News and thoughts from CS Odessa, maker of the ConceptDraw product line: ConceptDraw PRO, ConceptDraw PROJECT and ConceptDraw MINDMAP.

Monday, September 28, 2009

2nd Annual 2009 CS Odessa Customer Survey Results

In August 2009, we here at CS Odessa, sent out our 2nd annual User Satisfaction survey, which went out to over 3,700 customers selected at random who had bought one of the ConceptDraw products in 2008. Almost 20% of our customers who were emailed participated in the survey process this year.

The survey was designed to depict:
  • product satisfaction on the Macintosh and PC platforms
  • satisfaction level with product support received

Compared with the feedback and responses we received from our initial Customer Service benchmark survey from 2008, we at CS Odessa are excited about the results of 2009. In comparison to last year, our scores have increased. Based on the responses from our customers we are also able to identify areas that need improvement.

By using a random selection of customers we recieved a good picture of the value our customers see in the products they purchase from us.

A score of 5 represents the highest degree of satisfaction with the product or support level

We would like to thank all the participants of the survey. We highly appreciate the ranking given to our products and services by our customers. Our objective is to work for our customers to further improve the value they recieve from us.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Project Status Reports, Map Progress

by Gregory Zhukov

Project status details are very important to keep project managers and participants informed and continually moving towards accomplishing goals.

Detailed and professionally presented project status descriptions enable stakeholders to remain fully informed about project performance. For the Project Manager, it also means being ahead of the game when it comes to being alerted of any necessary changes to original project plans or issues that may arise-- way before any long term damage is done. Project participants are also able to maintain a common vision and goal in regards to project progress.

Professional and visually appealing status reports create a clear view of project performance process to all project participants. The objective of a well developed report is to break in the gyre of chaotic information flow and present in a format that transforms hundreds of hours of work into a visual representation that takes an average of 30 seconds to interpret.

You can use mind mapping to depict and describe project status. Only five different mind map types are needed to completely describe project status. An easy way to do this is by using the innovative Visual Reports functionality within ConceptDraw Office.

Visual Reports of ConceptDraw Office:
  • Project Status Mind Map
    Displays the whole picture of a project process in one single view. It can assist one in making adjustments in current project strategy during implementation.
  • Task Status Mind Map
    Shows what tasks were completed, what tasks are in, or scheduled for the future, and if they are on time or critical. This mind map is used to track current status of project tasks.
  • Completed Tasks Mind Map
    Contains all completed project tasks. This mind map presents an overview of work that is already performed.
  • Task in Progress Mind Map
    Relays project tasks which have not yet been completed. All tasks that are on time and are critical are displayed. This a great map for task management.
  • Milestones Mind Map
    All project milestones are displayed here. It shows whether a project is on track for completion as expected. This mind map displays a project’s progress.

Project reports are an important part of project management communication. There is a huge need to deliver project status data to all project participants in the most effective manner. While visual formats have proven to be the most effective form of information perception, email is also the most powerful tool for sharing such information.

Visual reports generated using Visual Reports in ConceptDraw Office are delivered to designated recipients as email attachments with a message body preview. The generation and delivery of these mind maps is a great way to keep everyone on your team on the same path.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Selling Solutions

In any economic climate it is important that your sales force stays focused on the tasks at hand to maintain product sales and development, be well trained in product and business processes, keep motivated, and communicate in consistent and effective languages and format.

Training is critical to sales force alignment. Having your sales team go through continued sales training gives everyone on your team a boost in performance and motivation.

My personal favorite type of sales training is “Solution Selling”. Unfortunately, many organizations are unable to budget time or money for this.

With time and money being a universal roadblock with most companies in this tight economic period, a good alternative and cost effective training program is a seminar by Fred Pryor Seminars called “The Ultimate Sales Workshop”.

The seminar is one day in length and is very affordable for even the smallest of businesses. By sending a group of trainees, the cost per individual goes down significantly, making it even less expensive.

With enough attendees, an interesting learning dynamic occurs at the seminar, as groups learn from their participation and the participation of others.

