Our chat with Peter Shay, COO at Avideon, provided us with another intriguing use case for Lucidchart. But it also revealed that we’ve got a strong business process team in Baltimore made up of powerful Lucidchart advocates—and we didn’t even know about it.
“Every client we engage with ends up using Lucidchart,” Peter explains. “Clients like the interactive nature and ability visualize processes—an image really is worth a thousand words.”
This made our day.
Avideon is a Salesforce.com professional services company that differentiates itself with strong management consulting skills, process, and methodology. They help companies strategize, plan and align their business processes with Salesforce and the Force.com platforms to support business operations. But they aren’t just implementing Salesforce—they’re helping clients with the hard work that is crucial to getting the most out of the Salesforce platform. Lucidchart is an integral part of that process from definition to delivery.
“We help the business align and think through things necessary to be successful with a platform like Salesforce. Salesforce is an amazing platform, but unless you plan beforehand and decide how to do things internally, you will only accelerate your points of failure,” Peter explains.
Peter and his team help companies refine their existing business processes, and then they make sure their Salesforce instance will drive the appropriate behavior for success.
Optimizing business processes
As Avideon starts working with a company, Peter and his team visit the client for a business process review. During that time, they meet with the key stakeholders for a big whiteboard session to review the organization’s current business process. For sales and marketing, it’s looking at the process for lead to closed won opportunity. For service, it’s examining issue to resolution. For operations, it’s going over the delivery process. Based on the dialogue in the room, Peter is able to gain an understanding of how leadership would like the business to operate.
Avideon starts to see the gaps between the current state and that optimal state and identifies improvements that need to be made. Based on meeting notes, Avideon uses Lucidchart to perfect the current process and outline the ideal state.
Prior to Lucidchart, Avideon used hand-drawn diagrams limited to the size of a single piece of paper or diagramming in on-premise Visio or Gliffy to build his process maps. Now, they create colorful and polished diagrams of any size that are easy for a client to read and comprehend. The process maps include swimlanes so that different departments understand their role in this process. They publish the diagram and send a unique URL to the client so they can view the diagram and provide feedback.
“At times, we have a CEO and CFO with different opinions on the business process. It’s an eye-opener for everyone. Then the documentation delivered using Lucidchart confirms everyone’s understanding and results in consensus,” says Peter. “Significant projects have risk,” said Peter. “Through our process and use of Lucidchart, we minimize risk and create more predictable outcomes. Everyone is happy, including us.”
Avideon also creates a complimentary discovery document that describes each shape in the diagram, explaining the process in a user story format.
“Most of our clients have never done this, and the process is revealing. Showing them Lucidchart diagrams of their agreed upon process flow provides this total ‘aha moment.’ It helps them see what they need to do and how their systems apply to Salesforce in order for them to continue to be successful as they scale,” says Peter.
Mapping the schema with entity relationship diagrams (ERDs)
Avideon’s next step is to figure out how to build a Salesforce instance that will track, monitor, and implement this ideal process. Many clients are implementing Salesforce for the first time, but some are simply revamping their existing instance.
If the company is implementing Salesforce for the first time, Peter uses Lucidchart to build an ERD outlining the Salesforce schema to guide the implementation. If the company is revamping their Salesforce instance, he first builds an ERD to show the overview of the current state. He then builds another ERD to show Salesforce in its future state in order to support their business process.
In both cases, the diagram stays at a high level, only focusing on the core objects — Peter knows he will lose his audience if his ERD goes too far into the weeds. He wants the diagram to be simple to communicate and easy for the client to understand. Accompanying the ERD is a workbook that dives deeper into details of the Salesforce instance, defining data elements and types. He delivers both the diagram and the workbook with the client.
Understanding information flow with data flow diagrams
While the ERD explains how data in Salesforce is related, it doesn’t outline how data will flow through the system. Avideon builds data flow diagrams in Lucidchart that map out how information needs to flow from the organization and external systems into Salesforce in order for the business to succeed with their new process.
Presenting mockups to clients
Finally, Avideon uses Lucidchart to create mockups for the User Interface pages they create for the client. Peter is able to provide clients with a clear overview of what the page will look like before they are built in Salesforce.
“As clients are moving to the new Salesforce Lightning interface that offers significant options for customization, it’s more important than ever to document the target interface with Lucidchart first and then implement from a defined set of specifications,” explains Peter.
Armed with an arsenal of polished diagrams, Avideon, Peter, and his team are fully prepared for implementation—and to hopefully recruit yet another Lucidchart user.