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Persistent Theme: Restricted Sharing. We need an update on this

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Robert Casper
Robert Casper ✭✭
edited 12/09/19 in Archived 2017 Posts

Smartsheet,

 

Smartsheet solves so many problems evident in other project management and collaboration software.  However it is critical that Smartsheet be able to limit sheet access to owned rows based on contact column information, or that Smartsheet add the Contact Column and a "pull" mechanism to the Update Request feature.  Without this, the product becomes unworkable for even moderately sophisticated users.

 

Smartsheet unfortunately either shares everything or leaves sheet owners to manually plug in Update Requests. Voluntary filters are not the answer.  We need to have security from the spectrum of unauthorized / curious / nosy / incompetent / semi-malicious collaborators that ultimately become a part of every operation.

 

1) We do not want every task lead to have view and edit access to the entire sheet.  I don't want John Smith to have the ability to mess with Susan Jones's tasks.  I frankly may not even want John Smith to see those tasks.  I especially would not want him to be able to see certain columns that are relevant to me but restricted from him such as financial and client data.  The Reports feature almost accomplishes this with the "Current User" filter, however the user has to have shared access to the entire underlying sheet or they can't access the report.

 

2) We do not want to have to manually type in email addresses to send update requests.  The Update Request feature is close to being a solution, however the Sheet Admin/Editor has to manually setup each one with a manual email address even though there's a contact list.  That effort would become a nightmare after a routine resource re-allocation for a modestly sized project.  Also, the Update Request is a one-time shot where the task owner can't correct or update whatever they submitted without somehow contacting the Sheet Admin/Editor.

 

Sure, I can export the Smartsheet into an Excel spreadsheet and forward that for updates, but then isn't that precisely the MS Project/Excel/Email world we are trying to escape?

 

Neither Zapier or Azuqua (which is ridiculously expensive anyway) have readily available workarounds.  The effort of pursuing an internally developed or 3rd party API solution would just as easily lead to a completely alternative solution.

 

The community raised these concerns extensively over at least the past two years however there is a lack of news from Smartsheet on this.  Many of us in this community have "+1"d every instance of this issue we could find (and on a similar level is the issue of assigning multiple members to a task...).  This is a big deal, particularly as a Smartsheet Partner.  Project Management Offices are more than ready to bail from MS-Project and its kin and they LOVE the general way Smartsheet works, but they are headed to equal and perhaps more severe frustrations with these issues.

 

We really would like to know the status of this feature.  6-12 +/- months out ok.  But no news after all of this time has some of us unfortunately beginning to look around...

Comments

  • Kara Lumley
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    Hi Robert,

    Thank you for taking the time to send in your feedback.

     

    A view of the sheet that is editable and filtered to only certain shared users is something we have had discussions about internally, however we have not been able to create just the right balance of keeping things simple while allowing that functionality. The Product and UX teams are testing out scenarios, this one included, to see how we can make complex sharing rules easily understandable while maintaining specific security needs.

     

    Another option would be for us to allow edits to a published report, which I think would be another way to solve for your scenario. I'll talk with the Product team about the feasibility of developing that and get back to you.

     

    I apologize that I am not able to give you a firm yes or no as to whether this type of view will be developed in the next 6-12 months, however, there may be an alternative solution with one of our add-ons that may solve your immediate need. I have asked our reseller team to reach out to you to give you more information on that.

     

    Automatically sending update requests, along with other automation rules, is definitely on our roadmap and will be released this year.  We've got some amazing work going on with our development team based on feedback such as yours.

     

    We appreciate your observations, and feel free to reach out to me directly (kara.lumley@smartsheet.com) if you would like any more details, or would like to provide other suggestions.

     

    Thanks again,

    Kara

  • Charlotte Burrell
    edited 04/04/17
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    Robert has definitely addressed more than just my issue.  But we do need to have a limited access view of the sheet in order to keep confidentiality of information with different providers.  The editable published report would be a possible solution. 

