In the briefing room: Smartsheet for Google Apps

Last week, Google announced the Google Apps Marketplace, where customers of its Google Apps business software suite can search, download, and manage third party business applications that integrate with core Google Apps such as Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar.

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While there are a plethora of applications available in the marketplace, and that number is certain to grow, we wanted to a look at one company’s offerings to see where the integration points were and what the benefits for the knowledge worker might be.

Smartsheet, which we first wrote about in October 2008, has taken its collaborative spreadsheet solution and released Google App offerings including Sales Pipeline Management, Crowdsourcing, and Project Management.  The new applications provide hooks into Gmail, Google Docs including spreadsheets, and contacts.  The applications are installed in a company’s Google Apps domain and are accessed via the “More” drop down menu on the top the screen in Gmail.  The integration enables single-sign on with OpenID, management of Smartsheet from the Google Apps control panel, the ability to import/export Google spreadsheets, attach Google Docs to cells, and import contact information from Gmail.  Future plans include full integration with Google Calendar, to enable project plans to be overlaid with personal calendar data.

All functionality in the Google Apps versions of Smartsheet are the same as in the company’s regular releases; indeed, consumer Gmail users can already export/import spreadsheets and attach Google Docs from the regular Smartsheet offerings in addition to being able to use the OpenID single-sign on.  Given the existing integration capabilities, the main benefit that Smartsheet users will enjoy with the new Google App version is the integration into the Gmail interface.

For end users of Google Apps, the benefits of integration between Smartsheet’s offerings, Gmail, and the rest of the Google Apps are obvious; more users will be exposed to the unique functionality of Smartsheet.

Cody Burke is a senior analyst at Basex.

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