Business Organization Charts Have Come a Long Way

The Road to Now

Business organization charts are synonymous with hierarchies and business structure. We all know them well and reference them every now and again. Like so many of our previous business resources, however, business organization charts have evolved quite a bit since their humble beginnings.

Daniel Craig McCallum was a railroad engineer and general manager of the Erie Railroad in the 1850s. The railroad system was complicated and any hiccup in one area led to a cascade of problems down the track. He designed what is considered the first organizational chart to provide an illustration of the New York and Erie Railway organization, the division of duties, and the number and class of employees employed in each department. It was one man’s attempt at bringing order to a complex ecosystem.

Nearly 70 years later, the Tabulating Machine Co, which later became IBM, developed a new organizational chart with a pyramidal structure of the departments and people within them. This chart is more in line of what most think of when envisioning an org chart and again, brought order to a growing company. But as with most things, change is the only constant.

The Types of Org Charts

The org chart has morphed into many different types ever since, depending on their use and the perspective of the business. There are the traditional hierarchy charts, such as matrix, functional, product, customer and geographic structures, with a clear division of labor between executives, managers and everyone else. The “flat” organization removes job titles and hierarchies altogether, imparting equal status among all employees who are pretty much managing themselves. “Holocratic” organizations have some hierarchy, but blend departments and roles so that decisions can be made from anywhere within the company.

No matter which org chart you prefer or use, one point remains the same: business organization charts are less about how the organization is structured and more about the business philosophy. The org chart simply represents how the organization views itself. A company with a traditional hierarchy structure may consider executives to be “above” its managers and their direct reports. There is a clear chain of command.

On the other hand, a flat organization perceives its employees as equals who all contribute their fair share of responsibilities. This type of company likely has open workspaces, lots of remote employees and the “executives” may be hard to pick out of a crowd. Everyone has a job function, but they all work collaboratively towards the same goal.

Pingboard Business Organization Chart Software

No matter the business philosophy, Pingboard org chart software can bring any business organizational structure to life by enabling on-demand access, easy editability, customization, and personalization. In the past, org charts were considered static, difficult to maintain and not very inspiring. All that has changed in the past few years, thanks to newer technology.

At Pingboard, we designed our org chart software with the features and capabilities we know people love. Our app is beautiful, simple to use and full of the employee information that matters most to help people be more productive and self-sufficient.

Instead of org charts being updated by a dedicated administrator or manager, Pingboard enables employees to upload their own photos, add personality traits, professional skills and backgrounds, and hobbies and interests. The company can be viewed less as an entity, and more as the sum of its parts. It’s easier to view relationships, interdependencies, collaborative opportunities and gaps in resources.

Today’s business organization chart is a dynamic, interactive, real-time snapshot of an organization. Older org charts were at risk for being outdated as soon as they were created because change happens all the time, often without the administrator knowing right away. Because the information resides in the cloud instead of a desktop and can be accessed from any networked device, changes can be made anytime, anywhere, ensuring every employee is working from the same version. Pingboard saves organizations countless hours in trying to manually keep track of every shift, change, and modification of job roles within a company.

Practical Cases for Org Chart Software

Businesses today are different from the companies we knew even a few decades ago. People rarely stay in one job for very long. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was only 4.2 years in January 2016, down from 4.6 years in January 2014. There’s a good chance those same people shifted job functions in those 4+ years as well. Multiply those changes by the number of employees in a company and you have yourself a big administrative headache when it comes to keeping the org chart up to date.

Fortunately, Pingboard organization chart software makes managing these constant adjustments rather simple. HR, IT staff, administrators and managers can spend less time editing org charts and more time on higher priority tasks that bring greater value to the company.

There are many other . Employees actually enjoy using it and can learn more about coworkers than ever before. Our software allows employees to humanize names and titles by matching a face with a name and a personality to the face. Users can find commonalities and advanced search capabilities to find specific skill sets. For example, a marketing rep can search the org chart on their smartphone app for someone in the company with specific product knowledge. Not only does the subject matter expert pop up, but their photo, other skillsets, contact information and even whether or not that person is currently in the office.

Pingboard software does more than inform employees of job titles and positions. It brings people together. It fosters collaboration. It empowers people with information they can actually use.

