July 07, 2011

Best pairing yet: Smartsheet and Wine

Wine Management Systems (WMS)
Pat Oates, CEO
Wine aficionado and information technology veteran Patrick Oates serves as CEO of Wine Management Systems (WMS), located in San Rafael, California. We recently talked with him about WMS, and how Smartsheet is helping the team at WMS be more productive in developing and marketing their SaaS (Software as a Service) application to wineries.

In describing WMS, Oates states their goal very clearly: “We want to be the Salesforce for the wine industry.” As a true multi-tenant SaaS tool, WMS enables small to medium-size wineries to leverage one seamless technology service for managing their vineyard and production process, taxes and compliance, and even the wine club. For the first time, according to Oates, with WMS boutique wineries can leverage the same kind of software solution previously available only to large wineries with large budgets.

Before: the problem

Like many companies, Oates needed his own project management solution in order to successfully serve his customers and move forward in his business. WMS contracts with many computer programmers and developers around the world – from Florida to California to Russia. Coordination across timezones became a stressor and a time suck.

Oates needed a tool for collaboration for his dev team: something that would be adaptable, scalable, but simple. “I used to be a big MS Project user... but people get lost in there. They lose track of why they’re using it,” he said. After experimenting and growing frustrated with complex Excel documents and Google Spreadsheets, Oates found Smartsheet.

After: the solution

“We knew it was fit for us the first day we used it. It was so simple and easy to use. And it got  right to the point,” says Oates. Not only does the technical group use Smartsheet to manage their development efforts, they also use it to track bugs, issues and other programming activities. Within Smartsheet, the team attaches Word docs and other Excel files to share with the team, assigns tasks and deadlines, and sets alerts when deadlines approach. The collaboration features worked like a dream, making life easier for both Oates and his geographically distributed developers.

Smartsheet has also proven crucial for tracking the progress of marketing initiatives such as web site development, customer campaign planning, white paper production and more. Oates says, “It’s a huge boost to our productivity to have a central repository for these projects – a place where we can all look at what we’re developing, assess the project’s status, and plan where we’re going.”

Cheers to organization, to productivity, and to one SaaS app supporting another!

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