Diagramming
Company Structures
with yFiles

Company Structures

Visualizing relationships and resources for organizational optimization.

To maximize business returns, it's important to ensure all parts of the company work together efficiently. Understanding corporate and organizational structures is essential for success, whether the company is big or small, simple or complex, local or transnational. Visualization is crucial for this understanding, as humans process images faster and retain visual information better than text. Without diagramming, complex corporate structures are incomprehensible.

Our diagramming SDK, yFiles, simplifies visualizing company structures. It makes data silos and static charts a thing of the past and lets you map and visualize all varieties of intra- and inter-company structures, in order to then analyze and optimize them based on real-time insights. Replacing static charts with flexible, interactive diagrams provides a comprehensive and dynamic view of even the most convoluted organization. Visualization grants insights, exposes inefficiencies, and builds consensus with a common view of complex structures and relationships.

yWorks – the diagramming experts – offer a customizable library for company structures and more.

Building visualization tools from scratch is costly and time-consuming. With more than 20 years of expertise, yWorks has developed a highly customizable library of ready-to-use components: yFiles. Get in touch to learn more!

Static map or dynamic system?

Visualizing a company structure is indispensable, but it’s only the first step. Consider this diagram of the global mobile telecom ecosystem around 2010. Source: Visualization of Interfirm Relations In a Converging Mobile Ecosystem.

As a means of communicating the complex interrelations in the ecosystem, this single image is more powerful than pages of text. But beyond that, it’s basically useless.

Analyzing, comprehending, and potentially optimizing the ecosystem requires interactive tools that support functions like isolating and magnifying nodes, highlighting orders of relationships, and dynamically transforming the diagram format. By the same token, today’s volatile, fast-changing business environment calls for interactive tools to diagram and manage even simple company structures.

Did you know?

Our diagramming SDK can import data from any source – including Excel, JSON files, relational databases, graph databases, and everything you can access programmatically.

Company structures can be complex, with many layers of management, teams, and departments. Visualizing these structures with diagrams can help leaders and employees better understand their roles and responsibilities. yFiles provides powerful tools for creating these diagrams, allowing for customization and flexibility to meet the needs of any organization.Sebastian Niedworok, Consultant, yWorks

The yFiles diagramming SDK

yFiles offers a comprehensive solution for creating organizational charts to represent company structures. The graph visualization SDK is designed explicitly for diagram visualization. Its advanced layout algorithms can comfortably transform your data into readable, informative, and appealing diagrams. In contrast to a generic graph editor or app, yFiles lets you create tools tailored to your specific requirements. It provides a graph visualization component, graph editor features, and an extensive set of algorithms for automatic data arrangement and graph analysis.

Software developers use yFiles to display, edit, and analyze production processes, decision models, resource utilization, and more. Exporting and importing data is a breeze: yFiles is compatible with every data format and data source and available for every major platform: Web, .NET, and Java. And because yFiles can visualize data from different sources, data does not have to be first consolidated into a single database.

Diagramming company structures with yFiles

yFiles offers a comprehensive solution for creating organizational charts to represent company structures. The yFiles diagramming library offers numerous diagram layouts and algorithms for every type of organizational visualization.

Existing yWorks customers use yFiles to visualize and analyze a wide variety of tasks related to company structures, including intra- and inter-firm relationships, dealer and partner network optimization, determining beneficial ownership status, fraud and anti-money laundering (AML) detection, and personnel org charts. Regardless of the complexity of the visualization, all company data remains on premises.

Benefits in a nutshell

Automatic
layouts
For every
use case
White
label
Numerous source
code examples
Premium
support
Highly
customizable

Intra- and inter-company relationships

It's not just the big players like General Electric or PETRONAS who have complicated structures. Even relatively small organizations can have complex and interconnected relationships between divisions, business units, subsidiaries, and joint ventures with other companies.

Co-option arrangements, such as joint ventures between competing automobile manufacturers, are also becoming increasingly common. These arrangements allow companies to share risks and costs associated with large-scale projects while also accessing new markets and technologies.