Below is a ConceptDraw MINDMAP that outlines the content covered in this budget sales seminar. To see the entire interactive mind map please click here.

For more information on the “Solution Selling” seminar by Fred Pryor Seminars, please visit their website at

Monday, September 14, 2009

Taking Notes With ConceptDraw MINDMAP

Aggghhh. September! School bells ringing, books-a-buying, and mad rushes for necessary supplies for classes….

If this time of year means anything to you, there is a good chance you are a student or teacher of some sort. It also means lots of reading, studying, homework, projects, and study groups. All of these tasks have one thing besides hard work in common. Notes.

Notes are necessary when reading textbooks or other course material, attending a class or lecture, studying for an assignment or test, brainstorming or getting projects started, and when working in study groups.
With so many students obviously taking notes as part of their academic career, it’s a wonder why so many times, notes go unread, are hard to read, fail to have any structure or organization, and sometimes… are just incomplete.

Some basic principles on effective and traditional (boring) note taking:

• Always be prepared with necessary tools to take your notes.
• Use visual effects to help the brain interact and store information.
• Leave blank spaces so you can add comments or notes later.
• Use abbreviations and symbols whenever possible. Phrases are also better than sentences.
• Highlight or underline unfamiliar terms or concepts as a reminder to look them up later.
• Pay attention to content, especially information that is repeated, written on the board, or is followed by charts or diagrams.
• Review and edit your notes frequently.

These are really useful tips, but wouldn’t it be absolutely fabulous if there was a magical software program, catered for academics, tailored for note taking, and contains functionality to organize and enhance information?

There is!

With ConceptDraw MINDMAP you can easily take notes, brainstorm ideas, and facilitate study groups using images, links to other documents, mind maps, and websites, graphs, and the use of sub-topics.

ConceptDraw MINDMAP is an effective tool for creating, managing, and sharing notes in the form of learning maps, otherwise known as mind maps.

A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea.

If you are not familiar with mind maps, ConceptDraw MINDMAP is an easy tool that doesn’t take long to get used to. Before you know it, you will be taking notes faster, retaining more information, and have more time to spend… reading more textbooks.

Here are some (exciting!) tips and hints for effective and easy (awesome) note-taking using mind maps:
• Determine the central theme of your mind map. For example, if you are reading or in a class lecture about Economics, your main topic might be “Fair Trade Movement”.

• As you continue reading or listening, add sub-topics to your main topic. You can even add notes to your sub-topics, add links to websites and other documents.

• You can add images, icons, and change fonts/colors as you go along or when you are done. Who says notes can’t become pieces of art (or at least enjoyable to look at!).

• As you continue reading, brainstorming, or paying attention to a lecture, you can add more sub-topics to other sub-topics.

ConceptDraw MINDMAP has tons of features and functionality to make your mind map and brainstorming sessions as interactive and functional as you want. But don’t take our word for it! See for yourself here.

Contact the ConceptDraw Sales Department at  1-877-441-1150 x 3, for special pricing for students and faculty!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

CS Odessa Announces Support of Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Ahead of the Pack.

CS Odessa, the leading provider of business productivity and visualization software solutions for both the Macintosh and PC, has recently announced that all of the current versions of their ConceptDraw productivity software product line now fully supports the Apple Macintosh OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard.

This is a no charge update available for all CS Odessa customers who have the current shipping versions of any of the ConceptDraw products. Customers who currently have previous versions of the ConceptDraw products can upgrade to their products to the latest release for a nominal charge.

Oleg Bocharnikov, Head of Product Management Department for CS Odessa, commented, “Snow Leopard is extremely important to Apple and their customers. Therefore it was important for us to get this right. With Snow Leopard shipping earlier than we had anticipated, we were absolutely focused on achieving platform support as quickly as possible.”

Yuriy Varbanets, Product Manager for ConceptDraw MINDMAP, also added, “Our Development and QA team worked inexorably to ready our support of Snow Leopard. We invite anyone who may still be waiting for a Snow Leopard supported application to trial our available solutions. We have 30-day, no obligation trials that enable users to really get to know the products completely before purchasing. Our focus on great customer value has been winning us many friends over the last 12 months.”