Why is there not a way to send data to multiple tables from one form?

Cody Holmes
Cody Holmes ✭✭✭✭
edited 12/06/20 in Smartsheet Basics

No (no-code) solution that I have found yet has been able to solve this huge business need. In fact, if there was a product who could do this simple task, we could eliminate like five other useless softwares in my organization.

Data modeling often requires that data be stored in multiple tables. For those familiar with data models and database schemas, what I'm really getting at is the ability to have one-to-many or many-to-one relationships between two Smartsheet tables where data can be collected from ONE form. This scenario is how data is collected in the real world. For those not familiar with this jargon, let me explain a scenario that is, I'm willing to be, familiar to a business need you may have been looking for.

Let's say that you work for a purchasing department. On one hand, your team will want to capture data related to the ONE person filling out the request. And you want to collect data on that one person filling out the request so that you can track their department and contact information and build a Smartsheet workflow off of that one contact. When that one row populates the Smartsheet from the form, you can assign a buyer to that one request, that one contact, the one person who filled out the request form. But on the same form, the person filling out the purchasing request form may have multiple, or MANY, items that they are requesting. And for data reporting purposes, you want the item data to go to another table. Because if you had, let's say, one person filling out a purchasing request and they had 20 items to request, you would ultimately have to have 20 rows in the same Smartsheet, which would have to repeat the contact's information 20 times. Nor could you build any workflows off that contact column. It would be far better to have the ONE contact person populate into one Smartsheet while the MANY purchasing items populate another sheet with an automated unique ID column that relates the two.

For the technical team of Smarthseet: The process I'm describing is akin to the model migrations within the Django framework (but far simpler, of course).

Not only would that help maintain appropriate workflows, but it would also open up an entire world of reporting possibilities. One of the boons of Smartsheet right now is its seamless integration with Power BI. Having a one-to-many relationship between tables would allow organizations to remodel that data within Power BI and make some powerful visualizations and insight, which is actually what my current organization does. (We just don't have the capability to model the forms and tables appropriately in Smartsheet so we're often stuck with some ugly one-table-sourced data.) It would also be nice for the forms component to be revamped with much more dynamic abilities, but beggars can't be choosers now...

In short, then, why doesn't Smartsheet do this yet, and is it on the horizon?


  • Phillip Jones

    The fact that nobody has commented on this post speaks volumes. SmartSheet's inability to support one to many relationships is what prevents the application from expanding out of the Finance and Accounting domain.