By Mark Emmons
You’ll learn in this webinar recap how:
● An intelligent integration development strategy is instrumental to Smartsheet’s rapid growth.
● Boomi scaled with Smartsheet, supporting the company’s IPO, streamlining critical business processes, and slashing development timelines.
● Visibility into financial data enables Smartsheet to meet compliance requirements like the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act.
If Smartsheet seems like one of those business tools everyone uses, there’s a reason for that. The collaboration software program is pretty much everywhere. For example, more than 90% of Fortune 100 companies trust Smartsheet to simplify work management projects.
A pivotal contributor to the company’s success is a commitment to listening to customers. Smartsheet asks them to describe their everyday challenges and then works to solve them by streamlining and automating time-consuming, manual processes.
Smartsheet applies the same philosophy internally.
“We have a transparent culture, and we’re all there to help each other and grow the business,” said Lead Business Systems Developer Brett Lemoine. “We’re trying to free people up to do more meaningful work. We’re constantly working with our business analysts where we’ll sit down and say, ‘How can we make your life easier?’”
That’s a crucial, behind-the-scenes reason for Smartsheet’s remarkable growth. In our recent webinar, Lemoine talked about his role as an integration leader, the close collaboration between IT and lines of business, and Boomi’s place in Smartsheet’s connectivity strategy.
Here are 10 takeaways.
The Role of Integration Development at Smartsheet
Lemoine describes Smartsheet as a “Swiss Army knife” that helps businesses, big and small, become more efficient. But with success came challenges around scaling.
“As our company continues to grow, the business requirements keep changing,” he said. “The job is a mix of building really cool stuff and stomping around with a fire extinguisher. The creative part is why we keep finding new ways to use Boomi. Smartsheet constantly is improving because our customers want new things and more capabilities. I see Boomi in the same way.”
The Boomi AtomSphere Platform Is Fast and Easy To Learn
Lemoine launched the internal integration practice at Smartsheet in 2017, starting on the same day as the new vice president of IT. “He said, ‘I understand we have some integrations running in Boomi. Do you know Boomi?’” Lemoine recalled. “I said, ‘Nope, but I’m going to learn it.’ I ran into him in the hallway about four weeks later and told him I now knew everything about Boomi. That’s the learning curve. I already was up to speed.”
Overcoming Skepticism About Low-Code Development
“That showed me Boomi would work for us,” he said. “Then, as business requirements changed, I saw the real power of Boomi. I could make changes pretty quickly, review it with the business user, turn it around, and get it into production quickly.”
Bridging the IT-Business Gap
The simplicity of the visual interface enables Lemoine’s team to explain the integration process to business users.
“One of the great things about Boomi is we can say, ‘Here’s where the data flows from Salesforce. Here are the transformation steps it goes through. Here’s where we need to reconcile the data for things like order invoices in our ERP system,’” Lemoine explained. “We don’t spend time creating diagrams and printing documents that no one will read. It’s a natural way to guide conversations and talk through outcomes. You’re co-building something with them, and it’s pretty refreshing.”
Enabling IPO Readiness
Lemoine said that when Smartsheet went through its 2018 IPO, Boomi was a “lynchpin” in the process. He jokes that as a young public company, they had an “IPO starter pack.” They included standard technologies such as Salesforce for the CRM, NetSuite for the ERP, and Coupa for expense management.
“The number of branded connectors that come with Boomi is nice,” he said. “Without having to figure out the particular quirks of each API, I can drag out a branded connector, which will iterate over things like Salesforce objects and move information into different systems. And then, boom, I’m done.”
Easy Auditing for Compliance and Governance
When he visits the dentist, Lemoine said, he likes to be one of the boring patients with no problems. “I also want to be one of the most boring people for our auditors,” he added.
Boomi helps by meeting Sarbanes-Oxley requirements for transporting sensitive information between systems and tracking financial and customer data. “Because Boomi has an underlying audit API, I can show an auditor the process reporting, who has logged into the system, and who has done deployments,” Lemoine said. “It’s typical for companies to say, ‘Oh, it’s audit season, and we need to prepare to meet with the auditors. My team is always ready for an audit. With Boomi as a backbone, we’ve structured our integrations to walk anybody through our processes at any time. That gives us a lot of comfort and confidence.”
Saving Time on Integrations
For Smartsheet, development time depends on the scale and complexity of the project. But overall, the process is up to 30 percent faster with Boomi. “I would say for a simple integration that takes data from System A, does some kind of transformation on it, and then puts it in System B, we can do that much quicker with Boomi than traditional software tools,” Lemoine said.
The Importance of the Boomi Community
The platform’s reliability and promptness of technical support exceeded his expectations, Lemoine said. But what especially struck him as unique is the Boomiverse. “There’s a very active community of Boomi developers who are sharing information,” he added. “It’s terrific. Also, all of the online learning is free, and it’s there to take. Combined with a good, supportive community, I feel we’re well set up for success.”
Preparing for the Next Big Project
Top of mind for Lemoine’s team is a focus on more consistent data across the business. One example is ensuring information about a customer is the same in Salesforce and NetSuite. “The next big effort for Smartsheet is really good data stewardship, and that involves good architecture,” Lemoine said.
The Rise of Integration
The size of the team at Smartsheet has grown with the company. In the past year, they’ve hired two more developers and a QA specialist.
“That’s a testament to the effectiveness of automating repetitive processes and turning business requirements into functioning software,” Lemoine said. “I tell my team that anytime you deploy, the clock is ticking. Growing companies always have changing business requirements, and platforms like Boomi help us respond to those changes quickly. It’s been a fun journey.”