With SharePoint integration and Salesforce.com integration tightly under its belt, Mindjet (news, site) announces the next major update to its flagship solution MindManager. And let me just say, this is not your average mindmapping software.
Integration is a Key Ingredient
We already know that Mindjet sees the ability to tightly integrate with well known business systems as a must do.
- In February it announced MindManager for SharePoint, helping users visual their SharePoint data across sites and environments.
- In March it announced Mindjet Deal Navigator that helps organizations visualize Salesforce.com Data.
MindManager v9 is now tightly integrated with Microsoft technologies including Office 2007 and 2010, SharePoint, Bing Search, Windows Desktop Search, Windows 7 and Windows Mobile. Mindjet claims that MindManager is the "missing" Microsoft application. When you think in terms of productivity, it may well be. Here's why:
Key Features in MindManager 9
When Mindjet thought about what MindManager needed to do, it thought about the top challenges for organizations today. According to Neil Mendelson, VP Product Management and Michael Deutch, Director of Product Marketing with Mindjet, these included:
- Information overload
- Dis-integrated applications/ lost productivity switching context between applications
So what do you do about these challenges? Well Deutch says you 1) try to accomplish more, faster, 2) implement a better planning tool and 3) communication better with your team. It's these three things that drive the new capabilities in MindManager 9.
Microsoft Outlook Integration
You can now create dynamic queries in MindManager that will connect with Outlook and pull in relevant data for viewing on a dynamic map.
MindManager Outlook Dashboards
You can pull in emails, including attachments, tasks, contacts, notes and calendar items assigning priorities as required.
Planning for Non-Project Manager
Project Managers aren't the only ones who need to manage tasks and create plans. And let's face it, Microsoft Project is a great tool, but it's also a pain in the butt to learn to use when you aren't using it on a regular basis.
MindManager gives you the ability to move your planning out of Excel (where most of us do our planning) and into an environment that gives you more powerful capabilities. Visualize your tasks in a mind map, pull in contacts, assign tasks with people and dates. Pull in Outlook tasks to add to your calendar.
What's nice is that you can then view your plan with a Gantt Chart (instead of working in Project creating the Gantt chart as starting point), make changes in the Gantt chart and have them reflected immediately in the tasks you created. You can also view resource utilization, showing you where you've over or under tasked someone.
When you are done, you can still export your plan to Microsoft Project if you like. In addition, if you have a plan started in project, you can import it into MindManager and continue working on it from there.
Add to all this the ability to pull in SharePoint data using the SharePoint add-on and pull in related files from other locations, editing all in-context, including any annotations.
Like the capabilities of Powerpoint, but want to add a little team collaboration to the mix? Then use MindManager Slideshow. Create slides in MindManager of your mind map, different views of the map for different audiences and then play the slide show. But don't just display the information, collaborate on it in real-time "present and edit", including action items and incorporating feedback.
Wait, There's More
You've probably seen enough to make you want to take a second look. But just in case, here are a couple of other improvements that might get your attention:
- Improved integration with Powerpoint and Excel
- WYSIWYG Printing
- An updated Ribbon interface similar to MS Office
- New image, icon and template libraries
Too Tight With Office?
We wondered the same thing. Although the market for MS Office is still very strong, we asked if there was any concern of tying MindManager too tightly with MS Office and alienating potential customers of other email or productivity solutions.
Both Mendelson and Deutch confirmed though that there is support for other technologies, including an Add-on for Lotus Notes. There's even the ability to collaborate on Google Docs using the software.
MindManager v9 is not here quite yet. It is scheduled for general availability on August 10 in three languages: English, German and French. It's also still available at the same street price, but there's extra functionality in there (like the Gantt Chart).