Smartsheet’s ENGAGE EMEA 2024 Conference Highlights

Wow, and just like that it was here!

After months in the planning, the inaugural Smartsheet Engage EMEA 24 exceeded expectations.

A truly exciting and inspiring event.

Sponsoring the very first Smartsheet Engage in our home city was a great honour. It was a pleasure to meet so many Smartsheet fans and hook up with old friends from Seattle. We were blown away by the enthusiasm for the all things Smartsheet and for Engage.

As always our Charlie Cheetah was a big hit, and our Cheetah giveaway made some lucky people very happy.

We were delighted to have our marketing director, Alison Robb, invited to host a Smart Session. “The ever-increasing demands on marketers and how to successfully manage them” hit the spot with the audience, and we are indebted to Indeks-Retail for allowing us to share their story.

For Cheetah Transformation and all the other Smartsheet partners, Engage in Seattle traditionally starts with Partner Summit Day, and London was no different.

Partner Summit is when key people from across Smartsheet share their team’s plans for the coming year.

A highlight of Partner Summit was the audience with Max Long, a Londoner by birth, who is Smartsheet’s new President for Go to Market.

Max has many years’ of experience at Microsoft, Adobe and other companies; a strong sense of working with partners and delivering great customer service.

We are pleased to have him on board, especially when he took questions and answers and was able to solve an issue we raised to him in less than 10 hours. That’s definitely a case of him walking the walk on his commitment to great customer service!

Day 1 – A year of convergence and change

Day 1’s keynote speech session saw Mark Mader, Miya McClain, Ben Canning and Caz Brett take to the stage joined by guest Grégoire Martin of the International Olympic Committee. Each had a clear message on how the world of work and Smartsheet are changing.

Operate at peak human

Mark Mader, CEO of Smartsheet, continued the themes from his Seattle address last September when he said a big shift was on its way, and it would create a vacuum, so think about how you fill it. You can read Mark’s comments in full in our review of that here.

Change is happening a huge rate, he said, and AI is driving this change.

As humans we need to ensure that we master AI and have it work for us, not the other way around.

If AI can be used to dive deeper into data and turn it into insights faster ‘it will dramatically drive down the cost of enquiry’. Think what you could do.

Working like this could give back 10-15% time; with which productivity could be increased.

ENGAGE London 2024 Conference

Asynchronous [adjective]
Not existing or occurring at the same time
Oxford English Dictionary

The way we work today has changed, asynchronous working is more common as we work across countries and flexible schedules. We are not all working 9am – 5pm in the same place.

This means teams catch up less in real time, so when the team is together use that time for what really matters and can only be done together.

Don’t wait for everyone to be available to do something, allow everyone to do what they do, when they can do it. Let the work platforms and AI help us to ‘operate at peak human’ together.

By maximising what Smartsheet and AI can do, organisations can ‘extract value from what you have’.

Working like this could give back 10-15% time to teams. That’s almost half a day per working week. Imagine the changes you could deliver in that time. Use the technology to your ends, do not let it use you.

Allez Paris – Allez Smartsheet!

Miya McClain (Vice President of Product Management) and Grégoire Martin (Senior Manager, Strategic Portfolio & Project Management Office, International Olympic Committee) inspired us with how the IOC is using Smartsheet to deliver the Paris Olympics this summer.

This will be the very first Olympics with the same number of men and women competing, something the IOC is rightly proud of. If anyone operates at peak human, it is undoubtedly Olympic athletes.

Allez Paris!

People visiting Cheetah Transformation at the Smartsheet ENGAGE EMEA Conference

A bigger and better Smartsheet platform is here

Being part of the Smartsheet family, is to be part of a huge movement.
1 million people use Smartsheet across EMEA doing 400 million tasks.

And there is so much more to come, that was the message from Ben Canning (Senior Vice President of Product Experiences) and Caz Brett (Director of Product).

AI working for you now

5 AI tools are now available on Smartsheet, that can be used to:

  • Generate text and summaries.
  • Generate formula.
  • Analyse data.
  • Caption images.
  • Get help.

On demand charting is the next step, and in future, users will be able to be added directly to dashboards.

These were covered in the last Cheetah Transformation newsletter but if you missed it, let us know and we will talk you through them.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your information in Smartsheet is never used to train public AI.

Other new features

Super wide dashboard canvas is available.

Control Center can now handle up to 20,000 live projects – a fourfold increase from the previous 5,000.

Reports in solutions are now flowing out to Smartsheet in business and enterprise plans.

In sheets, timeline view is now available on general release to everyone.

Board view will be fully live by the end of the quarter. It’s inspired by the original Card view but does so much more. Users can scroll, expand and collapse individual lanes, as well as switch lane filters and add images.

Changes will be moving to auto-save in real time, so everyone’s changes are saved immediately. This is going to provide a much smoother experience where teams are working in the same items at the same time.

These brilliant speakers created an unforgettable kick off to the event.

Day 2 – Hopes and fears, amygdalas and sabre-toothed tigers

Kicked off by Sarfraz Ali (Vice President & General Manager for EMEA) and Max Long (President, Go-to-Market), the theme for Day 2’s keynote speech was Engagement and  Change.

Sarfraz and Max covered how Smartsheet works to provide the best engagement for every user and how they were working to make every interaction easier for everyone to deliver work. They acknowledged that working with the best platform still needs the journey of change within an organisation, so introduced us all to a real specialist in this area.

Professor Eddie Obeng took the hall by storm with his 1000mph, interactive session on how to bring about change. We learnt, we laughed, we jumped up and down while slapping our thighs!

“Humans are very weird, but they have passion and energy”

Change is so difficult to do because of the way humans are constructed, he said. The amygdala (a part of the brain) sees change as a sign of danger, so it creates a sense of fear.  Great for our ancestors when there were predatory sabre-tooth tigers to be avoided but it makes life difficult for a change maker in an organisation.

When you set out to make change, rational thought is switched off by the amygdala and fear settles in people’s minds.  Ask people what their hopes and fears are around the change; don’t expect a perfect or rational answer, it’s a question to help them think about the change.

Language matters. Use the future familiar tense: ‘It’s just like…but with one little difference’.

Surely, we have all heard or said this about Smartsheet grid view: ‘It looks just like Excel’, sounds like something reassuringly familiar. ‘It’s this completely new way of working…’ that means change, so our amygdala takes over.

Find your gap and fill it

To have a goal is to have a view of what the future will look like. The difference between that view and where you are today, is the gap that needs to be filled. Get others to justify why:

  • If we don’t fix that gap, what will happen?
  • If we fix that gap, what could we get?

Change is about enabling colleagues and customers to fill their gap.

Prof Obeng’s mission is to help people make the complex simple, which is why he founded the Pencle Business School to do just that.

Watch his TED talks for further inspiration

To inspire others:

Do something impossible, make it look easy and look like you are enjoying it

If you have any questions about content and our experience at Smartsheet Engage EMEA 24, please ask us:

If you missed Smartsheet Engage EMEA, keynote speeches and selected sessions are now available to view online here.