As a student, the pages of Naveen Hiremath’s notebooks were filled with carefully hand-drawn diagrams. “I am very picture-oriented—I like to depict my thoughts in the form of diagrams because that is how I see the world,” says Naveen. “Diagramming is how I interpret things.”
While he is no longer a student, Naveen is definitely still a visual thinker. Today, Naveen is a technical architect manager for Bluewolf Group, an IBM company specializing in Salesforce consulting. He finds diagramming to be just as helpful in his professional career as it was during his school days. But there is one difference—he doesn’t have to draw these diagrams by hand anymore. He uses Lucidchart.
Clients turn to Bluewolf for assistance with Salesforce implementations. Naveen and his team come up with the solutions that allow these installations to happen seamlessly. However, because every customer’s situation is unique, it can be complicated to go in and determine the optimal implementation for each case. The team has quite a process for doing so—and Naveen has found that diagrams provide clarity at every stage.
Gathering requirements and determining needs
As he begins a new project, Naveen holds collaborative workshops with the client so he can understand the organization’s needs and all necessary project requirements. These working sessions involve a lot of whiteboarding. However, if he doesn’t need to be the one at the whiteboard, Naveen prefers to document the discussion in Lucidchart using mind maps. That way, he can capture the information in the way he loves best. Naveen explains:
“These diagrams help me understand exactly what the client is looking for. When we come into a project, everything is new. We need to onboard as fast as possible, and building these diagrams with Lucidchart makes that possible."
After organizing his thoughts, he can create business process flows describing the proposed implementation solution. He shares his diagrams with his team to ensure a collaborative effort from the very beginning. “Finding the optimal solution for a client is very much a team effort, and Lucidchart is absolutely key for that collaboration,” Naveen says.
Bluewolf employees are heavy G Suite users, so Lucidchart’s integration with Google Drive is huge for them. His team can see the most recent diagram any time he makes changes without his having to email out a new version. Employees can simply enjoy added functionality to the workplace applications they are already using.
Naveen’s process flows serve as a high-level overview for the Salesforce installation based on the requirements he has gathered from the client. He loves how Lucidchart’s functionality makes it so simple to create a polished, professional visual that he can feel confident sending to a client for review. He simply exports his diagram as a Visio, PDF, JPG, or PNG file and is able to gather feedback from the client early on in the process to ensure accuracy.
Understanding the existing system
Naveen can’t implement a new system without understanding the ones already in place, so the next crucial diagram is what Naveen calls an enterprise overview diagram. He uses it to document the client’s current technology stack. Sometimes a client will already have an existing Visio diagram mapping their technology. Rather than reinvent the wheel, Naveen can simply use Lucidchart’s Visio import tool to import the diagram and edit it in Lucidchart.
Mapping a detailed solution
Naveen next creates logical models to map out the nitty-gritty aspects of the proposed solution. For example, if he builds a new data model, he will map out the new databases. Since Salesforce is cloud-based CRM, Naveen and his team must come up with their own data model to support the business requirement. For this step, Naveen turns to entity relationship diagrams.
Finally, Naveen works on the granular flows necessary for integrating the cloud-based Salesforce with on-premise systems. He builds integration flows depicting the data flows and nature of the integrations. Block diagrams show the integration from ground to cloud and cloud to ground.
All these diagrams are crucial for helping Naveen and his team work through the problem and identify workable solutions.
Once the team feels confident about a solution, they have a final peer review of all the diagrams before they are sent to a client for final approval. The team has found these visuals to be a huge factor in gaining the sign-off necessary to actually implement the solution. They simplify the proposed solution to help clients better understand and evaluate it.
Once the client gives a solution the green light, Naveen hands off the diagrams to the technical team for implementation, and they serve as critical points of reference throughout the process. Naveen and his team will also add class diagrams and sequence diagrams to ensure everything is crystal clear for implementation.
The ideal diagramming solution
Not every diagram is necessary for every client, but each serves as a way for Naveen to simplify and organize his ideas so he can effectively convey them to others. The diagrams are quick and easy to make, thanks to Lucidchart’s intuitive drag-and-drop functionality. This ease of use is one of the reasons Naveen switched from Omnigraffle and Visio to Lucidchart. It has the robust yet simple functionality he needs.
In addition to ease of use, Lucidchart is in the cloud. As a remote company with employees across the world, cloud-based tools are very important. They remove barriers to communication. Sometimes Naveen and his colleagues will actually be on the same Lucidchart document editing and making comments. Other times employees just access the diagrams from Google Drive. Either method allows for real-time collaboration regardless of an employee’s physical location.
Lucidchart lets these crucial diagrams live on even after implementation. Naveen and his team can reference them to get ideas when starting a new project. The team also uses them in the onboarding process to help new employees come up to speed as quickly as possible.
Little did Naveen know that his schoolboy sketches would become technical masterpieces, saving him critical amounts of time and money down the road. Naveen can attest that there really is a diagram for everything—sometimes you just need to take the time to see the world a bit differently.