Idea to Model - Fast
March 14, 2019

Idea to Model - Fast

Peter Rifken | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Gliffy

Gliffy is a tool used across the organization in a variety of capacities, from modeling user interfaces to process and data modelling. There is heavy use in the solutions engineering and best practices teams as they work daily with customers to understand their current business challenges (process, data etc.) and brainstorm with them to improve future states. Gliffy is a tool most if not all of those teams use to visualize these discussions in real time. Gliffy diagrams also serve as a great reference post call and in subsequent discussions.

Pros

  • The drag & drop interface enables ideas to take shape very quickly. I can ease model discussions live as they are happening and our customers are often impressed with how fast we can accurately represent their processes, data architectures, and organizational priorities
  • Once diagrams are complete, it's fairly easy to share via export to JPG or creation of a share link. As I mentioned in the introduction, I will create share links for all of my diagrams and share them with customers and internal sales teams as an ongoing reference. I have also recently started using the comments to gather feedback from view-only roles on models created, which is nice
  • The pre-made templates provide a great starting point for visualizing common business discussions. I use 5-10 diagram objects frequently and having them pop up as "most used" makes creating fast. I'm also keen on making the diagram look good, so I'm thankful Gliffy has implemented a grid and alignment tools to make layout of objects straight forward.

Cons

  • I have had some trouble saving complex diagrams and viewing them on the fly. On a handful of occasions, diagrams are unable to save, which means I either need to try to "save as" a separate diagram, or I am perpetually stuck trying to "load" recent changes. Overall, this means I always have a slight lingering fear that my diagrams aren't fully saved or recoverable. Support has been pretty responsive helping me to reload corrupted diagrams.
  • Adding Text, Notes, and Images can be a challenge. While laying out objects with simple text is a strength, adding formatted text and commentary can be a challenge. I often find my objects ghost-moving all over the screen and lost. I'd love a drag-and-drop way to load images in to diagrams. The process is a bit cumbersome with the file upload wizard.
  • Template environments - I struggled a bit to try to create a default starting point for my diagrams. I've tried to load common libraries and ignore others, those settings are often ignore upon reload. I'd love to use the same 10 objects and ignore the rest, I am not able (yet) to create this scenario, though there may be more to learn.
  • Searching, Indexing, Retrieving my diagrams. As part of an enterprise plan, I find there are too many clicks required to a) find/search for my diagrams and b) save diagrams into my Gliffy folder. In our implementation I can see all folders for all of my colleagues, and need to drill down a bit before I get to my folder, where I can actually search my documents in a list. I'd prefer a more intuitive way to land on my diagrams and to organize them (e.g., by customer) so that I can access them more quickly.
  • Hard to quantify actual $ROI (always is!), though qualitatively I've receive consistent feedback that live modeling with Gliffy is highly valuable for both our customers and internal team:
  • a) For customers, it's live feedback to demonstrate we are listening and an opportunity to comment / add feedback to ensure we are hitting on key points
  • b) For internal teams, it's a great reference to track key points on calls and ensure alignment going into the next call
  • This is particularly important when discussions stall for months. Having Gliffy as a visual has helped us to win business because of the speed with which we could return to "the arena" and keep the ball moving forward.
I was not involved with the Gliffy evaluation, though I've often went looking for similar solutions to see if some of the gaps I've identified were better addressed. I haven't evaluated alternatives deeply enough to consider a switch seriously.
Gliffy is suited well for:
  • Business Process Modeling (current states, desired future states), including swim lane diagrams or simple arrow-forward flows
  • Data architecture Modeling (lay out systems in a network, applications in a connected ecosystem)
  • Organizational Chart Building (who reports to whom)
Gliffy is less well suited for
  • Note taking - I still use it for note taking as I love laying visuals next to key points, though it's not great
  • Handling imported images - Again, I do it, though it's not a reliable process I repeat unless I need the image in there
  • Complex diagrams that push the physical boundaries of the work space, and especially when images are included

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