Since its first inception in the early 70s, spreadsheets have become a vital part of business and project planning. In the past 50 years, spreadsheets have evolved significantly from their initial purpose in computerising accounting worksheets to be able to manage, plan and coordinate entire projects.
Two software that has taken spreadsheets to another level is Smartsheet and Airtable. While both software might share the same roots, they do have differences that might make one of them a better fit for your team.
In this blog, we will explain each software and list out some of their core differences to help you make a more informed decision for your team.
What is Smartsheet?
Founded in 2005, Smartsheet is a project management software that acts very much like a levelled-up excel spreadsheet with inbuilt collaboration features. Through its very familiar interface, Smartsheet helps teams manage projects, allocate tasks and collaborate amongst each other through its web-based platform. Because of its simplified functions and features as well as its integrations with prominent enterprise solutions like Microsoft Teams and Adobe, Smartsheets has become a prominent project management competitor to the likes of Wrike and Microsoft Project.
What is Airtable?
Founded in 2021, Airtable is a cloud-based collaboration platform that is a hybrid between spreadsheets and databases. What this means is that it aims to have the features of a database within the format of a spreadsheet. It essentially allows users to build custom collaborative apps with little to no coding knowledge so they can make solutions that respond to their needs. It has become a popular project management solution for NGOs and marketing teams, smaller teams that would benefit from the free version available.
While this two software may have similar foundations, there are several core differences between them. We break down their differences into four main categories – Project management features, usability and support, integrations, and pricing.
Extended reading: Wrike vs Smartsheet: The Comparison and Alternative
Smartsheet vs Airtable: Project Management features
While neither may be able to count as full-fledged project management software, they are commonly used as project management tools to a certain capacity. Smartsheet has several in-built project management features such as time-tracking, establishing dependencies and workflows, real-time budgets and reporting as well as linking up to resource management tools. While Airtable does have some great visual tools that help track work and progress, it is limited to mainly task management instead of more holistic project management.
Smartsheet vs Airtable: Accessibility, Usability and Support
When thinking about usability, we often have to consider how easily they can be accessed by users around the world, how easy it is to use the software itself and how the service can be contacted for troubleshooting needs.
Firstly, both Airtable and Smartsheet are available in web and mobile forms for both iOS and Android, Windows and Mac. However, they differ greatly in their language availabilities. Smartsheet is currently available in 8 languages – French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and English. Sadly, Airtable is currently only available in English.
Secondly, both interfaces are relatively streamlined. However, Airtable’s set-up may require some time getting used to as it builds custom apps instead of simply adding to the much-familiar Excel spreadsheet format like Smartsheet. Your team can build some incredibly detailed apps within Airtable, but it will take some time the achieve.
Finally, when it comes to application support, Smartsheet has the upper hand over Airtable. Smartsheet allows global users to contact them through phone, live chat support, tickets, email and provides additional training content. Airtable provides the same with the exception of phone and ticket support. This can make it quite inconvenient for users to raise, track and solve problems they run into.
Smartsheet vs Airtable: Integrations
Integrations are the backbone of any effective and successful solution today. Teams are often using several different apps, tools and services that would prove inconvenient if they could not integrate or connect with one another. While both have impressive integrations, Smartsheet edges out Airtable yet again in this department.
Smartsheet currently offers over 50 in-built integrations with leading enterprise apps such as Adobe, Microsoft and Google Drive as well as having an open API to allow for custom integrations to be built. Airtable has over 30 in-built integrations with popular apps like LinkedIn, GMail and MailChimp as well as some custom API capabilities. However, it is important to know most of the integrations require third-party services like Zapier, Integromat and Automate.io. Make sure to check the full integration lists of Smartsheet and Airtable‘s before making your final selection.
Smartsheet vs Airtable: Pricing
Pricing is the area where Airtable may have the upper hand over Smartsheet.
Airtable is available in four different tiers with both paid and free versions available. Their cheapest paid option starts from $10/ user per month. On the other hand, Smartsheet does not offer a free version and its cheapest standard option starts at $14/ user per month.
As you move up in the tiers for both software, you also get more features and extended user capacity. Make sure to check which pricing package would be best suited for your team on their websites.
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