Disappointed in Automation Announcement

The recent announcement that Automations will include sheet owners and users names is a huge disappointment! We needed Alerts to be anonymous! I have requested that for years now. This is the exact opposite of what was requested and what I have seen in the community discussed. Our business utilizes automation to send out alerts to customers. We have requested that responses be sent back to a general email address, not to a specific person. I also do not want customers to see a name that can be researched or looked up. We have had incidents of stalking occur as a result of automation indicating changes were made by a specific person. We have staff that minors (17), Union represented, and been confronted in the past as a result of automations that indicated a denial and ineligiblty based on our business rule. Rather than contacting our office, customers have seeked out specific employees to complain and have done so repeatedly. I am so disappointed right now!



  • Genevieve P.
    Genevieve P. Employee Admin

    Hi @bhope51

    Would it be possible for your organization to set up a licensed Smartsheet account (that can create and own sheets) under a general email address for your company?

    If you could have a licensed account under a general email, then you can make sure that this account is the one that retains ownership of any of the sheets with customer-facing alerts, and specific users who need to set up the sheets can be shared as Admin. That way any email responses to the alert will be sent to your company, under the general email address.

    Then if you didn't want users to see who made changes, you could use an editable Published link for your collaborators to make changes to the sheets. This will show the modifier's name as a general "Published User", and won't display their name in the alert.

    Just a few thoughts. Once this update has been rolled out, there may be other alternatives as well.



  • bhope51
    bhope51 ✭✭✭

    Hello @Genevieve P ,

    Thank you for your response. I appreciate the fact that your response was not a canned response like the one I received in email (see image below). I would like to point out that email does not address my concerns at all, while your answer does, but is not a solution we are looking for. If we use the option you have built out, we would lose the audit trail of who is completing which task or update. We currently utilize the activity log to create performance metrics for our team and need to know who is completing which task in the sheet and when. All we want to do is remove the customer seeing who made the change on the automation. Or better yet make it optional to include who made the changes.

  • Genevieve P.
    Genevieve P. Employee Admin

    Hi @bhope51

    My apologies for the delay in response. Can I ask what your automations are based off of? Are they triggered by specific changes by these users you need to track, or by a date?

    Time-Based automations, such as once-a-week on a Monday, will have the sheet owners name and email (not the users who made the change). Sheet owners could potentially adjust their name in Smartsheet to be a bit more confidential as well.

    For example, my name in Smartsheet is Genevieve P. (like I have it here, in the Community). My last name is not visible in Smartsheet but my colleagues know who I am. In any alerts that are sent out from my changes or sheets the name associated is Genevieve P.

    I understand that since the email address is then the sheet owner's email this is still not ideal for your situation. Please respond to Scott's email outlining your circumstance and reasons for needing anonymity. I have also passed on your feedback to our Product team as well.

  • bhope51
    bhope51 ✭✭✭

    Hi @Genevieve P

    Our Automations are based on a trigger. When a value changes in a cell to a specific value a notification is sent to our customers. Please see the redacted notification below. The notification includes the employees full name and their email address on the notification.

  • Genevieve P.
    Genevieve P. Employee Admin

    Hi @bhope51

    Does the automation need to happen immediately (when triggered), or would you be willing to change the type of automation so that it sent out at the end of each day? Time-Based automations send with the sheet owner's email and name.

    We could adjust this to be a Time-Based automation, with the conditions being what used to trigger the automation.

    For example:

    This alert would send out at 5pm each day, but it would only run for those rows that meet the criteria specified in the next section of the alert. That would be where you specify the value change.

    However, one thing to note is that this would send for every row that meets this criteria, not just the ones that were changed today. You could add a Modified (Date) system column in the sheet that shows when that row was last modified. Then have this column be a part of your Condition, making sure to only send alerts if that row was modified today:

    The only potential issue I see with this is if old rows with your value have been updated in other columns that day. Then the automation would run, because the Modified (date) column doesn't specify which column was modified, just that the row had been modified.

    Once again, I understand that this is not ideal, or potentially even a solution for your issue if there will be many updates to the row, but thank you for continuing to work with me in thinking of alternate ways to display these alerts.

  • AverageUser
    AverageUser ✭✭
    edited 05/14/20

    I'm on board with bhope51.

    1. This recent change was just asinine to begin with.
    2. As far as I know, this change was not communicated... or at least not well communicated.

    Why would you want an automated response to something completely general associated to a single person just because they were the one who set up the automation? It's their job to set up the automation, but not necessarily their job to be responsible for every item triggered by the automation.

    Now whoever set up the automation is tied to the resulting workload of that automation by everyone who receives the notification!!