Smartsheet.com’s online service allows seamless work collaboration, file sharing, and crowdsourcing with ready-made solutions for project management, pipeline tracking, event planning and more. The company serves customers in more than 40 countries, ranging from owner-operated businesses to divisions of the Fortune 500.
Smartsheet has been on a solid growth trajectory since its 2006 launch. In the beginning, the ability to upload and share files became one of the company’s most heavily used features and also the most storage-intensive. To meet customer needs, Smartsheet needed an inexpensive and scalable storage solution that also had a high level of security and reliability for content storage.
In addition, Smartsheet’s customers were looking for ways to increase productivity via outsourcing of simple tasks and high-volume repetitive work.
Why Amazon Web Services
After examining several solutions for document management, Smartsheet turned to Amazon Web Services (AWS)--Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) in particular--for its storage and delivery platform.
Once Smartsheet made the decision to move to Amazon S3, the company took less than a week to develop and implement it. The company also integrated the AWS API into its existing architecture. Documents are uploaded to Amazon S3 via Smartsheet and then shared between team members across geographies.
Smartsheet also uses Amazon CloudFront, the global content delivery network, to accelerate the delivery of Smartsheet services to its international customers, and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for simulated application load testing.
In addition to using AWS infrastructure services, Smartsheet differentiates its work management and collaboration service by enabling easy point-and-click access to Amazon Mechanical Turk, an on-demand workforce. This capability, labeled Smartsourcing, was launched in February 2009 and provides general-purpose access to paid crowdsourcing to anyone, in any size business, without the need for technical help or process know-how.
The low cost of AWS enabled Smartsheet to try the service with little up-front investment or risk. “Using AWS enables us to focus on core competencies and gives us confidence,” says Mark Mader, CEO of Smartsheet. “As a leader in cloud services, with a proven track record, AWS is a perfect fit with Smartsheet’s managed-service strategy.”
Smartsheet is pleased with the reliability and cost savings of AWS. “Relative to other leading managed service providers, we save more than 75 percent on storage, data transfer, and web acceleration," Mader says. "A lower cost structure makes it possible to offer customers reasonably priced plans – something that both large and small businesses value."
The addition of Amazon Mechanical Turk to Smartsheet's business model has also pleased Smartsheet's customers. Embedding the controls to leverage the 200,000 online workers available through the Amazon Mechanical Turk labor marketplace gives Smartsheet customers access to labor at a fraction the cost of an hourly intern.
Using AWS helps Smartsheet set its customers' minds at ease. “AWS is a trusted, proven brand," Mader says. "In part because we use AWS, our customers experience a high level of reliability and peace of mind in managing their business and personal information in Smartsheet.”