Marilyn manages the marketing team at Acme Valve Company, a manufacturer of electronic valves for the petroleum industry. Like most executives, Marilyn is dividing her time today among several important priorities. SmartDraw lets her communicate better and be more productive.
Acme will be holding its annual sales meeting next month in Houston. The setup of the room is crucial, as the meeting will involve presentations and interaction between product engineers and sales executives. Marilyn begins her day by designing the layout of the room her company will be using at the Hyatt Regency.
She uses a SmartDraw floor plan template to quickly create a room with the correct dimensions. Using the built-in symbol library, she adds pre-scaled tables in a U-shaped arrangement. This will allow for open discussion and an access area for demonstrators to walk among and interact with the participants. A podium and presenters' table are set at the front of the room. Tables along either side of the room are set up for displaying products for viewing between sessions or at breaks. Everything will fit nicely. She adds notes indicating where the coffee and refreshments should go, and where the product engineers will sit.
Marilyn saves her visual on SmartShare and shares the plan with Jason, the events manager of the hotel. He receives a notification by email. Even though Jason doesn't own a copy of SmartDraw, he can click on the link in his email and view Marilyn's layout on his web browser. He can zoom and scroll. He can even see the notes Marilyn added. He has everything he needs to set up the room just as Marilyn wants it.
Since Marilyn started using SmartDraw to communicate the layouts of rooms and trade show booths, there are no more surprises when she arrives at an event.
The marketing group meets each week to monitor progress on the projects it is working on and discuss new initiatives. Instead of using written minutes and a white board, Marilyn uses a projector to display a SmartDraw meeting chart.
She begins the meeting by reviewing the actions from last week. The group is working on a website redesign to correspond with the upcoming launch of a new product, the E3 valve. The action items assigned to each person in the team, and their completion status, are clearly visible to everyone in the room.
At a glance, the green checks show that everyone has completed the home page and landing page work. The specifications page is in process. It looks as though Kyle is nearly finished writing the copy and Jilberto has started the art design.
With a click, Marilyn switches to Project Chart view, so that any adjustments to schedules or updates to task completion percentage can be made.
Marilyn reviews the upcoming sales meeting. Switching back to the mind map view, she adds a new shape to represent the meeting as an upcoming task. The team brainstorms the issue and adds details, including the production of graphics for the demonstration tables, scripts for the presentations and staffing for the event.
Switching back to the assignment view, Marilyn drags the detailed tasks to the person who will be responsible for carrying them out. Marilyn will be responsible for managing the production of the graphics for the new E3 valve. As they discuss these items, each specific task is delegated to the appropriate person. Here's what the project outline looks like, once assignments are completed:
As the meeting concludes, Marilyn sends the new tasks to each member of the team by clicking the "notify" button. The tasks show up as new "actions" in each person's SmartShare account, where they can update the status as the tasks are completed from the web or even their phone.
Using SmartDraw for meetings really keeps her group organized and efficient. Their commitments are visible to everyone in the group and the actions in SmartDraw are a daily reminder not only to get things done, but to work on the most urgent and important issues first.
After lunch, Marilyn looks at her action list in SmartShare. She is accountable for managing the production of E3 valve graphics at the upcoming sales meeting.
Last year, Marilyn set up a standard set of steps for producing trade show graphics. These involve coordinating product specifications from engineering, copywriting, graphics design and production. She created a SmartDraw project file template to manage it.
She opens the template in SmartDraw and saves a copy under the name E3 Valve. The project already includes tasks assigned to her copywriter, designer and production manager. She re-sets the start dates for the project. The arrows on the timeline indicate dependencies. For example, engineering has to complete the specs before Kyle can begin writing copy. Each step in the E3 graphics project is dependent on the one before it, so Marilyn knows that communication is crucial.
She sends the project tasks to each team member's SmartShare account using the Notify button. They can view these tasks in SmartShare on their mobile devices, and send back status updates or comments. Marilyn marks her production task as 10% complete.
Since she began using SmartDraw to plan and manage projects, Marilyn no longer has to go from office to office requesting work or checking up on progress. Her team also appreciates being able to stay in the loop. Everyone saves time and things no longer "fall through the cracks."
Later this afternoon, Marilyn will be giving a presentation to the management group on the preparations for the Houston sales meeting. She opens the SmartDraw presentation builder template and adds a slide with a mind map format. She clicks to edit the mind map and uses it to itemize the key goals of the meeting, the customers who have been invited, and the topics to be covered. For the next slide she adds the layout of the room she made this morning and then the visual from her marketing group meeting. Finally, she adds a slide showing a timeline of the schedule for the day. One click can build the presentation to PowerPoint, but Marilyn wants to show the presentation directly from SmartShare so that she has more flexibility.
Marilyn walks into the conference room. The PC in this room is not working and is in the process of being replaced. Not to worry. She connects her iPhone to the projector and clicks the SmartShare app. She opens her presentation and delivers it right from her iPhone to the full-sized projection screen. It looks great. Each slide is animated (or sequenced) automatically by SmartDraw, letting her deliver the information in a step-by-step manner. Roger Morelli, the CEO, is impressed with both the presentation and the fact that Marilyn was able to deliver it from her phone.
A couple of years ago, Acme's IT Director, Nick, discovered SmartDraw. He began delivering presentations in a visual format, and then found that he could use SmartDraw to organize his vast amounts of information in a central, easy-to-access set of visuals. Soon, it was clear that the whole company could benefit from using SmartDraw.
Since then, SmartDraw has become a way of life at Acme Valve Company. Marilyn has observed that her marketing team is not only more productive, they're happier. Their roles and responsibilities are more clearly defined, they waste less time in meetings, and lines of communication are much better.