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

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Will Flow Charts Become Mandatory Business Documents?

I was talking to a local marketing company CEO last week and got on the subject of flow charts. As it happened, the CEO had received a rare complaint from a client recently, which led the CEO to try ConceptDraw PRO for the first time.

Things Just Seems to Get More Complicated
Her decision to use PRO grew from her sense that the problem with the client really had to do with the fact that neither the client--nor her own staff--really understood the process behind the creation of marketing material. She said that at one time the materials had been so simple that there was no need to document the process. But that had changed as the market grew more complex.

And so very early one morning the CEO got up and opened ConceptDraw Pro for the first time. A few hours later, she had a flow chart that she now gives to all of her clients.

Not Just A Good Idea: It Could Become Law
Hearing her story reminded me of something another ConceptDraw PRO user told me. This person is an accountant with one of the Big Four accounting firms. She said that more and more often, the body that regulates auditors, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board or PCAOB, is asking companies to provide it with a flow chart that explains the controls the company uses to manage its accounting processes.

So on one hand we have a company that's creating flow charts to help it communicate with clients and with itself. And then we have a government agency that now requests (and, reportedly, will soon require) public companies to create these kinds of flow charts.

Do Pictures and Images Count Yet?
This is interesting to me because it marks what I think is a shift in acceptance among business users of so-called "graphic documents" like flow charts and, yes, mind maps. You might well argue that there are all kinds of graphic documents used today, such as project management charts and slide shows. I guess what I find significant is that graphic documents are now being used to communicate non-technical subjects and that they are often the prime document, not supporting, document.

Once You Make It Clear, It's Clear
So... when was the last time you communicated using graphic or visual images to represent the information you want to share? Are parts of your business hard to explain to your clients? Would it help you to have a clear represention of a business process? If you bought ConceptDraw OFFICE and have never played around with ConceptDraw PRO, give it a try. There is a lot of clarity--and maybe even some peace of mind--to be found.

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