The Many Benefits of Pingboard Business Organizational Chart Software

How are businesses using our software? It starts at the beginning with building a company from the bottom up. Many find Pingboard software is one resource for employee recruitment and retention. If you want to attract the best talent, you must prove you have the resources to help them do their job and do it in the most efficient manner possible. Millennials have been raised on technology. They have an app for virtually everything. As of June 2016, there were from which to choose. on their smartphones. Why would a company not provide similar apps for employees to do their jobs?

Companies also use our software to foster teamwork. The larger the company, the more challenging it can be to come out of your silo and work together with others in differing divisions. It’s easy to stay confined to your own team and never venture much further than the water cooler. But today’s businesses are increasingly more “flat” and “holocratic,” where departments may be separate, but their interdependencies are more appreciated. Finance cannot operate if it doesn’t have close ties with sales and marketing. HR cannot function well if it doesn’t understand the resource needs of every other department within the organization. Marketing cannot design effective campaigns if it doesn’t know what sales needs or the budget finance has approved.

Pingboard business organization software illustrates how these departments are interrelated and provides access to the information to help people within those departments easily find those in other departments who have a role in their success. No more wasting time asking others for information or introductions. All of the details can be found in a single app that is always available. Employees are empowered with the tools they need to succeed.

Org charts that once were filed away and only occasionally referenced can now be shared with the tap of a finger. Settings can ensure which details are made available externally and which remain confidential. Again, because all updates are made in real time, no one has to wonder if the org chart from which they are working is the latest version. When an employee leaves the company, HR or IT can easily remove them from the org chart and those change are immediately represented. As employees shift roles, they or their managers can make those job changes evident in the org chart in just minutes and everyone in the company will see those edits in real time from the app.

Where Will The Organization Chart Go Next?

It took nearly 75 years for the hierarchy organization chart to replace McCallum’s tree chart and another century for org chart software to replace the PowerPoint and other more basic software programs. But we all know that once Pandora’s Box is opened, innovation often takes flight.

Because of the increased mobility of employees and how our culture has been transformed by technology, organizational charts will likely continue to follow the trends in how people work. People have become impatient and expect information to be at their fingertips anytime they need. Technology has made it possible to do more in less time using the best information from the devices we use most. It’s quite remarkable how productive we have become in such a short amount of time. There’s ample evidence the org chart will continue to evolve and apps will add capabilities we cannot today imagine.

To Use or Not to Use

The biggest question is whether or not you are using the most modern technology now when it comes to your org chart. Is it doing all it can do? Does it foster collaboration, teamwork and empowerment? Does it save time and in turn, costs? Does it help your employees be more productive and self-sufficient? Is it a beautiful app that is fun to use so it is more readily adopted? Is it a selling point when you are recruiting talent? Can you trust your org chart is always accurate?

If you said no to any of the above, it’s likely time to take a look at Pingboard’s business organizational chart software. It may not seem at first to be a big thing, after all, an org chart is just an org chart, right? But as you can see, the modern org chart is so much more than a piece of paper or a graphic representation of a company. Technology enables users to do more with less and the org chart software of today does more than a flowchart ever could.

When evaluating org chart software, be sure to look for capabilities like ease of implementation, ease of use, quality of the interface, accessibility, responsiveness across devices, and technical support. Compare costs but understand the efficiencies gained may outweigh initial costs. It is difficult to quantify hard dollar savings from improved team collaboration, greater self-sufficiency and improved accuracy of information, but it is worth considering as significant benefits of using the software.


Pingboard software is easily implemented and integrates well with other internal systems. It takes little to no technical expertise to install and even less to maintain since the technology is cloud based. We provide the right level of technical support to ensure implementation goes smoothly. Because it is so simple to use, there should be little training required to use. We recommend to launch our software company-wide with plenty of explanation of why it was implemented, how it will replace the current program, the many use cases it affords, and of course, how each employee can customize it to their preferences.

Once employees begin using the Pingboard software, we find it is adopted quickly. Most users find it highly engaging and easy to navigate. It’s never a bad idea to ask for feedback from employees to gauge success and learn how the software may be tweaked to fit the . Encourage employees to add headshots that portray a different side of themselves than coworkers may see on a daily basis. Allow them to have fun with our software and present themselves as they want others to see them. Show them they matter more than just a job function. It will go a long way in boosting morale and job satisfaction.