Xplane, which calls itself a "visual thinking company," has been quietly making an impact around the world for quite some time now -- its specialty is making complex systems understandable with friendly graphic work-flow charts.
In recent years the firm expanded into consulting, helping businesses streamline its internal processes -- a natural outgrowth of working with companies to explain processes, says Gray.
These days, Xplane has also been helping businesses develop relationships with customers via social media, something Gray sees as the future of business communication and even more important than visual thinking. The growth of social media in business communication is something he compares to the original disruption the Web made fifteen years ago.
"In ten years you'll be a social business, or you'll be out of business," Gray says on his blog, Communication Nation. He continues, "All you need to do is ask yourself one question: Is word-of-mouth important to your business success? If so, you need to begin the transformation to being a social business."
Gray says he's excited about the aquisition of Xplane, which he sees as the opportunity for his company to fulfill the global vision he's had since he founded the firm here in St. Louis in 1993. The company currently has 35 employees and offices here in St. Louis, Portland and Amsterdam.
Dachis group, which describes itself as a social-business-design company, was founded by Razerfish founder, Jeff Dachis.
Gray doesn't see any immediate changes to the St. Louis operation of Xplane, which will continue to operate as Xplane as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dachis Group.