UTC Date Fix - Response Required
I've not been active on this site over the past 2 weeks or more, simply because I'm becoming increasingly frustrated with the limitations I'm faced with because of bugs, oversights and a lack of fundamental features.
Primary for me is a fix to the UTC Server vs Local date issue. I've spent time trying to get around it with complex formulas and now I'm over it.
I've just finished creating a series of dashboards and reports to analyse NPS (Net Promoter Scores) for an internal business unit based on client responses in a web form, including monthly trends, benchmarks and comments etc. Because of the UTC server time bug, I'm unable to accurately compile and display the data. We are in a UTC +10 timezone. I can see a number of responses that were received before 9AM and because of the date issue, the resulting cell value (when cross-sheet referenced, cell linked or whatever) is being referenced as occurring on the previous day.
Remembering a non-US date format is DD/MM/YY, my attached example shows 5 responses with the Created system time/date stamp (i.e. local time). The second half of the picture shows the cell-linked value (in a date column). You can clearly see that anything time/date stamped before 10AM is using the UTC date value from the previous day. This also means that records that should be included in February's results are appearing in January.
You don't need to be a rocket scientist to see that this is not good. It's not good for every single Smartsheet application I can think of that involves dates. Project management, Finance, Data Analysis, Event Management. Anything at all really. If I cannot trust the data, then Smartsheet is effectively useless to my business.
I really begrudge the responses I've received from your Product Team via this forum and email explaining that:
- it comes down to prioritisation of customer requests from a number of channels.
- development costs need to be balanced (e.g. ROI)
- there are finite resources available to complete the work
- corporate strategy is taken into account (i.e. the invisible product roadmap)
- the issue is complex and they are working on designing a solution
Most of this is rubbish. Being a developer in a previous life and coming from a management consulting and portfolio management background, I fully understand the development life cycle, the financials involved and the associated constraints. You have prioritised other functionality ahead of addressing this issue. Most of the recent development seems to have come out of the blue and nobody seems to have asked for it here. It is also not addressing the primary concerns of your enterprise customers. Surely I can't be the only person that finds this a giant roadblock to continued use of the product. Everyone that uses dates must have experienced it at some point.
Semantics aside, resolving this issue is significantly more important than Facebook Workplace Chat. It is more important than UX redesigns. It is more important than a half baked Slack integration. It is more important than slightly shifting the colour palette hue. This is a bug, not a Product Enhancement and therefore should be treated as a higher priority. Accurate dates are fundamental to everything that Smartsheet sold us on when we were shopping around for a solution to meet our needs and is a basic requirement for any application to record data this accurate.
I submitted a Product Enhancement 6 months ago with a workable solution. Strangely enough, it is the same strategy used by pretty much every application faced with the same challenge:
I can already set a Time Zone in my Personal Settings, so why can't I set the Time Zone to reflect my Personal Settings in the same way you can specify working days, periods, holidays etc. in the Project Settings dialogue? If I set it to use my Time Zone, then all times are displayed as such, no matter who views it and or where they are located. If I choose to leave it the way it is, then I also have that option.
The fact that the Product Enhancement was ignored and you guys have been scratching your heads for 2 years about how to approach it is mind boggling.
I joined the organisation after the decision was made and I can tell you that there is no way I would have selected the product based on what I know now. In total, our Smartsheet & Control Center licenses are costing us as much as what O365 + Power BI + Project Server would. In fact, Smartsheet pricing is going up substantially when we are next renewing (50% increase for Control Center and similar for Smartsheet) so it becomes even less attractive.
It's not just the dates issue. Project baselines, multiple resources, save as you go, Reporting drill downs, etc. Please, someone from Smartsheet.... give me a reason why I should continue devoting time to a platform that fails to do the basics right?