  • Robert Casper
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    Thank you very much for your reply!  An enhanced Published Report or enhanced Update Request  sound like the more realistic avenues to me. Smartsheet is absolutely the best product in collaborating with people outside of your current organization.  I think either of these could be that key capability to pull customers away from the MS styled solutions which envision every project member as an employee.

  • Richard Rymill SBP
    Richard Rymill SBP ✭✭✭✭✭✭
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    Kara

    thank you for your explanation of the challenges you face and do keep up the great work you guys are doing. We just need to be very agile with our workarounds while you resolve this. 

    In simplicity what users would like is if their "to Do List" ( Smartsheet Report) allowed the user to update their work, as it does, but if you can find a way NOT to share the source sheet? The access to the Report should be enough of a permission to edit, with the criteria of that selection locked down so the user cannot "tinker". 

     

    No doubt this is a lot harder than it sounds but I hope it focuses the attention? 

     

    Regards to all the team.

    RichardR 

     

  • Scott Willeke
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    Robert,

     

    Thanks for the feedback. I have a couple of specific questions… You mentioned that Update Requests aren’t viable because they have to have the email specified explicitly and they are a “one-time shot”. To make Update Requests a viable solution for you here, I understand we’d need to allow you to choose the recipient from a contact list to resolve your email concern. However, I’m not sure how you envision solving the “one-time shot” concern, presumably you would want them to be automatically sent at certain times or when certain criteria are met. Would you want to schedule them to be sent regularly (e.g. weekly) or would you want to specify a set of criteria (e.g. “Status is at risk” or “due within 5 days”, etc.) or do you have something else in mind altogether?

     

    -- 

    Scott Willeke | Smartsheet

    Senior Product Manager, Strategic Integrations

    E: Scott.Willeke@Smartsheet.com

     

  • Robert Casper
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    Scott,

     

    Thank you for following up.  Regarding both points for Update Requests:

     

    1) Sending to the address stored in "Contact List" Column Types.  Currently when I create an Update Request, I have to manually either type in the recipient's email address or I have to manually select an email address from the account contact list.  This is distinctly different than what we need which is an automated ability to send the update request to the address stored in a designated  Contact List column (such as the Task Lead or Point of Contact).  If the Task Lead changes from John to Sara, I currently have to manually edit the Update Request to change the address to Sara's; we instead need the feature to automatically start sending requests to Sara because of the change observed in the Task Lead field.  Of note, the Smartsheet Notification and Alerts features does provide that ability however that ability only provides effective functionality to shared users.

     

    2) Allowing repeated submissions vs "One-time shot".  Currently when an Update Request recipient submits the task update, the recipient cannot provide another update until they receive a new Update Request.  Consider an example where a contractor's price quote changed since their submission and they want to provide an immediate update to the sheet owner and team.  The contractor in this case either has to wait until the next Update Request (which may be set to recur several days later) or separately contact the sheet editor/owner to provide an update or request an out of cycle Update Request (defeating the purpose of collaboration within Smartsheet). 

     

    Both of these problems become worse rapidly as projects start to scale.

     

    Robert Casper

    robert.casper@veteran-is.com

  • Scott Willeke
    Scott Willeke Employee
    edited 04/05/17
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    Thanks for the follow up Robert. Understand your first point. On the second point, I now understand that for update requests to be a viable solution, you would need the recipient to be able to update more than once and not have to wait until the next time they receive an update request. Thank you for explaining.

     

    -- 

    Scott Willeke | Smartsheet

    Senior Product Manager, Strategic Integrations

    E: Scott.Willeke@Smartsheet.com

     

  • Scott Willeke,

     

    What would be best for our purposes is to have the provider have access to the sheet, but to have limited view to only their provider information.  We cannot allow the providers to have access to any of the current sheet due to confidentiality issues, since all provider information is available to them.  But if they could have access to make changes to the information on the sheet but only be able to access information they are privy to would be great, ie such as what filters we currently have set to look at their provider information only.  Limited accessibility to the sheet. 

     

    Or if that is not possible at the time, have update information that could be repeated or resent.  We have several people who have not responded to a pending update request that we would like to resend without having to retype the whole email.

     

    Thanks,

    Charlotte

This discussion has been closed.