Best way to allow team members to submit updates to a core database


This seems like a stupid simple question, but it's becoming more complicated as I try to implement a solution in Smartsheet.

We have a database of widgets in which each row represents a widget and each column has attributes of the widget. Let's call this Source of Truth (SOT).

Our staff goes out and services widgets in our service area and may alter something that affects the accuracy of the data in our SOT - location, signage, widget attributes, etc. The updates come in two flavors - an update to a specific widget or a batch update to all the widgets that share an attribute.

As I look at it, there are 3 ways to approach updates by staff in the field:

  1. Allow staff to alter the data directly in SOT through either Sheet or Report, erasing what existed before
  2. Require staff to submit a form that logs changes to the widget in a separate Smartsheet and find a way to update the relevant cells in the SOT (cell linking, INDEX/MATCH formula)
  3. Send status update for a row to the staff member and that gets reviewed by a manager. If it's approved, the underlying data in SOT is changed. If it's rejected, the form gets sent back to the staff member to fix the issues - and then it would need to go back to the manager for review and approval.

I would appreciate any feedback on what would be the best approach that preserves the ability of management to see the changes that were made to the database over time.

For batch updates to all the widgets that share an attribute, it would seem option 1 through a Report would be the best approach.

For specific widget updates, it would seem option 3 through an update request/approval workflow is the best approach.

Neither of these, however, allows me to easily capture changes in a transaction log that I can run reports off of and display on a dashboard.




  • Andrée Starå
    Andrée Starå ✭✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @sanjayb

    I hope you're well and safe!

    I'd recommend either using a Report or the premium app, WorkApps.

    You could have a report showing all the changes or have each row copy to a historical log for each change. Another option to see all changes would be the Activity Log.

    Would any of those options work/help?

    I hope that helps!

    Be safe, and have a fantastic week!


    Andrée Starå | Workflow Consultant / CEO @ WORK BOLD

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