Meet Nick, the IT director for Acme Valve Company.
When he discovered SmartDraw a couple of years ago, Nick began using it for presentations. The PowerPoint builder feature lets him create presentations from his visual diagrams with just a click. The SmartShare builder feature lets him do the same, then show them from anywhere using a web browser or mobile device.
Soon after he started using it, Nick discovered that SmartDraw is a versatile program that helps him to organize and track his considerable volume of technical data quickly. Now, using it with the SmartShare cloud service, he finds that SmartDraw eases his workload by making information more readily accessible, communication clearer, and projects easier to plan and manage.
Nick begins the day by creating a rack diagram of the layout for Acme's new private cloud infrastructure. The equipment has just been delivered to their server room and Jim, one of his technicians, will be there this morning to install everything. Using SmartDraw, Nick clicks the Rack Diagram icon and selects a pre-scaled set of rack shelves.
He quickly designs the layout he wants Jim to set up. He does this by simply dragging server symbols into the rack layout template. He just clicks and types to add labels. Then, he links a PDF file of the technical guide from the manufacturers' web sites to each component. After the diagram is complete, he shares it with Jim, via SmartShare.
Jim receives notification by email. He takes out his iPad and clicks on the email link. This opens the visual of Nick's rack diagram in his SmartShare account. He needs to consult the Dell technical guide for one of the R710 servers. By touching the server image, the link takes him right to the document he needs.
Communicating this way is so clear and instantaneous that Nick gets fewer questions from Jim and the installation gets done right the first time.
Later in the morning, Nick sets up a virtual meeting with Jim and the rest of the team. He opens the SmartDraw file for this project, selects the assignment view and displays it on his desktop.
All team members can see the task for which each person is responsible. Icons show progress and indicate which tasks are at risk of coming in late. There is clear visibility and accountability.
Jim uses his iPad to mark progress on installing the SAN to Complete and this is now indicated in the document.
During the meeting, tasks are updated and added in real time. At the end of the meeting Nick clicks the Notify button and the new and updated tasks are instantly distributed to the people responsible for them, ready for follow up before the next meeting.
Since Nick began using SmartDraw for meetings and project tracking, he's seen dramatic improvement from his team in on-time project performance. He also holds fewer, but much more efficient meetings.
After lunch, Nick is meeting with the management team to give a presentation reviewing the progress on the cloud project. He opens the SmartDraw file for the project and switches to the timeline view. This shows the new completion dates of each major task, based on the changes made in the meeting this morning. This would make a good addition to his presentation, so he opens the PowerPoint file and inserts the timeline as a new slide with one click from SmartDraw. The slide is already animated to show each milestone, one by one. He decides that the rack diagram would make a nice addition, so he inserts a slide of this diagram the same way. Now he is ready for his presentation.
A couple of years ago, when Nick began using SmartDraw to add visuals to his presentations, the rest of the management team was so impressed they all requested a copy. Now everyone uses it.
The next phase of the project is to establish a disaster recovery site. Nick has to plan and manage this project. He begins by opening a Project Mind Map template and adding shapes for each of the main tasks:
For each major task starting with Research Site Locations, he adds shapes for each sub task, and so on until he has built a complete hierarchy of tasks. The mind map format makes it easy to visualize the details of the project, move tasks around and add new ones. He can see the same set of tasks as a traditional Gantt chart by changing the view.
In the Gantt view, Nick adds estimates for duration and due dates and assigns responsibilities for each task to members of his IT team.
Planning projects with SmartDraw makes the process of planning projects much faster and saves hours of data entry. Plus, the visual project charts are easy to read, share and update.
Nick wants to make sure that his plan is complete and timeframes are reasonable. Seeking their input, he shares the project file with the rest of the team. Before SmartDraw, this type of collaboration would have required getting everyone together for a meeting. But now, everyone can work in asynchronous fashion. They find that they meet less and get more actual work done.
Each member gets an email with a link to the file and a note from Nick asking them to review it and make revisions.
Jim and each of the other team members see the disaster recovery project, which is automatically shown in their recent file list as soon as they open SmartDraw. Any changes they make update the one common copy on SmartShare. Everyone on the team knows they are always working with the latest version. Since SmartShare maintains a complete version history, Nick isn't worried about any modifications they make. He can always roll back to an earlier version, if needed.
Collaborating on a dynamic document like this is so much easier than when Nick used to email copies of project files around to the group.
Nick uses SmartDraw to improve the way he communicates with his team and others. Information is clearer and more easily accessible, and progress is faster and more visible. He feels less stress, gets better results and is respected as a trend-setting leader in his organization.