Pictures Worth More than Words for IT/Business Communication

Ann All

Our own Ken-Hardin recently blogged about using software-driven visual aids like Visio to illustrate business processes. He employs an ancient copy of Macromedia FreeHand to create "low-rent descriptions of business processes and user flows," but is considering investing in a more sophisticated tool like Visio for this purpose.


What interested us most was Ken's description of IT managers as more visually-oriented than business folks. They like to look. In a truly Venus/Mars fashion, the geeks get off by looking at detailed visuals of network topographies and the like, while business owners go at it less directly by fantasizing in their heads.


With Ken's blog fresh in our memory, we encountered a Baseline article that makes some of the same points. Though it's ostensibly about a team of employees using an application simulation tool to preview new Web site features, in a broader sense it's about facilitating communication between IT and the business.


A senior information architect says the visual simulations created with the tool help his team give software developers a detailed -- and highly visual -- idea of what they want. The information architects also can use prototypes created with the tool to preview the ideas for line-of-business folks. As the article describes it, they can ". . . take that prototype into a conference room, use a projector to share a walk-through of the application with retail managers and other project participants, and make changes based on their feedback. "

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Sep 17, 2007 12:42 PM Mitch Bishop Mitch Bishop  says:
Indeed, it's about getting business and IT on the same page. Business people have long been frustrated with their inability to articulate the vision for new applications. IT teams have been equally frustrated with incomplete, ambiguous specficiations that keep changing. Target has been using a product called iRise to solve this problem by creating high fidelity simulations (prototypes) that act as visual blueprints for what to build. The cool thing is that simulations require no coding and take a fraction of the time and cost to assemble by business analysts and usability professionals. Other industries use CAD tools to visualize and model before they the software industry is following their lead. It's about time! Reply
Sep 23, 2007 7:53 AM pat wilmoth pat wilmoth  says:
we are a new small business located in Appalachia and are seeking input about our site as well as trying to determine what resources are out there that can assist our growth and expansion. Take a peeek at our site and give us back some input. Thanks,Express Framing. Reply

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