Creating Solutions from Scratch

Unlock the full power of SmartSuite to customize workflow, bolster unique processes and visualize data for improved business intelligence

Jon Darbyshire avatar
Written by Jon Darbyshire
Updated over a week ago

SmartSuite brings together traditional elements of a database, spreadsheet, documents, collaboration tools, file management tools, and automation capabilities in a way that empowers teams to deliver work faster, better - and smarter.

All these capabilities are included in what we call "Solutions," which can be built from scratch similar to how you'd create a spreadsheet or downloaded as an industry specific templates. This article dives into some tips and best practices to get you started and includes links to our series of tutorials that step you through the process of creating from scratch.

Before You Begin

Check Out the Solution Library

Every subscription to SmartSuite includes access to our Solution Library, where you'll find fully built Solutions, crafted in partnership with experts in their trade and available to install in your workspace with a single click.

We recommend starting with a trip to the Solution Library - even installing a base solution and modifying to your specific organization, workflow, or process needs will save time and effort.

From your Home Page, simply click "Add New Solution" and choose to Start with a Template to open the Solution Library.

Starting from Scratch

To start from scratch, simply click the + Add New Solution on your homepage and "Start from scratch" to open a new empty solution.

Get Familiar with The SmartSuite Structure

You wouldn't attempt to build a house without understanding the basics of its structure from foundation to roof, so it's important to pause and soak up some fundamental concepts of how SmartSuite works.

Take a quick read of The Structure of SmartSuite article to understand how Solutions work with Tables, which work with Records and Fields.

Let's use a real world example of how we use SmartSuite internally to project manage all of our member-facing content - including this very article.

Below you'll see:

  • We created a Solution and named it "SmartSuite Content".

  • We created Tables to capture content, requirement, statuses, assignments, etc. related to various types of content, including "Help Center", "In-App Help", "Email Templates" and general "Documents".

  • Each Record (row in the Grid) represents a unique piece of content. In this case, a record named "Creating Solutions from Scratch".

  • Each column contains a Field in the Table The cell where the row and column intersect contains the value for the field in the record.

Expanding the row opens the Record window where the full content is displayed. Additional features, such as Comments, are available from there.

Why Build Custom Solutions?

Instead of changing your processes to fit a system, we've build SmartSuite to adapt and change to fit your workflows, use cases, and unique team or business needs.

Why are custom solutions useful?

  • You are in a specific industry with unique requirements and processes not currently available in our Solution Library.

  • You are innovating, creating new products and services, or transforming processes for bringing existing offerings to market. Perhaps old systems can't adapt, so you're working with spreadsheets, presentations, shared drives, shoestring, and bubble gum to keep processes together.

  • You are consolidating existing processes and systems onto SmartSuite's flexible framework. This is a classic conversion from "As Is" into "To Be," particularly for Enterprise customers. Translating the way work was done in the past into SmartSuite is key to keep work flowing.

  • You need a centralized platform: With the current systems or lack of systems with fragmented data everywhere. One system for Marketing over here, a CRM system for Sales over there, some HR files in a Dropbox folder. SmartSuite can be used to pull these business functions into a common, connected space.

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