Nokia Siemens Networks is one of the largest telecommunications infrastructure companies in the world with operations in 150 countries. While the company provides world-class telecom hardware and software, Nokia Siemens considers the ongoing maintenance of its long term client base its pride and joy. No one knows the value of a strong long-term client bond better than Dr. Markus Uhlirz, who likens that mutual state of bliss to a strong and healthy marriage. Read how SmartDraw helps put the "I do's" in Nokia Siemens' relationships.
Dr. Markus Uhlirz is a business performance manager for the managed services business line at Nokia Siemens Networks Austrian office.
"We perform managed services in the telecom space, negotiating contracts with clients on a multi-year basis," Markus explains. "When you're negotiating long-term arrangements, there must be special attention to enable both sides to agree on conditions that form a workable basis over a number of years."
The ultimate outcome of Markus' work is like that of a marriage.
"Managed services is like a marriage. It only works well if both sides are happy and fulfilling their promises. Otherwise you have clients terminating contracts," he says. "My job is to make sure that the business agreements work for both sides; that all involved parties can agree to it; and then, setting out the ground rules for the work to be done.
In the fall of 2008, Markus's skills as a 'matchmaker' were put to the test.
"I needed to convey a complex interaction between three different companies that explained who's doing what, when and how. I was having trouble getting my thoughts down on paper in the right manner," he recalls.
That day, he searched the Internet for a visualization tool and found SmartDraw.
"I began to use SmartDraw as soon as I downloaded it. It was very intuitive to use and I felt comfortable immediately."
Markus solved his problem in less than 60 minutes (Fig.1).
"It took me less than an hour to produce a convincing visualization of a complex process flowchart for an ongoing customer case. In minutes, I was incorporating swim lanes and color coding and before I knew it, the whole graphic just spoke for itself. When all of the parties involved saw it, they understood it and said, 'this will work!'"
Markus now considers SmartDraw an important tool for client negotiations.
"Confusion abounds when you spend endless hours talking (or writing) in circles. Where there is confusion, there is frustration, which can lead to clients being unhappy. You spend so much time on repairing misunderstandings, where you could already be building a constructive solution. Visualizing processes is what is needed, and sometimes the clarity is half the solution when it comes to client negotiations. This is why SmartDraw is so important to me."
Markus considers the ready-to-use templates and samples in the SmartDraw library a prime feature as well.
"When I discovered the templates in SmartDraw I was reminded of classes in business school," he explains. "The templates recalled memories about all those methodologies I had learned earlier (and then forgotten!), but which are very applicable for my daily needs."
The 'memory jog' that SmartDraw provides might be one of its most powerful benefits, Markus admits.
"There are so many templates for business and marketing theories and processes in it; most are not stunningly new but they're all there, collected in one place, with pre-formatted layouts and simply ready to use. They spark many 'aha!' moments that I find myself creating visuals that work on so many levels."
Today, Markus uses SmartDraw for flowcharting, setting up argument lines, in presentations, and for many other uses.
"I've only been using SmartDraw for six weeks, but I find it more and more a tool that I actively hunt for."
Markus says he probably would have used Visio for his initial client flowcharting need if he hadn't found SmartDraw, but, "Visio can be rather 'techy' and cumbersome. It doesn't have the depth of business templates that SmartDraw has, and with each type of graphic you want to draw, you need to start over with a blank sheet or recycle a piece of work from a previous assignment. Then, if you do that, you're always stuck with what you've already done. SmartDraw's ease of visualization saves a lot of time that you'd otherwise waste with mundane graphics tools.'
SmartDraw's name fits exactly what it does: it's a very smart way of drawing."