that data can be easily accessed, in the field, through a mobile app that was built in-house with input from subject-matter experts using Smartsheet Control Center and WorkApps. This ready access to designs, equipment locations, inventories, and knowledge informs hundreds of decisions every day and saves the company time and money, while allowing it to grow and innovate.

All decisions are expensive

Many of McCorvey’s decision makers work on constructions sites, where they need to know if a tool or large piece of equipment is available for their use – and where it is – before they can move forward. Tracking that information down, before Smartsheet, was time consuming and inefficient. Foremen often ended up buying or renting what they needed, which led to delays. And when a construction crew is idle, it is expensive.

With information easier to access, supervisors use the company’s equipment much more efficiently. McCorvey estimates that freeing this data saved the company between $50,000 and $100,000 in rental fees, purchases, and late fees – not to mention reducing delays and frustration.

The company has also moved its construction designs to Smartsheet so that supervisors can see the latest designs, with comments, on their phone, which eliminates the need to meet to verify they are working with the latest changes or have new design iterations printed and delivered to a job site. This saves the company an estimated $80,000 a year by eliminating the cumbersome and slow process of printing and working from paper.

Everyone works in the field now

Working with far-flung teams comes with the territory for a construction company like McCorvey, but the last year has thrown many organizations, and IT teams, into this same boat. Hybrid and remote workforces change the nature of data sharing on a technical, as well as a personal, level.

“For a lot of IT organizations, that's immensely painful,” says Peterson. Giving remote workers safe access to data that’s stored on site can create enormous technical headaches. “But since our systems are 100-percent SaaS-based, my teams can do anything they need from any machine anywhere in the world.”

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.


Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.