Functions of a Symbol Flowchart

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Parchments, scrolls, the lush leaves of certain trees, rock faces, the bark of mature flowering plants, and in modern times – canvas and paper – represent recording media in the true sense of the term. Humankind has used these devices for millennia to record myriad thoughts, ideas, constructs, and concepts. The many lines of interaction that occur inside the human mind drive the act of recording in this context. We may state the sum of such actions comprised a primitive form of the modern discipline of analytics. In the present day, the symbol flowchart represents a form of analytics. These diagrams promote the interplay of thoughts and ideas that originate inside human minds and empower humankind to explore (and refine) ideas and concepts. Individuals and organizations can use the symbol flowchart to develop prototypes and set in motion a variety of plans and organizational actions.

Businesses and enterprises operate on the primary binary of inputs and outputs. This fundamental paradigm drives every manifestation of a business operation. A symbol flowchart can depict said binary through a variety of visual devices. This may reinforce the arrows and linear paths that typically represent the most common symbols of connection between multiple stages. However, the assumption of straight lined-connectors stands demolished when we consider dotted linearity that holds altered levels of meaning inside such diagrams. Dotted lines denote special circumstances that operate inside a process under specified situations. They signify variations from the norm and must be regarded closely. This is in variance with a straight (continuous) connector, which typically depicts constant causation inside a system or process. Therefore, businesses and enterprises can deploy the symbol flowchart to illustrate a variety of regular and irregular scenarios. This is in line with modern business scenarios characterized by large doses of uncertainty, variability, and market risk.

Decision points signify critical junctures inside a symbol flowchart. These points allow designers and process experts to punctuate connected illustrations (or graphical depictions) and indicate a variety of outcomes. The diamond shape is the typical symbol of a decision point. Business operators can deploy said shape when sketching the outlines of a business plan, for instance. The depictions of mature business processes can use multiple diamond shapes to signify key inflection points. Observers note that decision points also relay matter-of-fact information that enable readers to grasp the finer points of a flowchart diagram. The symbol flowchart therefore emerges as a key business document that serves as a lodestone to guide the efforts of organizations and entrepreneurs. In addition, the visual generated by such an illustration may serve as a bedrock for business re-engineering initiatives. For instance, business analysts can interrogate key segments of a business process in the light of the positions occupied by decision points. Post analysis, they may recommend re-positioning efforts in a bid to drive optimal business outcomes.

Context plays a critical role in ensuring the survival of the human civilization. For instance, we may debate certain aspects of current affairs in the context of historical trends or incidents. Similarly, contextual information is necessary to develop varied lines of arguments and arrive at cogent decisions. The off-page connector represents context inside the modern symbol flowchart. The irregular shape of such connectors attracts the attentions of readers and reviewers. Such actions spur the journey of discovery for a first-time reader or serves as a jumping point for the seasoned reviewer. Interestingly, a digitally enabled symbol flowchart allows readers to click on said connector and arrive at external repositories of data or information. In doing so, the off-page connector serves as a force multiplier that expands the scope of a symbol flowchart. Such devices also empower designers to preserve the visual integrity of an inter-connected illustration. Such a preservation of aesthetics upholds the design agenda of creating an uncluttered visual image. In addition, the off-page connector allows flowchart designers to load additional (or refreshed) context onto the expanse of a legacy flowchart diagram.

Interventions driven by human expertise and intelligence remain necessary in most modern processes. Business operators can embellish the symbol flowchart with manual loops that manifest in the shape of a bathtub inside a diagram. Each process may subscribe to a different positioning; however, such devices remain critical in the interests of governing the flow of a system or process. These devices may also discharge the function of failsafe mechanisms (or emergency maneuvers) inside an automated technical or commercial process. In addition, designers may include such devices with a view to control the velocity of various outcomes that emerge from a process. The inclusion of manual loops also signifies an intent to diversify (or calibrate) the operations of sub-processes. This attains significance when businesses plan to expand a commercial footprint or regulate output in tune with factors such as seasonal variations, the vagaries of market demand, commercial compulsions, reshaped regulatory requirements, etc. In light of these facts, the symbol flowchart emerges as a premier device that can harness human intelligence in the service of modern commerce.

‘Database’ has emerged as a hallowed term in the modern age, premeditated as it is by information technology. This term reflects on the centrality of data in the form of digital information and the necessity to retain such data inside a finite location. The symbol flowchart can include one or multiple instances of databases, denoted by the shape of a vertical drum. The inclusion of this symbol signifies a process that hinges on the use of market data or a host of technical parameters typical to the industry in question. Designers can sketch multiple input and output connections to a database in light of system requirements (or process specifications). In a different vein, the presence of a database attests to the dynamic nature of a depicted process. This stems from the fact data is never the same and especially so in modern processes and systems. Intelligent business operators may elect to partition a database and indicate such actions inside the flowchart. Such partition attains significance from the perspective of data security and data integrity. That said, designers of the modern symbol flowchart must take critical note of the various functions enabled by a database inside a process.

The foregoing paragraphs have sought to examine some of the functions of the symbol flowchart in the light of its constituent elements. The creators and users of such diagrams must resolve to invest brainpower in designing such diagrams. They may seek to develop business plans and expansion initiatives on the basis of the symbol flowchart. An intelligent designer may elect to fashion a novel set of symbols in tune with the emerging demands (and growing complexity) of modern business operations. This can serve as a watershed moment in the domain of design and signal greater transparency in the mechanics of flowchart creation. Further, such initiatives can be extended to re-model the traditional visual image associated with the typical flowchart diagram. Digital technologies can aid such efforts and result in new lines of design thinking. In this, designers can collaborate with process experts from multiple domains. Consultations with end users are equally important. In light of the combined efforts mentioned above, we may envisage a new age of design that decimates set barriers and infuses new meaning into the symbol flowchart.

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