Import to smartsheet is unable to auto-assign tasks - any plans to address this?

edited 12/09/19 in API & Developers
05/21/18 Edited 12/09/19

Dear Smartsheet,

The issue

- import of a google/excel sheet containing an "Assigned To" column fails to assign to known smartsheet users any of the tasks listed in the file that was imported with matching user names/email addresses

  • The specific problem is that even though the name or email address values in the file imported are correct in the "Assigned To" column and also match the name/email addresses of the user accounts in smartsheet, the import process does not link the rows to the correct user or offer a single-click approach to be able to achieve this.

One workaround is possible but only after the file has been imported and requires a manual edit of the smartsheet file created by the import process to one by one assign each individual row to the correct user.   Clearly this is a significant manual effort and arguably is a workaround to a flaw in the import. 

Suggested product fix/enhancement

Perhaps the Smartsheet product team could enhance the import process to support recognition of smartsheet user account name/email address by stipulating a required format of the cell value in the file to be imported so as to trigger the import process to link the row to a known user associated with the account where the import is processed?  Being a software engineer myself, I suspect that this would not be a complex feature to build into the import process, perhaps a couple of weeks at most of coding and testing.

After some searching, it appears that this issue with importing files has been known for some time because it has been reported by other users as far back as 2015.  Hence, I'm curious to know if there is any plan to fix/support this soon? 

It seems to be a significant flaw in the product, causing lots of manual workarounds that are tolerable for a small set of data but for large amounts of data becomes unworkable.

Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  • L@123[email protected] ✭✭✭✭✭

    there seems to be a lot of issues with the contact column. web forms can't be used to add contacts reliably without a preexisting list of contacts made, update requests can't be used to change contacts, and formulas can't reference contacts.

    There needs to be a lot of work done on this on smartsheets end to make it as functional as it needs to be.

  • edited 05/22/18

    The response I received from a support email sent to Smartsheet states that the Product team say this is currently working as designed.  I interpret this a refusal to acknowledge the issue and the inconvenience it causes to anyone using the import feature.  

    I have been advised to rectify it by manually creating a new column and populating it after the import. 

    Quite surprising really, when you consider how incomplete it is to have an import data feature to a project management tool that is unable to auto-assign tasks to task owners at the point of import. I consider this a very significant weakness and it seems to be known for some time, as I have spotted others highlighting the issue 3 years ago.  Hence, I'm skeptical as to whether it will be ever improved.

    I've been told that the Product team know about this but due to the large number of variables they have to consider when choosing what to develop next, it can't be confirmed when or if this will be addressed.

     

     

     

     

  • FYI - to workaround the import issue, I built a solution that is using smartsheet's API.  In the end, this is actually a better approach because now there are no manual steps involved.  This has fully automated the synchronisation of data into a specific sheet, triggered to run every time period set (e.g. hour). 

  • As of today, this is still not fixed. It is a serious problem when a user must resort to homebrewed remedies to fix a product's shortcomings. :(

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