27 Nov 2022
BGRA-Smartsheet and Office 365 Integration Construction Engineering

Project Management Information System Development for a Construction-Oriented Engineering Department: Multi-system integration to provide a stepwise management solution

Optimum Developed a Project Management Information System for a Construction-Oriented Engineering Organization: Multi-system integration to provide a stepwise management solution.

About the Client

The client is a government organization which handles the water conservation and reclamation district. The Engineering department within this organization is responsible for managing the implementation of various projects and ensuring their successful completion with the aid of various contractors, developers, and construction related vendors.

Business Challenge and Project Background

The client engaged Optimum to conduct an assessment of their current processes and identify the necessary requirements to select and implement a robust and automated project management software solution. Through this assessment, it was identified that the client’s current project management processes were dependent on email communications which generated a massive amount of effort to track and manage projects while also preventing project transparency and reporting within the organization.

Also, due to the nature of the client’s cross-departmental processes, and the lack of standardization in project management processes, the current and desired state, business requirements, and the automation needs had to be fully defined and documented in order to assist the client in selecting and implementing the right PMO software solution.

Optimum’s Involvement

Based on the client’s desired state, business, and user requirements, it was recommended by Optimum to the client to seek an integrated solution leveraging their existing systems (Office 365) for data management and process automations while simultaneously leveraging Smartsheet for achieving their Project Management and Work Automation goals. Also, by incrementally improving the organization’s processes, the risk of implementing an expensive and complex solution was removed. Additionally, this approach allowed the client to focus their most critical components and identify the most impactful requirements if a full ERP solution is pursued in the future.

Upon completion of the assessment phase, Optimum started the implementation phase of the project by conducting in-depth discovery sessions to identify the standardized processes desired by the client. Optimum then designed the integrated solution and identified critical integration points and data flows between the two software systems (Office 365 and Smartsheet).

The integration of Office 365 (SharePoint and Power Automate) and Smartsheet generated a solution which:

  • Allows standardized project frameworks to be generated on demand.
  • Generates standardized processes to submit and review the status of submitted deliverables.
  • Standardizes the capture and tagging of submitted materials.
  • Increases transparency on client response times and project status.
  • Provides rollup on Planned vs. Actual Budget values.
  • Decreases amount of email communication required.
  • Creates a single, centralized solution for Project Managers to reference to determine what tasks require their attention.
  • Provides a low-cost entry into more advanced project and deliverable management as compared to a far more costly ERP implementation while still providing desired functionality and process updates.

As with any stepwise improvement, the key challenges with implementing major process changes largely revolved around the initial definition of critical standards. After defining standards, getting department and intraorganizational buy-in were critical for successful management of change.

Project Outcomes

The outcome of the project involved three primary components:

  1. Smartsheet Control Center Component
    Captures the initial project criteria before generating the standardized project plan and project management components which includes budget information. This data is rolled up to the Portfolio level to provide a high-level view of each project’s health and status.
  2. SharePoint Project Sites
    Standardized Project Site pages are generated which allow external stakeholders a submission portal and visibility on submission status. Project related files are captured within project phase Document Libraries and tagged for improved search functionality. Documents requiring a client response are automatically flagged and tracked internally to prevent delays.
  3. Power Automate
    Once files are submitted or updated within SharePoint Project Sites, automations leveraging PowerAutomate are used to alert stakeholders and transfer/aggregate data for analysis. These automations are meant to be scalable to organizational needs as identified by the project teams.

The component that most excited the client was the ability to conduct more advanced search functionality within the SharePoint environment. This was done by adding in automatically generated metadata based on submission criteria, manually updated file status, and the out-of-the-box functionality within SharePoint to add custom filters to search criteria.

About Optimum

Optimum is a national Software Consulting firm, and a Smartsheet Platinum Partner, helping organizations accelerate efficiency and solve business challenges. We deliver robust software solutions and amazing client experiences!

As a Platinum, Certified Smartsheet Partner and Premier Microsoft Partner, our consultants define, automate, and optimize processes and implement advanced automation solutions to help clients achieve work efficiency and productivity. From development of customized templates and advanced dashboards and workflows to the full implementation and support of Smartsheet Control Center and other accelerators, our team helps clients maximize their ROI in Smartsheet and increase user adoption and productivity of their teams.

Contact us for a free discovery session to identify and discuss the best solution option for your work automation and project management needs. More information: Smartsheet Consulting Services

Contact us: info@optimumcs.com | 713.505.0300