Overall, the growing complexity of intra- and inter-company relationships highlights the importance of effective organizational structures and collaborative partnerships in today's business environment.

PETRONAS's complex company structure has helped make it a major player in the global oil and gas industry. (Source: petronas.com)
> Open this graph in yEd Live

GE Organization Structure

Spin-Off Research

The spin-off strategy being implemented by GE is an example of how company structures can evolve over time to adapt to changing business needs and priorities. By creating a separate business unit for GE Renewable Energy, the company is reorganizing its operations to better align with its strategic focus on this area. This type of restructuring can help companies streamline their operations, reduce costs, and create a more efficient and effective organizational structure. The resulting independent companies can also better pursue their own growth strategies and investments, without being constrained by the broader organizational goals and priorities of a larger entity. Overall, the GE spin-off illustrates how company structures can be adapted to better reflect business realities and maximize value for shareholders.

*Includes stakes in AerCap, Baker Hughes and Run-off Insurance business. #Has 19.9% stake in Healthcare business. Source: Spin-Off Research

Company ownership

Perhaps the most common reason to visualize a company structure is to determine ownership. (Also known as “beneficial ownership,” – i.e., who ultimately benefits from the financial assets produced by the firm.) While complex ownership structures may be purposefully designed to enable fraud or tax evasion (see below), they are more often an entirely innocent and legal result of a company’s, growth and expansion, especially involving mergers and acquisitions.

Transparently identifying and illustrating ownership and the flow of assets is imperative for numerous organizational activities, from cost allocation to regulatory compliance and M&A due diligence.

This demo implements an interactive viewer for exploring company ownership. The diagram shows the ownership (shareholders, investors, etc) and the management relationships among business entities. (Source code demo)

Fraud and anti-money-laundering detection

2016’s “Panama Papers” are the most well-known cache of leaked documents about off-shore accounts. (Others are the “Paradise Papers” in 2017 and the “Pandora Papers” in 2021.) Consisting of some 2.6 terabytes of data, the papers revealed holding companies, shell corporations, and offshore entities used for fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and evading international sanctions.

Diagramming and visualization was indispensable in revealing relationships and weaving coherent narratives out the hoard of some 11.5 million documents, allowing prosecutors to bring 100s of cases and recover over $1.2 billion in fines and back taxes. (See also this blog post by yWork’s CTO Sebastian.)

This demo shows how yFiles for HTML can be used for detecting fraud cases in time-dependent data. (Source code demo

Personnel org charts

The org chart is the most familiar and widespread diagram of a company structure. Commonly used to illustrate roles, responsibilities, and lines of reporting, the org chart might also illustrate governance structures (e.g. for a board of directors) or an organization’s relationship with clients, partners, and prospects.

yFiles seamlessly supports all types of personnel org charts, such as hierarchal, matrix, horizontal, networked, and team-based. In the new era of hybrid and remote work, dynamic org charts could for example indicate which staff are onsite a given time or use geo-location data to determine who can quickly deployed to a crisis location.

This demo shows how to create an interactive organization chart from JSON data. The source data is easily converted to a yFiles graph using class TreeBuilder. The visualization can be made exactly according to the users' needs, and with a level of detail that is helpful for both an overview and specific details. (Source code demo)

And you can do even more with yFiles

Many approaches can be used to design, monitor, and continuously improve processes. yFiles supports all of them – from depicting very large datasets and using visualizations like BPMN diagrams, flowcharts, network diagrams, and data flow diagrams to planning the movement of goods within your company. yFiles also provides many opportunities for analyzing data and generating insights.

Explore the interactive online demos that show the SDK’s strengths in company structures. The source code of the demos is included in yFiles – even in the free trial!

By the way, yFiles has a special talent: It adapts to any model, method, and scenario. Yes, even the ones we haven’t thought of yet. Just get in touch! Together, we’ll see how yFiles can meet your diagramming needs.

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